It’s the retail model used in the automotive industry and for the sale of large product items like furniture and mattresses. The concept involves the use of a showroom where you can see and touch the merchandise before you select the items you want to buy and have them delivered to your house.
Yet, due to the rapid rise in M-commerce, increasingly consumers are adopting this showroom approach to buy all types of merchandise in bricks and mortar stores. Consumers come in-store to see, touch and feel the quality of the products. They then go online to compare prices, read customer reviews, and to see what competitor products are out there before making a final decision to buy.
Although 21% of all shoppers shop from their mobile, only 6% are “exploiters” where they have already planned to buy something online and they are looking for the cheapest option. Surprisingly, it is not just the millennial generation who use their mobile phones for shopping, with over 74% of mobile shoppers being over the age of 29. Customers are taking advantage of readily available information, and they are using traditional stores as showrooms rather than retail outlets. Although the concept has been around for a while, the extended use indicates a progression of the buying process and it may just be the next logical step for retailers.
Much has been written about online versus offline and the need for retailers and brands to evolve. Retail is becoming less about the transaction and more about education and awareness. Showrooming could have significant benefits. It will reduce the cost and size of bricks and mortar stores while it allows to online retailers the access to consumers. Online retailers who have experimented with launching a showroom type store have increased sales by up to 8%, while simultaneously increasing brand awareness and trust.
Embracing showrooming can be a real differentiator, creating rich experiences guided by expert advisors on the shop floor who are able to effectively chaperon and educate consumers on the features and benefits of the products, thus creating a more compelling and personal customer experience. Brands who understand the value of their products being visible, touched and felt buy the customer will embrace this approach.
Both retail and brands need to adapt to the changes consumers make that shape the multifaceted omni-channel purchasing decision process. The solution will be a unique collaboration between both brands and retailers who are able to look beyond their typical roles to see how they can work together to create a seamless and engaging customer journey, regardless of the channel through which they choose to buy.
Check out our article on consumers shopping preferences – the truth is that there is work to be done to merge both in-store and online shopping. Happy Shopping!