Showrooming isn’t going anywhere. It’s become a staple of the in-person shopping experience, and retail stores across the country are working hard to prevent their customers from walking in their doors, checking out their products, and leaving before purchasing that same product online.
The good news is with so many options at your disposal, many of which you’ve already successfully implemented, you’re in position to overcome these obstacles. Here are a few ways your store is set up to win a victory over those online retailers:
It’s not all about price
While it’s true that some online retailers can offer lower prices than their brick and mortar competitors, there’s good reason for that: It costs more to run a physical store with personalized, attentive customer service.
Your customers are aware of this, and that’s why they tend to have a slightly higher price tolerance when buying in-person than when they buy online. You’ve probably experienced this phenomenon yourself. Let’s say you go into a store and see a product you want, and despite knowing you could get it for a slightly lower price online, you buy it right then and there because you want it now and it’s not worth going to all that trouble.
That kind of thing happens to customers a lot and it works to your advantage. As long as your prices are not considerably higher than online retailers, you can operate with having slightly higher prices than your competitors. You can even try dynamic pricing on some of your items, rather than adhering to a standard mark-up price at all times, to put yourself in an even more competitive situation.
Shipping, or lack thereof
Unlike an online purchase, a customer that comes into your store will not need to worry about paying extra to have their purchase shipped to their home. Nor will they have to wait at least a few days after they hit the checkout button on their screen. By purchasing from you, customers can walk right out the door with their purchase in-hand.
If you have an eCommerce solution that allows it – inSite, for example – customers who are dead set on shopping online can still do so, but they can take advantage of the added convenience of picking up their purchase in your store.
You make things easy
With a showrooming customer already in your store, this is the easiest and most readily accessible tool at your disposal, as 90 percent of all retail sales still happen in-person. Even if customers do find a lower price online, there’s going to be some drawback whether they place that order from their phone or go home and place their order. Either way, they’ll have to wait at least a couple days before the product hits their doorstep.
Make sure you’re emphasizing this to your customers both in your advertising and when they come to visit you in person. Not only can they walk out of your store with the product they want within minutes, but if they have a question, you’re sure to have a friendly store employee on hand to find an answer. That’s a luxury they won’t have sitting at their desk at home.
In addition, your store knows best what course materials are needed for each class – you’re the experts. When customers are purchasing online, it’s more difficult to determine whether the product will fit their needs in the classroom (Is it the right edition? Is it really in the same condition as its online photo?, etc.) Holding it in their hands and consulting with a store employee who can answer any questions will help to make sure any given book is the right one.
Finally, you offer a greater variety of payment options than customers are likely to find at an online retailer. This works most specifically to your advantage when talking about proprietary tenders like Student Financial Aid, which is a form of payment that many of your customers rely on, but cannot use in any other setting.
Customers already know you
Customers aren’t just product purchasing robots – they’re aware of who they’re buying from and the effect it has on a store like yours when they choose to purchase from you instead of an online retailer. This is especially true at a college store, where the customer ostensibly already has some allegiance to the school itself – of which you are, of course, a representative.
Unlike those online retailers, you’re the one with a friendly staff that cares about its customers on a far more personal level. You should be able to capitalize on this sense of loyalty fairly easily, especially if you have a literal loyalty program that rewards shoppers for buying from you repeatedly.