Increasing the Relevance of the Retail Store Environment
Showrooming has plagued brick-and-mortar retailers for years, with e-commerce quickly chipping away at in-store sales. Recently however, experts report the rising trend is actually the reverse – shoppers are now exploring options online before buying in-store. According to a 2014 report from BI Intelligence, reverse showrooming, or webrooming, is actually more common among U.S. consumers, with 69% of consumers researching online before transacting in-store.
Though webrooming indicates in-store purchasing behavior may be on the rise, retailers are not yet out of the woods. The act of showrooming and the rise of e-commerce is still a very present threat to brick-and-mortar retailers. The following strategies can help retailers make the in-store experience relevant again and, in turn, increase retail sales and drive customer loyalty.
Adopting an omnichannel approach
Brick-and-mortar retailers should also embrace their online presence, ensuring all marketing and product offerings are fully integrated for an omnichannel approach. According to a survey by comScore, 40% of purchases are made crossing channels, whether searching in-store and purchasing online or vice versa. So an omnichannel approach to customer service and the shopping experience engenders the most customer satisfaction, which triggers loyalty and brand recognition.
Further solidifying the need for omnichannel selling, the comScore survey found that the five most important things to shoppers making purchases both in store and online are:
● Price consistency across shopping channels
● The ability to ship out-of-stock items directly to their home
● The option to track the status of an order
● Consistent product assortment across channels
● The ability to return online purchases to the store
Engaging in-store experiences
Ecommerce experts agree that a streamlined and intuitive user experience is incredibly important in online retailing, and the same can be said for in-store experiences. Storefronts are no longer just a utility. Savvy brick-and-mortar retailers are turning them into attractive destinations for trying out products, interacting with knowledgeable salespeople and even congregating with friends. Apple paved the way with its sleek stores and friendly, casual staff. Capital One introduced its 360 Cafes to develop a community among its customer base. And more retailers are following suit.
Leveraging features and services that lend themselves to an in-store experience is another way to drive foot traffic. Programs such as electronics trade-in and in-store tech support benefit from a personalized, one-on-one interaction. They also deliver a better payoff through instant gratification – the customer is immediately rewarded during their store visit. This combination of features and benefits is not easily replicable through the online channel, making it a key selling point to drive in-store shoppers and sales.
Compelling in-store incentives
Promotions are used as a traffic driver for e-tailers, but in some cases they can work even more effectively in retail environments. In-store promotions appeal to today’s shopper, as they can be more flexible and simpler than online promotions, and most importantly, can deliver on instant gratification expectations. Eliminating the need for proof of purchase and the subsequent delayed payment or reward is yet another benefit over online, and another reason for shoppers to conduct their business in-store.
In-store promotions also open the door for store associates to effectively upsell products and services. During their time in store, customers have the opportunity to ask more questions and explore other purchases. For example, in the case of electronics trade-in, accessory coupons can be issued after completing a trade. This encourages the customer to immediately spend their trade-in proceeds on high-margin accessories.
Retailers can effectively drive in-store behavior by offering a differentiated in-store experience, adopting proven ecommerce methods and leveraging an omnichannel marketing approach. Playing to the strengths of the retail environment (assisted sales, instant gratification) while relying on the power of online communication can effectively reverse the showrooming trend, helping to drive retail sales and increase customer loyalty.
Jeff Trachsel is CMO for NextWorth Solutions, which has been defining, running and optimizing trade-in programs for major retailers nationwide since 2006. Through the delivery of turnkey in-store and online trade-in platforms, NextWorth Solutions is fundamentally changing the way people buy, own and disown consumer electronics.
PepsiCo, UPS veteran to be new Walgreens CIO
Walgreens Boots Alliance has appointed a PepsiCo and UPS veteran as its new CIO.
Anthony Roberts, who had served as SVP, international CIO, will now assume the role of Walgreens Boots Alliance SVP, global CIO.
The company announced that Tim Theriault, EVP, global chief information officer, will step down, effective June 1, for personal reasons.
Theriault will continue to serve as a consultant to the company and as a senior advisor to executive vice chairman and acting CEO Stefano Pessina on a range of issues, including cyber security.
“Tim has played a critically important role over the past six years leading Walgreens IT transformation, and advancing and integrating the Walgreens Boots Alliance technology teams and infrastructure since the merger of Walgreens and Alliance Boots last December," Pessina said. "We are grateful for all that Tim has done and for continuing as a consultant and a senior advisor to me as we pursue new global frontiers in IT to serve customers, patients and partners.”
Roberts brings extensive experience as an IT professional to his new role, having worked for international companies throughout his career including PepsiCo and UPS. In addition, he has led the transformation of IT across Alliance Boots and most recently co-led the integration office in preparation for the merger of Walgreens and Alliance Boots.
GameStop scores again with shoppers
GameStop continued to reap rewards from its omnichannel strategy in the first quarter, as the retailer reported an impressive increase in same store sales.
In acolumn published by Retailing Today, GameStop’s COO Tony Bartel said the company credits its success to adapting to the changing gaming market by incorporating Millennial-attracting digital offerings into its retail operations and making customer engagement both in-store and online a priority.
"Our first quarter results exceeded expectations, displaying our market leadership and our ability to drive and leverage our core video game business and expand our diversified businesses to deliver healthy profits and solid top-line growth,” said CEO Paul Raines.
GameStop Corp. posted an 8.6% boost in same store sales for the first quarter ended May 2. Nnet income rose to $73.8 million. Global sales increased to $2.06 billion from $2.00 billion, helped by the releases of games such as "Evolve" and "Mortal Kombat X."
"This performance confirms that our effort to transform GameStop into a family of specialty brands is the right strategy to drive durable revenues and shareholder value,” Raines added.
GameStop CorpGameStop operates more than 6,700 stores across 14 countries.