Over the past few years, brick-and-mortar retailers have seen a change in their customers’ behavior. The wide-spread use of the Internet and smartphones has led to a trend called showrooming – the act of browsing in-store and buying online.
What is it? Showrooming includes comparing in-store and online prices, reading online reviews of in-store items, or visiting brick-and-mortar stores to gain information that isn’t found online. An example would be visiting a make-up counter to find your desired lipstick shade and then buying it for a better price online. In its Mobile Consumer Report, Vibes reported that eighty-four percent of shoppers who showroom have done so while browsing in-store.
Why does it happen? Store visitors who showroom are attempting to save themselves time and money. They don’t want to manually and aimlessly sort through clothing racks and they don’t want to purchase last-season designer items at full price. They want to find the best price for an item, seek sales and promotions, compare competing retailers and test in-store products that they plan to purchase online.
How do we identify it? Showrooming can severely affect your bottom line or worse – threaten your store’s survival. Store managers can identify showrooming by calculating their conversion rates – or the amount of customers who enter the store and exit with a purchase – by dividing transactions by traffic. A decrease in customer conversions could mean that your visitors are showrooming. They enter your store, but don’t convert to customers by making purchases. You track your traffic counts by installing an in-store people counting system that counts your customers.
How do we fight it? As the saying goes – if you can’t beat them, join them. You can’t stop your store visitors from using their smartphones, but you can make your showroom more enticing. Here are three ways to fight showrooming by using a people counting system:
1. Measure your progress.
Use people counting software to track traffic, transactions and conversions to measure your progress. You can analyze this data to identify the amount of people who are showrooming in your store. By tracking these numbers over time, you can see if your efforts have been successful.
2. Improve in-store customer service.
Analyze hourly footfall and evaluate individual employee performance in order to reallocate labor. You can determine which of your employees should be scheduled during peak shopping times. Employees with exceptional skills can offer in-store customer service that showroomers simply can’t get while shopping online.
And quantity is just as important as quality. Having an adequate shopper-to-associate ratio allows your staff to spend time with each customer – selling your products through explanations, recommendations and demonstrations. If you’re convincing enough, visitors may not even be tempted to compare prices.
3. Keep your store stocked.
Use people counting software to optimize your inventory to your advantage. Measure your footfall and product sales to make sure you always have enough of your customers’ desired items. When your items are out of stock, store visitors don’t have much choice but to look elsewhere. If you keep your best-selling and best-reviewed products in stock, they won’t have to look any further. You can also stock items that are often hard to find or out of stock online.
Your store visitors won’t have to showroom if your store offers their preferred products at preferred prices. Using a people counting system can tell you when showrooming takes place in your store and help you take the right steps to reduce it.