Mobile showrooming, which refers to the practice of viewing an item at a physical store and then shopping for the best price online, is being viewed as a threat by brick and mortar locations. And indeed, on the surface, there does seem to be some basis for that fear.
Based of the economy of scale that eCommerce businesses can enjoy because they don’t have to keep a physical inventory of product, offline retailers simply cannot compete when it comes to waging price wars. And with an estimated sum of approximately $689 billion of stores sales in 2016 being influenced by smartphone sales, that could be a major blow to most physical-store retailers.
Brick and mortars have felt the sting of showrooming, with consumers pulling out their mobile phones in stores to compare deals at other retailers. But this holiday season, web-rooming (aka reverse showrooming) is taking off. Shoppers are just as apt to web-room by looking up deals online first and then going to a store to purchase. In fact, consulting firm Deloitte found that 69% of this year’s holiday shoppers plan to web-room while only 52% plan to showroom.
And retailers are also getting savvier in clinching the sale while shoppers are in store. The difference is physical retailers are learning how to use location-based technology to fight back. For example, they can engage with customers via their smartphones as they shop in-store. By using technology to track consumers browsing through the store, they can personalize offers on items of interest to help increase the shopping experience.
The bottom line is that in-place retailers have options to win back some of the shopping dollars that are up for grabs. The key is to be savvy to consumers needs and provide them with better options such as geo-tracking to provide specialized messages, price breaks and even better delivery options so consumers don’t have to be bogged down carrying packages.
So when it comes to technology and mobile showrooming, the smart money is on fighting fire with fire.
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