Showrooming – appears not to be as damaging as feared

Posted on March 25, 2014

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Showrooming – you know,  this is where you’re checking online prices of something your looking at in a store in the real world, the fear being you just go ahead and order it online, imagerather than buy it from the store. This is a nightmare scenario for the stores involved, in particular smaller stores, that would find it difficult to compete on price alone.

An article on Pando highlights some results from research that says that this is less often the case than previously feared.

It goes on to say that for brands that the customer is already bought into then they are more likely to go for price, and in particular for beauty products, books and so on.

and when you think about it this makes sense,  after all brand X shampoo is the same regardless of where you buy it.

imageThe article goes on to say that stores must engage with the consumer and differentiate them selves so that the shopper is emboldened to make the purchase, even if the price is not the lowest.  The NRF suggests that you must place expertise on the shop floor,  train your associates up,  because making that connection with the customer, providing the reassurance works. Yes it costs up front, but it does pay benefits (see below for more on this)

So what’s my take on all this:  well I’ve noticed that on many items the price on the street and online are the same,  so clearly where they can the retailers have neutralised the price differential.  For example this weekend just gone I bought a fruity new laptop for my daughters music studies, and the price on line, and in the store was exactly the same,  so I  drove the 10 mins to town and got it there and then.

And,  when it comes to subjective purchases buying on line has not yet cracked it,  so these areas are likely to remain in the real world for some time to come.

For purchases that are where you select one from many, eg a laptop, Audio/video, vacuum cleaner, any white furniture and so on,  when you are on line you see lots and lots of data regarding the product, and reviews too,  either by randoms, or perhaps your circle of friends, but reviews none the less,  and they support you in making that choice, and I do wonder why the stores do not provide better in store details and data on their goods and services,  it would help a lot.  Encourage us to go on to their web site and get the lowdown. This would also lower the training required for associates too.

Lastly my local town centre is peppered with more coffee chops than you’ve had hot dinners,  and why is this ?  because shopping is becoming a more social sport, now we can get the drudgery of groceries and staples delivered to the door, we can more easily agree to meet up in town safe in the knowledge that we can spend time in the company of friends and not in the scrum like company of the supermarket check outs.  To that end I fully expect to see more regular shops replaced with activity based outlets, such as arts and crafts, children play areas, etc so that competitive coffee drinking is not the only sport in town.

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Posted in: Business, mobile