Research from IBM reveals that over 50% of online purchases came from showroom customers. While brands like Target and Best Buy are combating the showrooming trend through omni-channel retailing and price-matching, companies like Warby Parker, which sells eyeglasses online and uses physical stores for product sampling, have gained industry-wide recognition for successfully using showrooming to increase sales and strengthen branding. For retailers that are also embracing the showrooming trend, good for you—but there are 3 mistakes that could be hurting your sales.
Are you making any of these showrooming mistakes?
1. Neglecting Impulse Purchases
While showrooming focuses more on experiential marketing instead of the instant gratification of an in-store purchase, some retailers are unknowingly losing potential sales from impulse purchases. Ikea does a great job of combining showrooming with impulse purchase opportunities through their furnished showrooms and conveniently located accessories, which are often found in bins or shelves nearby.
Ikea showrooms move customers down the purchase continuum by helping them visualize how products would look or work in a completed room or space. The size of Ikea stores—which ranges from 200,000 to over 400,000 sq ft—accommodates both showrooming and accessory items, making this combination an ideal solution for large retailers seeking to increase sales, encourage impulse purchases, and cross-sell complimentary products. For retailers with a smaller square footage, take advantage of the more intimate space: engage customers to buy a few essential accessory items instead of offering a wide selection that may confuse or stall purchasing decisions.
2. Trying To Change Customer Behaviour
In a joint study conducted by GroupM and Catalyst, showroom customers are concerned almost exclusively about price, and will use their mobile devices in-store to check for cheaper alternatives online. While sales associates can intervene while customers are price checking, retailers should focus less on trying to change customer behaviour and more on superior product differentiation. For example, Restoration Hardware’s product differentiation is their product personalization, which offers customers the option of customizing their own furniture and ordering it on the spot, either in-store or online.
This personalized experience builds brand loyalty using services not often found among other showrooms in the market. The experience also decreases price sensitivity through increased customer engagement: a study by People Metrics determined that retailers with higher customer engagement experience an annual revenue growth of 13% above the industry average—making it easier for retailers to sustain competitive positioning and more difficult for competitors to lure customers away.
3. Overlooking Customer Service
Showrooms offer customers the option of ordering products in-store, but only quality customer service guarantees that they will. Our experiences working with retailers have shown us that training staff to put customer service first is critical to generating sales, but surprisingly this practice is often neglected. Retailers must go the extra mile by tailoring shopping experiences around their customers, either by offering in-store only services or personalizing the shopping experience on an individual level.
For example, a showroom customer browsing decorations for an event might purchase the item through the retailer’s online store, but they might neglect to ask when they should order for the product to arrive on time. The sales associate should be trained to recognize this possibility and step in to prevent a potentially negative shopping experience. At the end of the day, it is the retailer’s responsibility to give customers confidence in their purchase decision by providing an exceptional showroom experience.