As online shopping increases in popularity, many traditional brick-and-mortar stores have suffered and, in some cases, disappeared. The most successful retailers, however, have learned how to turn the online marketplace to their advantage. This evolution in purchasing behavior has given rise to two distinct types of shoppers—showroomers and webroomers. In order to fully engage them both, it’s essential to use an omnichannel strategy that will effectively reach them where they are in the virtual and real worlds.
Showroomers are consumers who browse products at physical stores, then price-shop and purchase online—getting the best deal available. Webroomers research products online and then visit stores to make their purchases. According to a Harris poll, 69% of people webroom while 46% showroom.
Shoppers webroom for several reasons. They don’t want to pay for shipping, they don’t want to wait for delivery or they want to see and feel the products before they purchase. The ease of returns and the opportunity to interact with knowledgeable salespeople are additional reasons shoppers may prefer making their purchases in-store.
While showrooming will continue to factor prominently in the world of retail and online shopping, the escalating popularity of webrooming is creating many sales tactics you’ve probably noticed if you’re an online shopper. For example, more online retailers are providing the capability to not only research a product, but find out if it’s in stock at a local store. Websites may go so far as to tell the consumer the aisle number where the product can be found. Many retailers also offer free shipping to its closest store if the product isn’t in stock. And if a product is in stock, stores may provide the convenience of completing the purchase transaction online and picking up the product at a designated location in the store—saving time searching for it in the aisles. Some even allow you to park in designated areas, where your purchases are brought to you without ever leaving your car.
So how can retailers best appeal to both showroomers and webroomers? The answer is not a single solution, but an omnichannel retailing approach that seamlessly blends the online, mobile and in-store shopping experience. Omnichannel strategies can help retailers direct business where they need it most. If they want to drive consumers to their physical stores, they can deliver coupons during their online shopping sessions that are redeemable only in stores. Innovative retailers can also enhance the in-store shopping experience by incorporating features shoppers find online, such as product ratings and reviews.
And when it comes to showrooming, if a retailer doesn’t want to lose a sale after a consumer goes online to compare prices elsewhere, they can offer a price match, securing the sale then and there. Many stores also offer free Wi-Fi, which allows consumers to do their online price comparisons while still in the store, giving the retailer an opportunity to match prices before they walk out the door.
Whether consumers are showrooming or webrooming, seasoned retailers are making the shopping experience increasingly more convenient by using omnichannel strategies. It’s all about meeting customers’ preferences in store, online and mobile.