According to Wikipedia:
There is absolutely nothing wrong with showrooming if you make yourself aware of how it affects your particular business, and can form a strategy around bringing it into your buyer’s journey as opposed to discouraging it completely or, worse yet, ignoring it completely. One way or another, consumers are relying more and more on online channels to make informed purchases. Reading reviews and watching YouTube videos of product comparisons may ultimately lead to the consumer walking into your store to try the product themselves now that they are aware of their options and what product they would like to try. You can’t prevent showrooming, but there are steps you can take to prevent the masses from trying your product with no intention to buy from you. At the very least, you want them to buy from your business’ e-commerce platform if not directly in-store.
In the beauty industry particularly, sales assistants spend countless hours with customers helping them to match their colour or find cosmetics to re-create various looks. With so many testers out on display, many will walk into a beauty store and test everything. Then with the names of the brand and range in mind, they can hunt for it cheaper online. After having used your products and wasted your sales assistants’ time. Not forgetting that the slow inventory turnover causes wear and tear damage of products being handled in-store due to less frequently buying the product on display and instead of buying it online.
Consumers still enjoy the experience of trying a product out for themselves; seeing it in person and physically touching it, prior to buying. And while some are happy to purchase the product then and there if they’re happy with it, many others are quite happy to be patient and order it online for cheaper. Especially with high-ticket items, such as brand name technology and clothing. Local stores then become a showroom for online shoppers, with little benefit to the store’s business itself.
In contrast, there is also such a thing as “webrooming”; the act of researching the product online before making the final decision and purchase at the store. Lower priced items tend to attract more webrooming than showrooming, with so many YouTubers, bloggers, and review sites available for researching products before you buy locally. Whereas higher-ticket items, where there tends to be wider pricing variation, are more likely to be showroomed.
Retail businesses who sell both online and offline are certainly at the advantage and can benefit from omni-channel marketing. It’s time to stop running your online and offline strategies parallel to each other and combine them in a way that maximises your potential revenue by creating a seamless customer experience between each platform. There are ways to drive online customers into your physical store, and vice versa.
You can promote in-store flash sales online via your website or your social media platforms, incentivising both online and offline sales cross-platform. Ensure that your sales assistants are both friendly and knowledgeable to enhance the in-store customer experience.
Maybe even consider providing free in-store wi-fi that allows customers easy internet access to read reviews online of the products in front of them. One step further: businesses could display tablets in-store for customers to browse real first and third-party reviews with the product in front of them so that they can research at your business premises rather than at home.
Consumers certainly do have more choice than they ever have before, so it is important to ensure that you come across as the best choice. By offering price matching against other official suppliers, you can effectively steal sales from your online competitors. Promote your price matching in-store with retail display products stating that you can match any online competitor’s price, listing other benefits, such as the customer being able to walk home today with the product they want and not having to wait for delivery. Contrarily, should the customer rather than the product delivered (for whatever reason), you can arrange home delivery from the store. This offers all the convenience of being able to pay at the store after having just tried the item, without needing to carry it out with them when they leave.
It’s all about giving your customer the freedom of choice.