Retailers Use New Strategies to Counteract Showrooming

Remember showrooming? Not so long ago, retail giant Amazon encouraged smartphone owners to engage in price comparisons using their smartphones. Amazon is a source of never-​ending disintermediating threats to the traditional retail world, including Woman Using Barcode Reader Through Cell Phonethe latest idea from Bezos to have drones deliver products to customers’ doorsteps.However, showrooming is not as popular as it once was. A new IBM report reveals that retailers are successfully counteracting this problem.

IBM data shows that about 8% of consumers actively engage in price comparisons, using mobile devices in retail stores. However, only 30% of online purchases were traced to showrooming behavior in the most recent holiday season, compared to nearly 50% the year before. What’s going on? Part of the trend is linked to the fact that consumers are now shopping directly online and bypassing traditional retailers completely. This theory is supported by the widely-​reported 15% drop in foot traffic at many stores in the most recent holiday season.

Successful retailers are rapidly adopting mobile strategies and omnichannel capability in order to cater to shoppers’ needs. These days, shoppers are in a hurry, they don’t want a hassle and they don’t want to pay more than they have to for an item. Traditional retailers can up their game by optimizing mobile websites to make life easy for shoppers. For example, by the time a shopper arrives at a store, they might be able to pick up an item they just ordered online. Retailers can use loyalty programs to increase sales and offer lowest-​price guarantees.

To combat online giants, retailers should consider offering:

  •  Price consistency across shopping channels
  •  Ability to ship items that are out of stock in the store directly to their home
  • Option to track the status of an order
  •  Consistent product assortment across channels
  •  Ability to return online purchases in the store

Are you working with clients to promote these strategies? Do your clients say that they've noticed a drop in showrooming?

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.