Showrooming has become the latest threat for bricks and mortar retailers, as consumers are increasingly trying their products in the shops, check prices on their smartphones just to discover the there is a cheaper price available in the online channel.
One particular industry suffering the consequences is the automotive one:

The showrooming in the automotive industry

The showrooming is now the most popular trend among car buyers. If last year it was reported that efforts to eliminate showrooming, so as it wasn’t posing a threat for retailers, was partially successful in 2013, the picture seems to have drastically changed for this year.

It goes to prove that manufacturers and sellers should focus more on a multichannel strategy when it comes to offer their product to the consumer. Always paying close attention to new technologies and addressing the needs of mobile users.

New studies indicate that the practice of going to the physical store, and compare prices and products online with the help of the smartphone, is seriously affecting the automotive sector.

According to the data provided by several studies, mobile devices, especially smartphones, are already the main tool used to access information from potential car buyers, used by 81% of them. 25% of them use it exclusively, while 37 % combine different devices, such as smartphones, tablets or laptops.
Only 19% of customers who are ready to buy a car don’t seek any information online and take the plunge of buying it directly from the store without further checks.

The danger for sales agents is that 63% of customers use their smartphone to search for information and compare prices, while in the car dealership itself.

We cannot forget that buying a car is a big financial outlay, so it is one of the most important decisions when it comes to the family finances and home income.  This brings clients to actively seek information on prices and payments (51%), or check the availability of their dream vehicle by comparing several establishments (29 %), and even learn more about the product features and recommendations from other users (17%).  The data acquired is therefore possible in real time, regardless of location, thanks to mobile devices.

Another common practice of potential car buyers is to visit various dealers, so know all the possible options. A fact that is exacerbated in the case of self- showroomers, where 62 % admitted having gone to several outlets in less than 24 hours, while only 36% of non – showroomers did the same.

Just using the smartphone in the store itself results that customers receive offers and new proposals in real time. Hence, more than half of these buyers (52 %) have gone to a competitor, motivated by a proposal recorded while practicing showrooming. Also, mobile advertising campaigns influenced 33% of them, encouraging them to visit the advertiser’s point of sale.

These new patterns of behavior in the purchasing process in the automotive sector have raised all alerts, as the can easily take off in other sectors within a short period of time.
Both manufacturers and sellers should have a multichannel strategy, which integrate both their commercial activities in situ and their advertising campaigns. Always paying close attention to new technologies and addressing the needs of mobile users.