Showrooming occurs when customers at a brick and mortar store, after having physically touched, smelled, lifted, handled, and most importantly priced your products in person, go online through their smartphones and comparison shop – most often to Amazon.
It's one of the risks. Showrooming to brick and mortar retailers is akin to stealing.
Whether customers do it in the privacy of a deserted aisle, in front of your best employee or in the parking lot walking back to their car, showrooming is causing a lot of retail executives a lot of worry.
Customers walking into your store no longer are "just looking," they're taking your hard-earned retail reputation, using all the beautiful displays, premium products and employees to cancel out any suspicions they have before they buy online.
To shoppers, it's smart shopping.
To cellular companies it is the reason they can sell the more expensive smartphones.
To Amazon, it's just business.
Once your customers go to Amazon, they're hooked. Cosmetics? Groceries? Gourmet Coffees – even wine? Amazon will let them setup an auto-order for refills.
Once your customers purchase, Amazon does a swell job of showing them related items meaning they have even less reasons to go back to your brick and mortar store.
So how does your store open the door for them to go to Amazon or other online retailers in the first place?
Thirteen Reasons Your Brick & Mortar Store Is Susceptible to Showrooming
- Your merchandise is stacked and displayed like everyone else's. When the merchandise is seen as nothing special, online sites beckon.
- You don't have enough employees. When it's tough to find someone to answer your questions, the customer's smartphone is always-at-the-ready for a quick Amazon price check.
- The employees you have take too much time with one customer. It's great to have technically proficient employees whose passion is knowing every nuance, and who can regale the customer with story after story, but like a restaurant, your selling floor needs to turn customers regularly.
- The employees you have take too little time with customers. Employees who say, "It's over there," or "I'll get someone" might as well say, "Find it yourself." When there's no relationship, there's no loyalty to shop with your brick and mortar store.
- Your employees have no bond to your business. When your employees don't value making the sale as necessary for a profitable business, they are just as likely to let the customer walk.
- Your employees stay clustered around the registers "waiting." When customers feel like they are interrupting an employee clique, they will feel awkward.
- Your shopping experience is unremarkable. If a customer gets the silent treatment and only is talked to at the cash wrap, they don't get a good feeling from their purchase.
- You let customers help themselves with self-service. If you designed the store for customers to feel free to help themselves, they will now feel free to help themselves … with their smartphones.
- You don't respect your customers. When you don't respect the fact customers go out of their way and spend their limited time to get to your brick and mortar store, you treat them with indifference. Indifference costs you sales.
- You think competing with Amazon just means "matching prices." But denying that your real costs are more than Amazon's, you're just digging your debt deeper with every sale.
- You have an owner or stockholder who doesn't want to lose any business.They want you to offer any discount it takes to keep all customers. The best merchants know you have to walk away from unprofitable customers in order to remain profitable.
- Shopper behaviors are changing. Since customers have been conditioned to know there's always a sale somewhere, they will look for it online to keep from paying your price.
- Customers assume everything online is the same as yours. Unless your employee shows the value of the real thing in your store, customers might be misled to buy something online at a lower price that could be counterfeit, damaged or mismatched. If your employees aren't trained to poke holes in online shopping habits, customers may purchase apples when they wanted oranges.
Unless you personally take the initiative to stop showrooming, you'll be a victim of it.
Why? Because Amazon does so well and many brick and mortar stores add no extra value to the shopping experience. It does all just become price.
Customers walking into your brick and mortar store still want the warm feeling they get from shopping, from feeling the products, the ambiance of your store, the warmth of your employees. That can't be had with a computer screen, mobile device or virtual anything.
Customers may be shopping less but when they decide to spend that money they are more sensitve than ever to indifference from the retailer and their employees.
Amazon and other internet sites will continue to grow as stuck brick and mortar retailers refuse to look in the mirror and change.
The chance to make a powerful impression and disarm the smartphone in your customers' pocket is yours but it will take work to mitigate these thirteen reasons why your store is open to being showroomed.
What say you? Please enter in comments below…
I've added a new speech, How Not To Be A Showroom For Amazon that will share the strategies and tactics your association, chain or store needs to compete. Retail Speaker | Retail Sales Presentation | Retail Doctor -
'Look Up' - A spoken word film for an online generation. 'Look Up' is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone. Written, Performed & Directed by Gary Turk.
The qualities of skillful leadership by Jim Rohn
If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself. Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills and opportunities you offer as an owner, as a manager, as a parent. Jim Rohn calls leadership the great challenge of life. What's important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective.
1. Learn to be strong but not rude. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It's not even a good substitute.
2. Learn to be kind but not weak. We must not mistake kindness for weakness. Kindness isn't weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell somebody the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.
3. Learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you've got to walk in front of your group. You've got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover the first sign of trouble.
