Retailers spend a lot of money to keep their stores on the High Street, but many are now exploring new ways to retain their relevance in an era of online shopping.
The current scourge of the High Street retailer is ‘showrooming’. This is when customers come into a store, look at a product, test it out in store, and even take time to ask staff questions. Then they walk away and order the product from the cheapest online store.
Of course, this is all legal and normal – we have all done it. Nobody is forced to make a purchase just because they picked up an item and had a close look, but retail chains cannot just operate as showrooms without sales.
There are different reactions from retailers. Some are trying to fight the trend, by insisting on no smart phone us in store and some are going all out to help people use their phones by offering free wifi and charging points. It all depends on the strategy of the retailer and their confidence in how they differ from the market.
Many retailers are focusing on ways of ensuring that they do make the sale. Price match guarantees, the use of a reassuring trustworthy brand, and new purchasing methods such as click-and-collect are all being deployed to try converting the interest of a potential customer into an actual sale.
Even with online shopping now being so convenient and reliable, there is still enormous value in getting customers into the store. Over 30% of customers who bought online and arranged to collect the product in-store will buy something else when they visit – a very good reason to encourage customers to pay the store a visit!
Showrooming cannot be avoided – every customer now has a computer in their pocket. They can run a price comparison, check your competition, and even make a purchase from a competitor whilst in your store. But by combining the way your online offering works and supports the store network, you can offer the customer more than just a low price – great service, warranties, an easy returns policy, and great in-store advice will all encourage customer loyalty.
Photo by Sanctu licensed under Creative Commons