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eCommerce Retailers Are in the Best Position to Win at Showrooming

good better bestWhether you’re a boutique retailer that started out online or you transformed a brick-and-mortar store into an eCommerce site, you are perfectly poised to capitalize on mobile shopping trends. Mobile doesn’t just mean online, it’s the sweet spot between the digital and physical customer experience. Mobile allows the user to bring anything online with them, wherever they go.

This is how “showrooming” started. People walk into an electronics store, find a TV they like, and then search the Internet on their smartphone for other stores that offer the same TV to compare the prices. If there is a nearby department store that has a slightly better price, then they will leave and buy the TV at that department store.

For a long time retailers saw this as a threat. They sought to snuff out showrooming, but as mobile technology advanced, it became impossible for even the largest retailers to impede comparison shopping in their stores. Smaller retailers have had a hard time competing with big franchise prices as well.

Yet, as a small retailer, you have the advantage in one important way. The founder of Shopper Track, Bill Martin, explained it to CNBC like this, “Retailers who deliver a seamless customer experience both in the store and across all channels will emerge ahead of the rest.” Thanks to the intimate size and eCommerce elements of your business, it is much easier for you to map out your customer’s behaviours and deliver an ever improving in-store experience.

First, take a look at some incredible stats that Google published in their 2013 study “Mobile In-Store Research: How in-store shoppers are using mobile devices.”

Mobile In-store Research Encourages Big Spenders

The glaring truth is that mobile research is the norm now. Google found that 84 percent of smartphone shoppers use their devices to help shop while in a store and 53 percent use them for comparing prices. Try counting the number of people that use their phones while shopping in your store. You could even create a simple survey about how people use their mobile phones in your store.

What’s equally astonishing is the fact that half of mobile shoppers will spend more than 15 minutes on their phone per store visit. If your store experience is particularly engaging, this number will likely be lower. It also depends on how easily customers can find the information they seek. The quicker they search, the less time they’ll spend on their phones and the more they’ll spend engaging your products or sales reps.

Across all product categories, the more someone researched while shopping, the more they would spend. Sometimes as much as 50 percent more for categories like health and beauty products. Again, there is a correlation between access to information and the customer’s experience. Instead of discouraging showrooming, you want to win at it.

This sentiment is supported by the fact that one in three shoppers will go to their device for information rather than ask a sales rep. Your customers want to make sure they’re getting the best deal. That’s why in-store researchers will spend more; they are more confident in their buying decisions. Meet the customers where they’re at. Build confidence in your product.

How to Win at Showrooming

Winning in business means your customer walks away satisfied and even excited about their purchase, with confidence that they made the right decision. Your creativity is the only limit here. But you also need the data to create that perfectly tailored experience for your customers. Analytics in eCommerce is second nature. In fact, one of the greatest strengths of having an online store is your ability to completely map out your customer’s behaviour, find the trends, and make informed business decisions based on those trends.

Analyzing customer behaviour in your store is a little tougher. But showrooming has opened a window for you to better track your in-store trends.

One really effective way to track customer habits is to put QR codes on your products. With an inexpensive barcode printer, like that Shopify offers, you can swiftly print out QR codes that point to specific URLs. Those URLs can give all the product information your customer is hoping for. The codes can link to discounts, bundle offers, related products, and anything else that might serve the customer’s needs. Offer the price comparison yourself. Prove you have the best price for that product, or prove your product is worth the extra dollar.

You can then map their path through your website and see what matters most to your customers. This also lets you record data without actually doing head counts.

Offer free Wi-Fi in your store as well. Econsultancy found that 51 percent of the smartphone owners in their survey would be willing to exchange their email address in return for free Wi-Fi. Allow customers to login to their store account when they walk through your doors and you can track their habits.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Having the eCommerce element as well as the brick-and-mortar business allows you to craft a winning showroom experience.

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