Showrooming: how can retailers turn a negative into an opportunity?

Paul Milner

The word ‘showrooming’ strikes fear into the hearts of most retailers. At a time when the value of the store is much debated, there is nothing worse than coaxing shoppers towards a sale, only for them to leave empty handed and purchase the item online from instead.   Around a
third of shoppers admit to showrooming in the USA alone, but while this has been seen previously as a reason to worry, changes in the shopping climate present new opportunities for retailers – so long as they get their strategy right.   No matter how slick the browsing and buying process, the one thing that online channels can’t deliver is hands-on interaction with products. This is where the store has a unique advantage, provided items are presented in the right manner at the right price.   With a shopper’s route to purchase becoming increasingly complex, it’s vital that a retailer’s offline offering is consistent with their online activities. One of the fundamental ways to avoid showrooming is matching ecommerce and in-store prices – who is going to buy from the shelves if they can get the same item cheaper via the internet?   It’s not just pricing inconsistencies that present a barrier to in-store purchases. One of online shopping’s main attractions is the wealth of information available at people’s fingertips nowadays. All too often, bricks and mortar outlets lack detailed product information at the shelf edge, and customer service staff are either unavailable or unable to answer queries.   Neither of these two issues are easily solved, otherwise all retailers would offer a seamless online-offline customer journey. However, technology advancements are giving them the power to unite these experiences more closely than ever before. Electronic shelf edge labels can update prices across the store remotely, enabling retailers to price match their online competitors in real-time.   In addition, QR codes can be displayed on ESLs to give shoppers with smartphones more information at their fingertips including further product details via the retailer’s website, product videos, and customer reviews and ratings at the shelf edge, all of which help inform their buying decision.   The bad news for retailers is that showrooming is unlikely to fade away. The good news is that neither is the consumer’s desire to get up close and personal with products. Their challenge is to make sure that once shoppers are in-store, there’s no reason for them to walk away without making a purchase.   David Hilton Director of Marketing & Product Management Displaydata

About Displaydata

Our Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) bring the shelf-edge into the Internet of Things era, helping to create shopping experiences that are more engaging, rewarding and personalised – and profitable. We help retailers optimise sales and margin at the shelf-edge, where 90% of purchases are still made.

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