Showrooming has become one of the biggest problems for traditional retailers and all those companies without a presence in the digital world. However, in recent years there has been the opposite effect, reverse showrooming, a growing trend that is allowing local retailers to compete with giants such as Amazon, eBay or AliExpress.
According to a Retail Perceptions study, almost 9 out of 10 consumers (88%) compare online prices between different stores before making a purchasing decision. A definition of reverse showrooming could be: customers who go to a physical business to purchase products and services they have met on the Internet.
Once the meaning of reverse showrooming has been clarified, it is worth going deeper into the different techniques to promote it and face up to online competitors:
Improve the physical shopping experience
Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Part of the success of Ikea, Lego and other corporate giants with thousands of physical branches is based on an excellent shopping experience. The passion of the Swedish multinational created by Ingvar Kamprad to offer a unique experience has led her to allow Japanese consumers to sleep it off in their stores. Going to the physical branch of a brand should be an adventure in itself, regardless of whether or not conversions are made on each visit.
No more queues
Another key to promoting reverse showrooming is to reduce some of the major disadvantages of physical store shopping, such as queues at ATMs. Although this type of waiting is common and customers are familiar with it, there are not a few who decide to buy online from the competitor to avoid them. Therefore, we recommend you to follow the example of the Apple Store branches, where each sales staff can process customer purchases on the spot, without waiting.
Personalized customer service is key
For the best companies, selling is only the beginning, because after-sales service is the secret of the loyalty of brands such as Apple, IBM or 3M. The best way to prevent consumers from turning to online competition is to offer them added value in customer service, which of course should be as personalized as possible.
In Robert H. Waterman and Tom Peters’ best-seller ‘In search of excellence’, it is stated that the training of IBM sales representatives lasts for 15 months, since for this brand the closing of a sale is not the end, it is the beginning. As a result, your marketing teams need solid training to solve problems and meet the needs of your customers.
Betting on QR codes
Another strategy for bridging the online store and the physical branch of a brand is to use QR codes. Promoting instant coupons for those who buy in your store with these codes will encourage customers to bother to travel to the physical business. The possibilities of QR codes are unlimited, and contrary to general opinion, they were created by and for brands (specifically, by Denso Wave in 1994).
Surprise with customer loyalty programmes
As we have been warning, one of the big problems of showrooming for traditional businesses is the leakage of customers to the competition: the consumer discovers a product in his physical store, but performs the conversion through an online competitor, such as Amazon. To improve reverse showrooming, a strong loyalty program is vital.
Whatever a brand’s strategy to build consumer loyalty, the secret lies in the reward. Similar to the way listed companies reward their investors through dividends, brands must do the same with their loyal customers – value must be offered beyond the product to generate a strong commitment between consumers and brands!
Invest in online marketing
Although traditional marketing channels cannot be said to be dead, statistics show that 43% of the world’s population has an internet connection and 25% use social networks. Consequently, the best way to connect with new generations is to use advertising forms adapted to the digital sphere: Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, PPC ads, etc. In this way, retailers will be able to compete on an equal footing against their online competitors.
With the help of these practices, promoting reverse showrooming for the benefit of your physical business should be easy. Even if you don’t have an offline store but plan to open a physical branch, these recommendations will help you improve your offline sales.
Image credit : Tomislav Škrljac