Showrooming, the practice of price-comparing on a smartphone while shopping at a store, isn’t really the huge threat to traditional retail that it is made out to be.
The ravages of showrooming may in fact be more reflective of traditional retailers failing to provide a good service or experience.
In a new BI Intelligence study on “reverse showrooming” — online research that leads to in-store purchases — we discovered plenty of data suggesting that shoppers often prefer to shop in-store, if the right barriers are removed.
Here’s what the evidence suggests about what really drives people away from shopping in-store:
- The number one reason people aren’t shopping in-store? The data suggests it’s terrible and clueless service. Over half of respondents told Deloitte in a survey late last year that knowledgeable sales associates would convince them to shop in-store. Nearly three out of five consumers surveyed said they consider themselves better informed about pricing, discounts, and product availability than sales associates.
- There’s a lot more retailers should be doing: One-fifth of respondents cited mobile checkout options — i.e., the ability to pay with a phone without having to wait in line — barcode scanners to check prices, and personalised coupons delivered to them via phone or social media as reasons to buy in-store.
- Our study uncovered other areas where traditional retail is lagging, including gaps in inventory, lack of convenient pick-up options, and finally — lack of in-store Wi-Fi, which sows frustration and distrust.
The report also explodes three other myths around retail and the online threat.
1. Social media isn’t just driving people to e-commerce sites, it’s also a pretty effective driver of offline sales. The report’s author, Emily Adler, explains:
Nearly four out 10 Facebook users said they had bought a product after sharing or favoriting it on the site, a Vision Critical study found. Pinterest was next, with 29% having done the same, followed by Twitter at 22%. In all three cases, the percentage of people who bought online and off was about equal. So it’s not the case that social media only drives online purchases.
The data actually show that young people prefer to shop in-store across several key product categories, including cosmetics and electronics.
3. Amazon isn’t the bogeyman it is often made out to be. It is actually the top destination for people who research online, but then buy in-store. Savvy bricks-and-mortar chains should learn how to use Amazon as a guide to what they need to stock.
To access BI Intelligence’s full report on Reverse Showrooming, along with BI Intelligence’s in-depth coverage of the mobile, social, payments, video, and e-commerce industries, sign up for a free trial subscription here.
‘Reverse Showrooming’: Bricks-And-Mortar Retailers Fight Back
The retail industry is hiding behind the showrooming threat, but the real problems may run deeper.
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