4. You've got to learn to be humble but not timid. You can't get to the high life by being timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. Humility is almost a God-like word. A sense of awe. A sense of wonder. An awareness of the human soul and spirit. An understanding that there is something unique about the human drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling that we're part of the stars. So humility is a virtue, but timidity is a disease. Timidity is an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem.
5. Be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to win the day. It takes pride to build your ambition. It takes pride in community. It takes pride in a cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming a good leader is being proud without being arrogant. In fact, I believe the worst kind of arrogance is arrogance from ignorance. It's when you don't know that you don't know. Now that kind of arrogance is intolerable. If someone is smart and arrogant, we can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that's just too much to take.
6. Develop humor without folly. That's important for a leader. In leadership, we learn that it's OK to be witty, but not silly. It's OK to be fun, but not foolish.
7. Lastly, deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony. Just accept life like it is. Life is unique. Some people call it tragic, but I'd like to think it's unique. The whole drama of life is unique. It's fascinating. And I've found that the skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. But the fundamental skills of leadership can be adapted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community, and at home.
How to Simplify Your Life in 5 Minutes a Day
April 22, 2014
The situation for many of us is that life is fast and full of opportunity. The complication is we think we have to do everything. The implication of this is that we make a millimeter progress in a million directions. My position is we can make a different choice. We can learn to recognize what is essential and eliminate non essentials. If we do this then we can operate at a higher point of contribution. Below are five simple ways to simplify your life so you can focus on what is most essential.
The Priority Game
When the word priority came into the English language in the 1400s, it was singular. Think for a moment: What did it mean? The answer is the prior or very first thing. What's interesting is it stayed singular for the next 500 years. It wasn't until the 1900s that we came up with the pluralized term and started using the word priorities. But what exactly does the word mean? Can there be multiple very first things?
In the spirit of this, take five minutes to write down the most important six activities for tomorrow. Then cross off the bottom five. Write down your priority on a Post-it note and put it on your computer. Schedule a ninety-minute window to work on that priority - preferably the first thing of the day.
60 Seconds to Clarity
Pause once every hour for one minute to ask, "Is this the most important or valuable thing I could be doing right now?"If the answer is no, simply stop.
Two for the Price of One
Establish a new rule for one day: If you want to add a new activity you need to edit out two existing activities.This simple rule ensures two things. First, you don't add an activity that is less valuable than something you are already doing. Second, it helps to ensure you move toward reducing your overall burden each day.
Hold tightly to this idea if you are considering setting up any regular or repeated commitment and think long and hard about all the things you would have to give up in order to take this new thing on.
The Automated No
Saying no is one of the most socially awkward things for people to do. Perhaps the most socially acceptable way most of us do this is when we are on vacation or know we will be out of the office: "I will be out of the office from X date to Y date. If this is urgent call me on Z."
We can use a similar bounce back when we need to concentrate. In this case the bounce back can read: "I am off the grid from 1-4PM today working on a priority project. If this is urgent call me on X."
There are a growing number of apps and services that do this. Away Find, for example, sends an auto-reply that includes a way to contact you (in an emergency) through a text. There are three advantages: First the person has to decide if it is worth the extra effort, second you only have to respond with a text-message length reply, and third it ensures you can be found just in case something actually is essential.
Think through tomorrow's schedule from the moment you will wake up until you go to bed. Look at each activity. Identify any way you can make it a little easier through preparation. If you are planning to exercise, get your running clothes out so when you wake up in the morning, you won't have to spend time digging through your closet. The idea here is to make doing the essential activity almost easier than not doing it.
I encourage you to experiment with Essentialism. Prototype ways of working. Try out these ideas - and many others. Live by design rather than by default. Use what works. Eliminate the rest.
Story of a bus driver - A Management Lesson
One fine day, a bus driver went to the bus garage, started his bus, and drove off along the route. No problems for the first few stops-a few people got on, a few got off, and things went generally well. At the next stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on. Six feet eight, built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground. He glared at the driver and said, "Big John doesn't need to pay!" and sat down at the back.
Did I mention that the driver was five feet three, thin, and basically meek? Well, he was. Naturally, he didn't argue with Big John, but he wasn't happy about it. The next day the same thing happened-Big John got on again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down. And the next day, and the one after that and so forth.
This grated on the bus driver, who started losing sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him. Finally he could stand it no longer. He signed up for body building courses, karate, judo, and all that good stuff.
By the end of the summer, he had become quite strong; what's more, he felt really good about himself. So on the next Monday, when Big John once Again got on the bus and said, "Big John doesn't pay!," The driver stood up, glared back at the passenger, and screamed, "And why not?" With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, "Big John has a bus pass."
Management Lesson:" Be sure! What is a problem in the first place before working hard to solve one?"