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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : August 07, 2012

The benefits of showrooming

A lot has been said, negatively, about showrooming of late. First and foremost that it takes in-market consumers away from retailers and pushing them into another store. But some experts disagree, saying showrooming can benefit brands who are aware of the trend - and are willing to go a little farther for their customers.

by Kristina Knight

I recently had the chance to chat with ChoiceStream's Millie Park and Eric Bosco about showrooming trends.

Kristina: How can showrooming benefit a brand?

Eric Bosco, ChoiceStream COO: Brands should think of this as opening a new channel for consumers to share their preferences. These preferences are a strong and valuable signal that should be processed along with other consumer information to inform targeting. A smart brand would respect each consumer's choice to explore other options. A really smart brand would go even further to learn from the signal and discover the profile of consumers who are showrooming (and what they're looking for), then target towards other outlets with their ads.

Kristina: One expert recently said that in the future many physical stores will be showroom, in effect, with people buying from mobile while in-store. Do you agree?

Millie Park General Manager and Vice President, ChoiceStream: The path is definitely there for specific types of products or specific consumer needs - especially those where we can wait a few hours or days for delivery. We see something to this effect where the concept is already there - think bridal registries and grocery stores, where consumers are armed with a "gun" and go trigger happy. They select what they want, and they are delivered the products elsewhere - whether at home or in the "pick up" window. However, traditional physical stores won't go away. There will always be the demand for physical stores where you can pick up what you need and get immediate gratification.

Kristina: How is ChoiceStream helping brands create a more personalized in-store experience? And why is this important?

Eric: Certainly a more personalized in-store experience will help and ChoiceStream can provide that. An great example of a personalized in-store experiences is "People who price scanned that item also scanned these." However, that is only part of the story. Retailers should be promoting their products online through ads targeted at in-market shoppers. While advertising their products, they should also promote the in-store experience and its benefits.

More from Millie and Eric tomorrow, including their best practices for retailers to convert window shoppers into actual buyers.

Tags: ChoiceStream, ecommerce trends, m:commerce trends, mobile marketing, showrooming

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