Showrooming, the act of researching a product in a store then buying it online, has been a concern for many retailers. It’s not a new concept, but mobile made it a rising trend in 2011. With smartphone in hand, a consumer can test drive the HD TVs, check the reviews online, locate the best price and make the purchase from a different retailer while they’re still standing in the store.
They can – but is that what shoppers are doing?
The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group surveyed 1,000 US consumers to find out how technology is impacting their shopping behaviors. They published the results in a study called “Catch and Keep Digital Shoppers” and they even made a nifty infographic for us to share.
Here’s the section that caught my eye:
In 2011, 38% of consumers were showrooming. They checked out products in a store but bought online. In 2012, that number rose to 40%. This might sound like bad news, but look at the other options.
In 2012, a larger number of people researched with a PC or a mobile device then made the purchase in the store.
Making a Digital Connection
Like others before it, the Cisco survey demonstrates the consumer’s love for online ratings and reviews. They prefer them by a 4:1 margin over advice from store employees. In fact, 85% said they want access to self-service digital content while shopping in a store. Only 4% wanted help from a store employee.
They want easier and faster ways to find and pay for products. And 53% said they want more price visibility. That’s a pet peeve of mine. I hate it when there’s no shelf tag showing the price of an item. I don’t care if it’s a laptop computer or a bag of chips at the grocery store – prices should be clearly marked.
My local grocery store is testing electronic shelf tags. Prices get up-dated from a central location, removing all of the hand work involved in replacing physical price tags. Think about what a time saver that would be when the store gets a list of markdowns.
This kind of technology is slowing moving into all types of brick and mortar stores. Imagine a fashion boutique where you can sit in a comfortable chair and use a tablet to virtually try on clothes before heading to the dressing room. Or a store where you can watch a selection of movie trailers, TV clips or listen to CDs before buying.
And anytime you can put online reviews in the hands of the consumer, you’re giving them the power to buy with confidence.
Instead of worrying that mobile will eat into your brick and mortar business, retailers need to learn to embrace the technology. All customers want is a straight answer to their questions. Once they have that, they’ll gladly give you their money rather than wait for the product to be delivered in a week.
Read tge rest of the findings in the “Catch and Keep the Digital Shopper” Infographic