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How to make the most of showrooming
A new trend in retail - customers coming into a store, looking at a product and then leaving to buy online - is causing some retailers additional stress in this stingy economy. Called showrooming, many are looking for ways to stop customers from the practice, but two experts say showrooming can be turned to the retailer's best interests.
Kristina: How can traditional retailers use trends like showrooming to their advantage?
Jordan Socran, Vice President of Business Development, RadialPoint: There's a huge benefit in offering technology support plans to customers beyond the point of purchase to encourage repeat customers and brand advocates. Retailers also need to offer a human-assisted premium support plan. While consumers may be sensitive about the device prices, they're often willing to pay more for premium support plans as their technology needs become more complex. In the business of retail where the transaction is usually 'one-and-done,' support services create a direct and ongoing relationship with the consumer, ultimately increasing loyalty and revenue.
Martin Hayward, Director of Marketing, Mirror Image Internet: Retailers are looking for ways to convert showrooming consumers into customers, regardless of whether they walk out of the store having purchased a product via mobile device or at checkout with a coupon. Just as retailers can push coupons to consumers through mobile apps to turn showrooming into an advantage, so too can they deploy this tactic to encourage it - reverse-showrooming, if you will. Leveraging geo-location technology, retailers can push ads to consumers' mobile devices for less expensive, relevant merchandise while they're perusing items in competitors' stores. We're seeing some retailers allow this, and it's likely that many more will incorporate similar tactics into their holiday marketing strategies as they prepare for the upcoming season.
Kristina: How does Mirror Image Internet help local businesses compete better in the space?
Martin: Nowadays, there are mobile apps for nearly every purpose, and you can bet that savvy shoppers know the best apps to compare products and prices. This gives marketers a unique, real-time opportunity to push relevant ads to consumers based on their search terms and search history. Mirror Image Internet is able to help retailers compete in the space by leveraging location-based technology to drive foot traffic among consumers that are adjacent to their stores.
Kristina: How does Radialpoint help local businesses? And, relatedly, is personalized service the answer for local businesses who find shoppers turning to the Internet for product purchases?
Jordan: Retailers are not only able to help customers with current issues, but through Radialpoint's platform (white-labeled through the retailer) they're able to view past incidents and purchases, getting a better view of the customer and ultimately - they're able to respond to customers in a quicker and more efficient manner. Unlike traditional retail where each purchase is separate and past transactions have no impact on future transactions, Radialpoint enables retailers to anticipate customers' needs. With profit margins shrinking, no business - local or global - can compete on price alone. Businesses must offer support services that strengthen the customer relationship.
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