How to Stop Showrooming and Increase Retail Sales

  • Oct 29, 2012

There are Ways to Slow Down the Negative Impact of Showrooming on Your Retail Business

Austin, Texas: Unfortunately, showrooming is here to stay.

According to Wikipedia, Showrooming is when a customer visits a brick and mortar retail location to touch and feel a product and then goes online to buy the product at a lower price.

With the growth of price comparison apps and ease of visiting the web on smart phones, consumers have been trained to scan bar codes and research pricing before purchasing.

I just read an article that states that states that almost half of U.S. online shoppers plan to make fewer trips to the stores for holiday gift purchases this year. Instead, many will make use of shopping apps on their mobile device.

How can a retailer compete?

Some people have tried covering up a UPC bar code- but that is plain dumb. In fact, I would imaging that doing this would also make a customer try harder to bypass the retailer–figuring that they must be covering it up for a reason.

One answer is to only purchase products from vendors that are exclusive or not sold to mass merchants. However, this can only work to some degree – as consumers are often looking for brand name, licensed products and the latest items that they have seen promoted or advertised already.

My two suggestions: Bundling and Gift with Purchase.

Bundling is where you offer a shirt with a scarf for a special price. That makes comparing apples to apples much harder.

However, sometime the customer only wants the single item – and then you are back to an easy price comparison dilemma.

The best option is a Gift with Purchase.

With this option, you give the scarf free with a purchase of gloves, or give a free 10-song music download card with the purchase of an electronic device.

The perfume and cologne companies are masterful at the gift with purchase concept–when you get a gift basket with the perfume and bath gel ….. or a free gym duffel bag with the latest masculine cologne purchase.

Think out of the box.

Don’t give gift cards- as it is too easy to calculate the value— then deduct that amount from the purchase price.

I am a big proponent of branded merchandise–whether it is a stuffed toy with a embroidered scarf with the store’s logo – or branded shopping bag, music download card, stainless steel sports bottle, etc. By creating a proprietary item, the perceived value is often much higher than actual cost– since you would be buying these items at a wholesale discount.

It also serves as an advertising vehicle for your brand– which will keep it in the minds (and hearts) of our customers for much longer than a discount would.

Make it harder to scan and compare like items.

By offering a value-added gift, you can help tilt the advantage in your favor.

Here’s to a successful holiday shopping season.