Why Showrooming Isn't Such a Bad Thing
In advance of next Thursday's Retail Marketing Virtual Conference & Expo, I took the opportunity to interview one of the show's speakers, Richard Sexton, the founder and president of Carolina Rustica, an omnichannel retailer of high-end furniture and lighting. (Richard is also a member of Retail Online Integration's Editorial Advisory Board.) Richard will be hosting the "Showrooming: Your Secret Weapon for In-Store Sales" session. Here's a sneak peek into some of the issues that Richard will be addressing during the half-hour session:
Retail Online Integration: How can retailers turn "showrooming" consumers into a boon for their business rather than a threat?
Richard Sexton: First, recognize that "showrooming" is part of an overall shift in consumer behavior, and that you need to embrace it. The consumer is in your showroom! There's no excuse for losing this customer. Compensate by offering other services — price match if you must — but always emphasize your local strengths and capabilities. Chances are, the consumer doesn't live too far away and would always prefer to buy local.
ROI: What is webrooming and how does it/will it impact omnichannel retailers?
RS: Webrooming is the flip side of showrooming, and it offers an even greater opportunity to capture a customer. This process is when the customer has done their price-comparison shopping online and decided to purchase from your showroom. All you need to do is make sure the customer expectation established on your website is consistent and uniform with their in-store experience. If it is, you'll have achieved omnichannel dominance.
ROI: Can you share an example of a brand that's successfully implemented a strategy to combat showrooming?
RS: Unfortunately, it's much easier to give examples of what NOT to do. For example, Target has tried to force vendors to use unique SKUs for products they purchase, thus discouraging showrooming. Target then announced that it would price match Amazon.com, Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Both of these are knee-jerk reactions that send contradictory messages to consumers, without any consideration of other alternatives that would encourage constructive use of mobile devices in-store — e.g., immediate coupons, local offers, mobile-only sales, etc.
To hear more from Richard on this hot-button issue (in addition to getting a full day's worth of informational and educational content from recognized leaders in the retail industry), register here for next Thursday's Retail Marketing Virtual Conference & Expo. We hope to "see" you there!