Retailers may have already noticed customers visiting their stores, trying out items and leaving without a purchase and then buying the same product online at a lower price via a mobile device. The UK is one of the worst countries in the world for ‘showrooming’, but while retailers try to deal with the pressures it brings, they could also try to make use of its benefits.
According to an article from market observer TNS, mobile phones can be used to tame the risk of showrooming by boosting brand interaction with consumers and converting them from browsers into customers.
The research has found that 33% of the 38,000 people surveyed across 43 countries have visited a store to try out products without buying them, with 21% using their mobile devices while showrooming. TNS argued that this represents a huge opportunity for brands to approach consumers in a buying environment, as these activities hint that they are ready to interact with brands whilst in a store.
Over 20% of smartphones users participating in the poll said that they were willing to receive mobile coupons during their shopping trip and 13% would be interested to use the services of a ‘virtual sales assistant’, which could provide additional information about items.
Showroomers generally want to find out more about the price of a product and its suitability and they successfully achieve this by reading reviews, in social media, from friends and family and sales staff. This suggests that brands need to adopt a more integrated approach that allows for reaching consumers and meeting their needs at all touchpoints, according to TNS.
“Rather than seeing mobile as a threat to in-store sales, brands and retailers must embrace it as the most immediate and personalised way to engage shoppers to ensure that they don’t leave empty-handed,” Matthew Froggatt, Chief Development Officer at TNS, commented.