Free ContentFor Members Only
Home > JackMyersThinkTank > Showrooming is the New Normal -- So Use It to Your Advantage -- Say Media

Showrooming is the New Normal -- So Use It to Your Advantage -- Say Media

December 12, 2013

Published: December 12, 2013 at 05:43 PM GMT
Last Updated: December 12, 2013 at 05:43 PM GMT

"You gotta tame the beast before you let it out of its cage." – Derek Zoolander

“We love showrooming...when Target gets to book the sale,” says Casey Carl, president of multichannel at retail giant Target. “For retailers to survive and thrive in the future, we’ve got to up our game, play to our strengths and seize the upper hand by enhancing both our physical stores and digital channels.” Target’s not alone in this relatively new attitude about the phenomenon known as showrooming. Shoppers are busy looking for the best deal and more and more are using their smartphones and tablets for showrooming. They’re checking prices and product information while shopping in stores and this has significant implications for retailers. Their biggest fear is this: Shoppers will comparison shop “in the store” and then order online for a better price.

In fact, it may turn out that showrooming is not as bad as some retailers thought it would be. Deloitte's 2013 Annual Holiday Survey found that 44 percent of consumers use their smart phones for reading reviews, 36 percent use them for receiving discounts and coupons and 32 percent use them for scanning product barcodes.

Target’s on to something. This holiday season it looks as if BestBuy is taking a similar route in an attempt to work showrooming to their advantage. The company recently launched a new holiday TV ad campaign featuring four celebrity storytellers – Will Arnett, LL Cool J, Maya Rudolph and Jason Schwartzman - reading tales of potential holiday shopping nightmares prevented by the magic of Best Buy.

This is in sharp contrast to some of the early reaction to showrooming. Many retailers were caught off guard a few years back when the consumer practice gained in popularity. Perhaps the most “famous” example of the panic setting in for some retailers came from this example: A specialty food retailer based in Brisbane, Australia posted a sign in the window warning shoppers that the store would impose a $5 fee for people who are "just looking."

Obviously, threatening your customers is not the path to success. Instead, smart retailers understand that although consumer behavior constantly changes, certain solid marketing principles still apply. Concepts like loyalty, adding value and creating a great customer experience will win the day. In other words, it takes work to earn and keep your customer’s business – but in the long run it’s well worth it.

What’s more, it may turn out that retailers don’t have to resort to automatic price-matching to combat the negative effects of showrooming. A recent study from Columbia University and loyalty management company Aimia, Inc. supports this. Shoppers show a strong willingness to join loyalty programs in exchange for rewards delivered via mobile. The study goes so far as to identify five types of mobile-assisted shoppers and offers insights to retailers on how best to market to each shopper type. There’s good news for brands that invest on this front. More than half of mobile shoppers are more likely to purchase a product in-store when their mobile device helps them find online reviews, information or trusted advice.

The omni-channel or multi-channel consumer is here to stay and retailers have a choice – either threaten customers so they never return to your store again or embrace the mobile-assisted shopper and get creative. Toys R Us plans to embrace the mobile shopper this holiday season with what they believe is a winning formula - strong in-store experience and a successful Internet business. In fact, the company says there are “81 different ways we can get product to the customer.” Good thing, because when it comes to toys , no parent wants to see OUT OF STOCK on their computer screen – especially during the holiday season.

Savvy retailers are busy enhancing the in-store experience, offering free Wi-Fi to make the information shoppers are seeking available and creating in-store exclusives. They’re finding that shoppers linger longer and the data collected is helping with future targeting and special offers via mobile coupons – and they've joined the chorus of “We Love Showrooming!”

Beverly Macy is author, educator, and thought leader in social and digital business and a frequent contributor to Say Daily . She is also the author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing and the host of Social Media Radio .

Say Media is a digital publishing company that creates amazing media brands. Through its technology platform and media services, Say enables its portfolio of independent content creators to build passionate communities around key consumer interest areas such as Style, Living, Food and Tech. For more information visit www.saymedia.com.

Read all Say Media's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Say Daily.

Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.com
Follow our Twitter updates at @MediaBizBlogger

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.

add this social bookmark link

Post a Comment

Commentary Archives

October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014

See all Archived Material


The MediaVillage Articles Club: Friendsgiving
In celebration of the giving season, this month's Articles Club was billed as a Friendsgiving-style potluck. Were it not for some delicious chili and cornbread from our hostess, Chelsea, the evening may have fallen short of expectations. (I came armed with store-bought desserts and we also ditched a called-for side dish in favor of some Cabernet.) Our conversation covered a lot of ground this month even if our dinner table spread did not. As we look ahead to 2016 we have set a resolution for more diversity in our slate of suggested reading. With all due respect to The New York Times, we are going to make more of an effort to share articles from other publications in the coming months.

