Showrooming is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional store, and then buying it online at a lower price. The rise in popularity of showrooming has to some extent made retailers anxious, however businesses should be keen to embrace it and not fear it, says Andreas Andreou, the commercial director of cashback rewards platform Quldco, in an article for Marketing Magazine.
Statistics may initially look frightening, with showrooming estimated to steal 32% of UK retail customers according to the Mobile Commerce Compendium. However, there is another figure in the Compendium that brands should pay more attention to: 57% of all smartphone owners have used their handset to browse for information while out shopping. This, says Andreou, is what retailers should strive to leverage.
The high street is already embracing technology in order to attract customers; Burberry has bet on installing interactive screens and equipping sales assistants with iPads so that they can show customers a matching accessory or order an item that is not available in store. This willingness to embrace technology has rewarded Burberry with improving sales. The key to success is merging the online and offline customer experience and the tool for this is beacon technology.
Beacon makes it possible for retailers to send push notifications to passers-by and offers customers in-store navigation, flexible payment options and the ability to access additional information. For retailers, the technology means an ever-increasing supply of customer data that they can use to improve their service. They can combine information about their online and offline customers and deliver highly personalised messages and offers. In this way, retailers are able to improve sales and customer retention as shoppers benefit from offers and promotions that are relevant to them, Andreou notes.