How Omni-channel is transforming showrooming
Friday, July 27, 2018

How Omni-Channel is Transforming Showrooming

About a decade ago, if retailers were asked to share a scary story, the tale would certainly involve showrooming. A classic tale of customers in store, interacting with products, and speaking to employees. The cruel and twisted ending was that the customer would not purchase the product at the store. They would instead, return home, scour the internet and find the best price. You can still find “The Tale of the Showroom Shudder” told in certain circles.

For the most part, this story has evolved. Showrooming is no longer something feared. Modern retailers embrace showrooming as part of their omni-channel retail strategy. Encouraging customers to visit brick-and-mortar locations, then having a robust ecommerce site to complete the purchase. In this way, both the needs of the customer and the retailer can be met.Over 55% of consumers visit stores before buying. This is crucial in optimizing omni-channel efforts.

“More brands plan to open stores versus close them this year, which proves that the physical retail store is not doomed as many think it is,” Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Sucharita Kodali said. “Smart retailers understand that the two go hand-in-hand, but customer-obsessed retailers will continue investing in areas like omnichannel to provide customers with the seamless on and offline experiences they expect and now require.”

Optimizing the omnichannel experience is the only way to keep business thriving. Retailers need to cater to both the physical and digital needs of their customers.

Omni-channel retail provides a seamless shopping experience. It helps distinguish a retailer from their competitors with a priority on customer experience regardless of channel. In store, retailers can focus on providing the experience customers still crave. This includes the ability to interact with the products and receive hands-on assistance from knowledgeable employees. Online, customers have access to the full scope of inventory available and can expedite their purchases without line ups.

What is Showrooming?

The traditional definition of showrooming is when a shopper visits a store to check out a product. But unlike the regular purchase, the shopper then buys the product online from home. Many people still prefer seeing and touching the merchandise they buy. However, many shoppers still want to check online for lower prices. As such, local stores essentially become showrooms for online shoppers.

Omni-channel retail has transformed showrooming. Now, retailers and customers have access to a variety of digital solutions to cement the seamless and frictionless shopping wanted today. Customers can now use mobile and in-store touchpoints to complete their purchases.


Mobile Purchases

Encouraging customers in-store to use mobile devices lets customers have the best omni-channel retail experience. With mobile technology, showrooming becomes a much more intimate and immediate buying experience for the retailer and the customer.

48% of retailers surveyed by Forrester in 2017, realize the use of mobile has a significant positive result on their business. Additionally, 45% believe they have been able to transform their overall digital experience thanks to mobile. Meanwhile, 34% have used mobile to transform their business overall.


Customers consistently confirm the value they find in brick-and-mortar. When showrooming, customers must recognize the ability to be able to buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS). When a retailer understands the value of all stages of the customer journey, it creates a deeper level of brand trust.

Ship-direct-to-home (or other location)

Showrooming enables the customer's ability to interact with products in order to make the optimum buying decision.The value of showrooming is in the customer’s ability to interact with products. It lets them make the feel comfortable about their buying decision. With the ability to touch and feel the product(s), make the purchase (whether it be in-store, on mobile or from another device), and have the item(s) ship to a destination of choice, the customer is in power throughout the journey. And if there is one thing that retailers know for sure these days, it’s that the shopper is the hero of every retail story.

Brick-and-mortar locations are an essential part of omni-channel retail. According to Census data analyzing retail sales from Q1 of 2018, approximately 92% of sales still occur in physical stores. With the help of an order management system, retailers can write their own showrooming story today. Don’t worry, it will still pack in all the drama but with a much happier ending.


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