By Mike Romano, email@example.com
Recently ShopperTrak reported that during the 2012 post-Black Friday week retail foot traffic increased 3.7% over last year. Larger chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Meijer have done an excellent job this holiday season combining their brick-and-mortar stores, online, and mobile channel into a seamless customer shopping experience. Other retailers with a weak multichannel communications and commerce strategy are seeing a bit of coal in their stocking. These channel laggards are susceptible to being out-marketed and exposed to revenue loss due to consumer shopping behaviors such as showrooming. And where are their lost sales going? According to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive between Nov.27 and Nov. 29, querying 2,249 adults, Amazon.com is the online benefactor cited by 57% of the respondents.
This trend of consumers viewing merchandise at a brick-and-mortar location, making cost comparisons on their Smartphones and tablets in store, and then going online to finish the purchase is growing. It is estimated that showrooming will have a big impact this holiday season, and may influence up to $1.7 billion in 2012 holiday retail sales. One-in-five consumers are now showrooming, according to new research by Aprimo/Teradata and Forrester Research. This trend can’t be ignored, as 96% say they plan to use their smartphone to research prices the same way or more in the future.
Back in September, Deloitte issued its their forecast for the 2012 holiday season, which anticipated retail store sales influenced by customers using their smartphone for research, price comparing and other activities will account for 5.1%, or $36 billion, during the holiday season this year. Deloitte went on to say that consumers who use smartphones as a showrooming tool are 14% more likely to make a purchase in the store than those who do not use a smartphone.
So what can retailers do to turn a potential bad showrooming experience – where the customer comes to a brick and mortar store to see a product before buying online elsewhere – into a sale? Here are four ways retailers can help capture prospective customers who are conducting product research, convert serious lookers into buyers, and win the showrooming challenge:
Harness the power of multichannel: Retailers should leverage the power of the mobile phone and tablets through a multichannel strategy. A customer browsing at a brick-and-mortar location would suggest that they are conducting in-person research, but because they are likely carrying their smartphone, the opportunity for showrooming is presented. An IAM survey found that 73% of consumers say they have used their mobile phone in a store. Mobile websites make it easy for consumers to compare against your competitor – while in your store! Take this opportunity to send location-based messages via text, email, or push notifications to their mobile phone. Retailers commonly use QR codes or text for info codes to drive tr