The internet makes so many things better, including the experience of buying and selling online. That said, shop floors still have a charm of their own. Customers love experiencing products, and retailers are always on the lookout for ways to actually sell those products.
This is where showrooming happens, where people only just browse through without making a purchase.
Showrooming undoubtedly has the potential to negatively impact physical retail locations, but only if store owners sit back and let it happen.
There are certain elements of the shopping experience that simply cannot be duplicated by the internet, and by placing emphasis on these aspects of your business, you’re making it worthwhile for people to bring their wallets up to your counter.
1. Encourage Their Loyalty
Loyalty programs are great for maintaining repeat business, but there are other advantages that may mean even more for your retail stores.
When you implement a loyalty program, people have something to work towards. Every purchase with you is a step toward achieving a goal, whether it’s a lofty discount, a free gift, or some other exclusive perk. The key is to make these targets achievable.
If you offer enough of these rewards, people may be willing to look past how much they may be spending. If something’s a little cheaper on the internet, that cheapness won’t roll into a reward. Your loyalty program will.
Starbucks has seen exceptional success with their loyalty program, where the average customer spends $62.50 to obtain a free drink of varying value. The signs show that people love their loyalty programs and they’re willing to stick around for the long haul in order to see a return.
2. Provide Added Value
If you don’t offer packaging online, or if competitors selling the same or similar products don’t provide that luxe part of the experience, you can get ahead in the game by making your packaging in offline stores special. This is a great strategy for stores that sell accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, handmade goods, or artisan goods.
Even if that’s not the case, you can always provide gifts with a purchase or free samples that only apply to in-store purchases. You can even extend this experience to cover online purchases if you’re most focused with sales and don’t particularly mind where they come from.
Many customers perceive these bonuses as offsetting the costs, even if they found something similar for less money elsewhere.
They’re spending a little more, but they’re also getting a little more.
Even if the cost of these goods is low (or free to you, like samples provided as a marketing effort by a brand you stock), the offer will seem enticing.
3. Offer In-Store Exclusives
At the end of the day, exclusivity is what sets you apart from your competitors. If they’re all selling the same things and some of them price cheaper, there’s no real reason for people to select buying from your retail location over purchasing something for less money on the internet.
You need to have things that nobody else has, and make them available exclusively in your retail stores.
Envision this fictional scenario. Your toy store is selling the same teddy bear that many other retail locations are selling. People love collecting these teddy bears, and they come in a dozen variations.
You work with the manufacturer to obtain exclusive rights to a new variation that people won’t be able to get anywhere else. If people want it, they’ll have to come to you.
An alternative involving less contracts and agreements is to create exclusive in-house merchandise.
Utilize your own designs. Invent something. Create anything proprietary.
When you do so, you’re ensuring that people will have no choice but to buy these things from you because they don’t exist in the wild. Many clothing retail stores use this same model to thrive – all of their clothes are in-house designs that people are never going to find anywhere else.
Try hiring some designers. It may be expensive to go solo, but doing so will render showrooming obsolete.
4. Provide Excellent Customer Service
They can read a million blog posts before they make a purchase, and they’ll have a little more peace of mind when they go to check out.
The only problem with relying on those blog posts is that they’re written from someone’s unique perspective, and that person may have entirely different needs from the reader. Nothing is more effective than a personalized consultation.
Let your sales staff do what they were born to do – be creative, and have fun. If they can provide a personalized experience for everyone who walks through your door, people are going to feel enriched and rewarded for having visited you.
Make your customers feel like friends by allowing your sales staff to become friendly, knowledgeable shopping buddies that will ensure everyone leaves with exactly what they need.
Create an excellent company culture, keep the breakroom stocked with snacks, and celebrate all of your shared victories. In turn, this will translate into a great customer experience.
5. When All Else Fails, Try Price Matching
Many big box stores will price match their competitors in an effort to combat showrooming and avoid losing customers.
If you’re having a hard time getting people to buy from your retail locations, price matching might fix the problem.
People buy online because it’s cheaper, not because they like waiting for their orders to be processed, packaged, and shipped to them. If you can match the price they found online, you’re solving a substantial problem for them.
They’re getting what they want for the price they’re comfortable paying, on the same day. Providing this kind of instant gratification will make you invaluable to budget-conscious shoppers.
Physical locations now have to compete with the internet, and the internet is perhaps the most formidable competitor.
Many successful retailers utilize a combination of loyalty, exclusivity, and service standards to create sustainable businesses that won’t take a substantial hit from showrooming. When all else fails, observe successful retail locations that aren’t being significantly damaged by showrooming. Do what they do, and do it better.
Evie Cooper is an experienced project leader supporting UkAreaCode and Postcode-Checker – online knowledge libraries. She is also an avid business blogger, who often shares her tips and tricks about growing a successful company and acquiring more customers. Feel free to reach out to her on Twitter @CooperEviee.