Today’s digitally-armed consumers have adopted “showrooming” as part of the buying process. Using brick-and-mortar stores to check out products and later purchase them online is becoming more common and will influence 19 percent of all U.S. sales by 2016. Amazingly, 80 per cent of retailers expect
to be impacted by showrooming, but only one in 10 has a plan to combat it.
Brick-and-mortar retailers have gone to extremes to prevent this. I once saw a retailer post a sign that said, “There’s a $5 charge for looking, which will be credited to any purchase you make before you leave the store.” I don’t recommend this, but that said, there are productive ways to combat showrooming, so you can get those customers browsing and buying in your store. Here are a few ideas that top retailers have successfully implemented.
Price matching: This is a tactic that could work, but it’s my least favourite because we often make the least amount of money from our toughest customers.
Increase the number of exclusive products in the store and reduce inventory of products that are prone to showrooming. This is a notable option that works much better for some products than others, as music retail customers are very brand-oriented.
Keep your shelves full: Many showroomers are “what I want, when I want it” buyers. If you have full shelves, these consumers are more likely to buy from you because they can get what they want right away.
Creating bundles: This is a way to offer customers more value and, at the same time, help you be more competitive than you could be on a single item. When customers have the accessories they need to fulfill their dreams, they’re far less likely to return their main purchase. Bundling can also include offering services that will extend the satisfaction of owning
a product long after the customer has paid for it. Online returns run very
high these days. Brick and mortars have an advantage when it comes to
being able to make customers happy, so being creative with bundles is a
formidable combat tactic.
Rich product info and exclusive displays: These are an excellent way
to communicate that you’re the place to buy from. Some retailers have been successful by making displays of popular products more of a customer
experience. Creating elements in your displays that mention future
seminars, training, and lessons and offering in-store-only signage are
ammunition you can use to combat showrooming.
Promote an experience that customers want to be part of: This is
where brick-and-mortar stores can outshine their online competitors. Having a staff that consistently cares about the customer’s in-store experience may prove to be the ultimate winning strategy. Today’s consumers share their experiences 30 times more than they ever have in the past, so use this as an opportunity to get the positive word out about your business.
As showrooming becomes yet another factor for brick-and-mortar retailers to deal with, planning your own combat strategy and implementing it will pay off.
This article originally appeared on NAMM U Online, namm.org/nammu.
Kenny Smith served as a Peavey rep in 13 states, including Southern California, where he worked closely with retailers to help train their salespeople on products and general selling techniques. He eventually became a full-time sales training clinician for Peavey and traveled the United States, Canada, and Europe to present his “Streetwise Selling” course. Smith currently consults for both music retailers and suppliers, helping them with sales training, management, and Internet marketing.