4 Ways That Magic Beans Combats Showrooming
In a session on Wednesday at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, Eli Gurock, co-founder and head of e-commerce at Magic Beans, a cross-channel retailer of baby toys and baby gear, detailed how his company is dealing with showrooming — a term referring to the practice of consumers examining products in-store but without making a purchase, then going online to find the product at a lower price.
Showrooming is of particular concern to Magic Beans because its customers have zero urgency for the retailer's products, Gurock said. They come into the store and look at strollers and car seats, but they often leave and go research those products online before making a purchase decision. Magic Beans is working on a nine-month sales cycle. In an effort to convert more of those shoppers in-store, Magic Beans has implemented the following four tactics, which Gurock presented as tips for the audience:
1. Play with your toys. Product knowledge is at the core of everything we do, Gurock said. We want to be recognized as being experts on baby products, he added. To that end, Magic Beans requires its store associates to go through extensive product training. Your store associates are competing against a tremendous amount of content online, so they better be informed, Gurock said.
2. Get closer. Personalize the shopping experience for customers and prospects, Gurock said. We want our customers to think of shopping in a Magic Beans' store and talking to a store associate as being akin to getting advice from a friend. The brand's store associates send handwritten thank-you notes to customers. Included with those thank-you notes are $20 Magic Beans’ gift cards. That $20 gift card frequently leads to $500 and $600 purchases, Gurock said, adding that it's the best money he spends. Furthermore, store associates are instructed to get a shopper's name, due date, address and email address before they transact.
3. Leverage data to better understand your customers. For Magic Beans, this involves looking at a customer's purchase history — specifically what they bought and when they bought it — to help predict future behavior. For example, if Magic Beans knows that a customer bought an infant car seat six months ago, that customer is going to be looking for convertible car seats.
4. Not employees, but friends. Your company needs to have a strategy for hiring great people, which includes developing best practices for interviewing, Gurock said. Magic Beans requires all prospective employees — warehouse staff, store associates, etc. — to write a cover letter on why they want to work for the company. Gurock noted that the company has the same hiring process for its e-commerce team as it does for brick-and-mortar.