Stuart Elliott Revives "20 Questions" -- A Popular Holiday Tradition
One of the best friends of a columnist, apart from an elastic deadline, is the perennial feature, and I was known for one during my more than two decades writing for my previous employer. It was called "20 Questions," a column that would run before or after major holidays. Since we're about to celebrate Thanksgiving I thought it would be fun to revive it for my MediaVillage audience.

Pepsi on “Empire”: Coolest. Sponsor. Integration. Ever.
Call it the wave of the future, or a blast from the past. Pepsi’s sponsorship of Fox’s hit primetime serial “Empire” became virtually DVR-proof on this week’s episode while also evoking that long-ago era of television when advertisers were integral to the presentation and content of programming.

Office Smackdown! Baby Boomers vs. Millennials and Vice Versa
Have you noticed a difference (or ten) between Baby Boomers and Millennials in the workplace (and everyplace else, for that matter)? Especially the younger end of the former and the older segment of the latter? Of course you have -- and you aren't the only one.

SMI: Television Roars Back to Life; Digital Questionable?
Fresh off the back of soft results for many media owners in the third quarter of this year, the start of the new broadcast year has delivered some very heartening news for the television industry. Strong ad sales results for both the broadcast and cable sector helped the market to its best result of the year, with the total market up 15% compared to the same period last year.

DPAA: Audience Targeting -- Are You Missing the Mark?
With years of media fragmentation and increasing demands for better ROI, audience targeting has never been more valuable to marketers than it is today. The value for the marketers employing it, of course, includes better measurement and message delivery – and for those who fail to take advantage, smaller budgets or shorter careers.

Ten Expert Practices for Optimizing Team Performance
Visionary leaders are agents of change. Highly observant and great at reading situations, these managers know how to motivate teams to achieve new goals in the pursuit of excellence.

Net Neutrality Work-Arounds; Cutting Cords, Any Cords!
So you’ve got a MVPD subscription -- whether cable, satellite or telco -- plus broadband access and you’d like to watch video on some device or another … but you don’t know what exactly you’d like to watch and you don’t really feel like surfing 7,842 channels and web sites to find out what’s on and/or available. What do you do? Panic? Hope whatever MVPD or broadband provider you have gets smart enough to produce a guide that actually, uh, guides? Well, there are already a few gleams in the gloom out there.

NNN: When a Crisis Hits, Smart Marketers Like VW Know Where to Turn
Yesterday, Volkswagen began a print campaign in 13 newspapers across America. The purpose: To regain the trust of their customers following news of their emission issues. In the ad, CEO Michael Horn extends his apology and a special offer to those affected. Specifically, customers who qualify will be given a $500 prepaid Visa Card along with a $500 dealership card. This is the first official, public gesture that the company has made to address the consumer crisis and here at the Newspaper National Network we were honored to work with them in executing the initiative.

ABC Sales President Geri Wang on Media, Measurement and Mentoring
Geri Wang started as a physical therapy major in college but later changed to communications. Upon graduation she landed her first job working for Helen Johnston at Grey Advertising as a media research analyst. From there Geri was recruited by ABC, where she excelled. She is currently President of Sales, leading a team of nearly 300, and she is responsible for advertising sales and integrated marketing across the entire ABC portfolio including ABC Primetime, Daytime, News, Late-Night and Digital; the Disney/ABC Domestic Television Syndication Group; Fusion, and ABC Sales Development.

Unlike Certain Ads, This Column is Viewable
It seems that most weeks bring yet another jaw-dropping story from the wacky world of digital advertising. We’ve had bots, fraud, trading desks buying inventory from themselves and a host of other wonders. Last week though brought an excellent example of the genre, for which I’m grateful to Linda Holliday, the CEO of CITIA.com who brought it to my attention.

Driverless Cars and the New Automobile Era
We are now about 130 years into the automobile era. Starting with Karl Benz’s patent in the 1880s the automobile quickly became widespread with Henry Ford’s model of mass production scaling up the market 100 years ago.

MediaBizBuzz: Fox, Univision, Turner Broadcasting, Spotify and More
A roundup of the week's key news from MediaVillage member companies and trends from the wider media industry. This week, networks hit by fantasy sports woes, Fox gets creative with branding, and both Edward Snowden and "South Park" join the ad blocking debate.

Gender News Weekly: Barbie is for Boys, Too
"Inspired by Jack Myers’ upcoming book “The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century,” this is a weekly blog series focused on gender equality, gender politics and the shift in gender norms in business and culture. Read on for this week’s news roundup."

Mindshare on Movember: Your Beard Has Good Intentions
This week on Mindshare’s Culture Vulture Live: Mike Yablonski talks about Movember -- that time of year when men let their facial hair grow out for a good cause.

Click Here for Membership Information