Posted by Jessica Beaudry on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 @ 07:00 AM
In a 2016 survey of U.S. adults, the Pew Research Center found that 45 percent “have used cellphones while inside a physical store to look up online reviews of products they were interested in, or to try and find better prices online.” This phenomenon, known as showrooming, occurs when consumers examine and or test merchandise in stores then compare pricing online and leave the business for a competitor’s lower priced item(s) or to research prices at home. The result? Lost sales. The good news? According to the National Retail Federation (NRF):
- 66 percent of consumers prefer to shop in stores
- 65 percent want to physically see items before purchasing
- Online sales account for less than 10 percent of total retail sales
Consumers continue to incorporate brick and mortar businesses in their path to purchase. To save the sale and increase foot traffic and consumer retention rates, retailers can implement the following strategies compiled by the CrossCheck editorial team.
Retailers vs Showrooming
According to NRF, 34 percent of consumers regularly research products online before purchasing in stores, while 53.5 percent occasionally conduct research prior to purchases. To stay relevant, retail businesses should sell from the company website. This will allow companies to benefit from showrooming. NRF found that over a three month period in 2017, 34.8 percent of in-store electronic purchases were made by consumers who had previously researched the items online, followed by 23.4 percent of appliances sales, 21.2 percent of beauty and self-care sales and 14.1 percent of furniture sales.
Offer free in-store pickup for online purchases. Consumers who utilize this service may be tempted to purchase additional items while in the store. Representatives can also take this opportunity to upsell merchandise. In NRF’s Fall 2017 Consumer View report, 32.2 percent of respondents rated the ability to pick up and return items in a store when shopping online as “very important”. The report also found that 45 percent of Millennials and Gen Xers buy online and pickup in stores.
Provide a hassle-free return policy. Seamless returns help businesses build consumer trust and loyalty. Of those surveyed by NRF, 52.2 percent identified a flexible return policy as “very important”.
Distribute website-only coupons during the final days of a sale. Shoppers may be more inclined to make purchases when experiencing a sense of urgency.
Add customization options both online and in stores. Consumers are highly interested in personalization and customization. Businesses that offer these services can increase consumer satisfaction and revenue.
Introduce virtual reality on the sales floor. Today, consumers crave technology that transforms in-store shopping experiences. Compared to older generations, younger shoppers are more likely to frequently visit a store if the establishment offers a new experience. A few modifications to consider include virtual changing rooms, virtual sales associates and virtual wardrobe demonstrations.
Develop a customized app offering coupons and unique features such as store navigation. 2017 Marketing and Promotions insights by NRF reported that 42.2 percent of consumers were influenced by coupons to purchase food, cleaning and beauty supplies while 30 percent purchased apparel and 26.7 percent purchased electronics when presented with coupons.
Whether consumers enter a store prepared with a list of questions or spontaneously engage with employees while shopping, retailers must train staff to be hyper knowledgeable on all company products. To make the sale, representatives must expertly answer all consumer questions and understand consumer needs.
Engage with consumers on social media to encourage positive reviews and discussion while increasing consumer reach. The 2017 Online Reviews Survey by ReviewTrackers found that “over 50 percent of consumers often or always check out online reviews,” and read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business. Furthermore, 67.7 percent of survey respondents visited a local business after conducting online research, with 55.7 percent of searches leading to an in-store purchase.
Offer multiple payment options. In addition to standard cash and credit checkout and transitioning to the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) credit card system, retailers can provide payment via self-checkout, Near-Field Communication (NFC) payment technology, Bluetooth technology and check payment processing solutions such as CrossCheck’s Multiple Check service.
In response to the continual rise in showrooming, retailers can use the tips outlined above to maintain consumer interest, increase customer satisfaction and encourage in-store purchases leading to increased revenue. For more expert advice, see our articles on electronic stores and home furnishings retailers and download our guide 40 Tips to Combat Showrooming today!