Showrooming – the saga continues

showroomingMany of our readers know the term “showrooming” but in case you are not familiar I will explain. Showrooming refers to shoppers who go to a store to seeand then go online to buy it somewhere else, cheaper.

This has been a real problem for many retailers, especially the electronics giant Best Buy whose sales were certainly effected by this act. Of course it is completely within the law to window shop and as retailers we realize that we cannot control the shoppers. I think it’s tacky when the shopper starts scanning product bar codes to use an APP on their phone to locate the product closeby at another store at a lower price.

Everything can’t always be cheaper! That’s just a fact of life. It costs money to run a store and shoppers will soon lose their window shopping when more and more stores close up because of no shopper loyalty or willingness to pay a dollar more to support your local businesses.

Many retailers have tried to fight the showrooming by switching to their own bar codes but found that APP’s also worked with product names and model numbers. So much for that. Then retailers like Best Buy became more proactive with their shoppers – using their sales force to engage shoppers on the sales floor. Not so easy to take snapshots of bar codes with a sales associate standing next to you. Also, the sales associates were able to discuss the product and in many cases offering a price guarantee.

The price guarantee and trolling the sales floor worked for the electronics giant – BUT, and this is a big  but….the store’s margins diminished and they turned in a not so rosy profit picture after the holiday season.

So, in essence you can tackle the showrooming by being proactive on the sales floor and offering price matches but it will effect your bottom line. How long can you go seems to be the new wave of retailing. Thank you internet!

Ideas? Opinions? Share with us.

Smartphones Gaining Retail Dominance

An interesting new study has been released that shows consumers are using their smartphonesand tablets as shopping tools at a higher rate than reported previously. Over 55% of all retail-related internet time is starting on a smartphone or tablet as opposed to a desktop computer system.

Interestingly though, consumers were less likely to complete a shopping transaction on their smartphones and completed those transactions while on their desktops. Clothing and accessories were the category leaders for online shopping.

The motivation for the use of mobile devices has been shoppers who are “show-rooming,” looking for cheaper prices while inside the store! Almost 2/3rd’s of the users were visiting the stores website or APP while they were inside the store, to see if there were online discounts, etc. They went online in hopes of finding a better deal.

Another interesting fact was that men outpace women in making mobile purchases using their smartphones, indicating that they may be more trustful of using mobile devices to transmit credit card data, etc.

Welcome to retailing in the 21st century. Highly competitive in every way with margins cut to the quick for the retailer. Good times!  Retailers Forum magazine and website welcomes your comments and opinions. Feel free to comment on this article and others.

Showrooming – A New Twist!

window-shopping1Well, just when I thought I’d seen it all with regards to “showrooming” — you know what that is – when shoppers come into your store to view the goods and make the purchase elsewhere.

Many of the larger retailers have started changing the SKU numbers so that shoppers cannot easily search online for the items, but we all know that a good description will turn up the item online. So, what to do? Some retailers trail behind the shoppers interacting with them and in my opinion that makes for an unpleasant shopping experience for many of them. Aside from getting into the shoppers face when they jot down the item there really hasn’t been a good solution.

Today I read the ultimate solution – and it really is a crazy idea that only seems to have been tried overseas. Pay to browse!

At the Vera Wang bridal boutique in Shanghai, customers must pay 3000 yuan (approx. $480 US) for a 90 minute time slot to browse and try on dresses. There is also a food store in Australia that charges customers $5 for coming in to browse.

Could you imagine your store implementing this policy? Seems that these fees are quite drastic and not really the answer to keeping brick and mortar stores around. Educating the consumers is key here — they need to understand that if they like their local neighborhood or chain stores to go shopping in – they need to do just that — SHOP!

Showrooming — How Is Your Store Dealing With This Problem?

SHOWROOMING is a relatively new term in the retailing industry. Time was when a showroom was the area where you went to see the merchand then whipped out your wallet and bought it.

Today you go to the showroom (a store) and view the merchandise but then whip out your smart phone, scan the bar code on the product and then go to the closest store selling it cheaper to buy it.

This has become a huge issue for many retailers, large and small. Best Buy is consistently used as a showroom for internet shoppers who seem to not get the buying experience of “feeling and touching” the merchandise when they go to the online stores. So, instead, they head over to local stores to “sample” the merchandise nd then if they like it they purchase online or scan the barcode to find it cheaper in the neighborhood. And, many times they are saving only a few dollars, but are ruining the core business of the stores they do this at.

To combat showrooming many retailers have been asking their suppliers to use special proprietary bar codes that are inter-store only. In other words a Best Buy’s items may be bar coded with their own sku’s – making it impossible to shop the same item out of the store using the bar code. Of course, this only slows down the perpetrator, as let’s face it all you need to do is type in the name of the item into Google and you’re off to the races.

Is the customer always right? If you see someone scanning codes at your store would you stop them? Would you say something? All of these shoppers love the idea of having their local hometown stores along Main Street, but at the end of the day they want cheaper prices. Just another dagger in the independent store owner’s heart.

Is your store having any issues with this problem, and if so, how are you combating it. Share this with our readers.