Consumer Marketing

How Retailers Plan to Counter Holiday Season Showrooming

We’ve all done it – seen a fabulous new bag in a window or the latest gadget in stores and immediately turned to our mobile phones to see if we could snag a better deal online. Dubbed “showrooming,” it’s a phenomenon brick-and-mortar retailers have developed specific strategies to thwart, and many are stepping up their efforts during the busiest shopping season of the year.

According to Prosper Mobile Insights, cited at Forbes, “More than half of people who own a mobile device plan on using it to shop this year.” With apps like BarCode Reader, Price Check by Amazon, RedLaser by eBay and ShopSavvy, the allure of mobile showrooming only grows. This holiday season, a whopping 80% of retailers expect some sort of impact from mobile showrooming … and they’re facing it head-on with savvy marketing tactics like these:

  • Cool Apps: Stores like Target, Best Buy, Crate & Barrel and Toys ‘R’ Us are partnering with existing shopping apps to boost visibility and traffic. For example, ‘shopkick’ provides shoppers with location-based deals and rewards simply for walking into a partner store. Consumers can turn ‘kicks’ into iTunes gift cards, Facebook credits, restaurant vouchers, store gift cards or movie tickets or make donations to 30+ charities.
  • Robust In-Store Experiences: Saks is offering free Wi-Fi in stores to promote a mobile-friendly shopping experience … and promote its mobile commerce website. Puma stores add to in-store ambiance with live DJs, and Ted Baker’s Instagram photo booth contest melds the in-store, online and mobile worlds together for the ultimate shopping experience.
  • Price Matching: Retailers like Target and Best Buy have announced that they intend to match online retailer prices this holiday season in hopes of competing with the mobile trend.
  • Personalized Offers: The Gap is partnering with Visa to personalize interactions with shoppers while they are out and about in search of holiday deals. Via Visa’s access to valuable consumer transaction data, the Gap is able to send expertly tailored messages to the mobile phones of customers who’ve opted in whenever a transaction is scanned near a Gap. These personalized messages reach customers while they are in a buyer’s frame of mind, and the brand hopes they stimulate in-store visits and purchases, as well as improve customer retention.

Although mobile showrooming hasn’t reached friendship status with retailers, this holiday season retailers are finding ways to co-exist with the phenomenon and, perhaps, use it to their own benefit. Retailers are learning to leverage tech solutions to create a more personalized in-store shopping experience for customers, rather than simply throwing product at them and hoping it sticks.

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Whether shoppers plan to reap the rewards of showrooming and purchase online or prefer a unique and personalized in-store holiday shopping experience, one thing’s for sure – the effects of mobile showrooming will benefit consumers one way or another this holiday season.

Happy shopping, everyone!

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