Three Ways Technology Can Turn Showrooming Into an Advantage

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Three Ways Technology Can Turn Showrooming Into an Advantage

By David Trice - 05/02/2016
The retail world is quickly waking up to the reality that digital browsing is having a huge effect on in-store purchasing. According to a recent study by Deloitte, “digital interactions are expected to influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores by the end of 2015, or $2.2 trillion.” And, consumers who use digital while they shop in-store convert at a 20 percent higher rate compared to those who do not use digital as part of the shopping process.

The bottom line here is that retailers should not be afraid of showrooming. Just because a customer whips out a smartphone and starts searching away doesn’t mean they aren’t going to buy from you. In fact, the opposite may be true -- these digital shoppers may turn out to be your best customers.
 
With the right technology, a business can do more than just minimize the impact of showrooming, it can turn showrooming into an advantage. Mobile in-store analytics enable companies to view the online activity of shoppers in their stores.
 
Here are three reasons why retailers shouldn’t shy away from using technologies to complement the brick-and-mortar shopping experience:
 
1. Ability to Personalize the Shopping Experience
Deloitte’s study tells us that nearly 8 in 10 consumers surveyed interact with brands or products before arriving at the store. Since most customers have already been checking out the products online, companies today have the ability to understand why a customer is in a store as soon as he or she crosses the store threshold. By allowing customers’ to latch onto the store’s wifi the moment they enter a store, businesses can completely personalize the shopping experience for each, individual customer. So, if a customer abandons a shopping cart online and enters a store days later, she can be greeted with a personalized experience that enables her to re-engage.  
 
As the customer shops, the company is able to fully attribute the visit with location and context captured from geo-fenced areas in the store along with other in-store touchpoints, and marry it with the customer’s prior digital journey.  This empowers the company associates understand her behavior in order to help steer her to the products of her choice. By truly knowing a customer, greeting him or her by name, and understanding why he or she walked into the store, companies are in the best possible position to offer exemplary customer service.
 
2. Opportunity to Data Mine
Another advantage to encouraging smartphone use in stores is the ability to mine a rich array of information and better understand consumer behavior. Insights can be gained into the types of product websites most browsed by customers, the kinds of product names frequently searched by them, and the social media outlets with which they most engage. Armed with this information, companies can make changes in pricing, merchandising, and inventory levels to stay ultra-competitive.

3. Engage Shoppers’ Opinions
Shoppers are already on their mobile phone when in-store, why not take advantage of it? Research shows that 23% of shoppers already post updates to a social media service while in-store, while 19% have checked in with a location-based service like Foursquare. Why not ask customers to like the business’ Facebook page, take a photo with products and tag them with branded hashtags on Instagram, or share their purchases on Twitter? This behavior could be incentivized through contests, giveaways, coupons, and other creative promotional campaigns.
 
By truly bridging the online shopping experience with the physical shopping experience, companies will be able to finally bridge the digital divide and offer consumers truly personalized, magical shopping experiences, which will increase in-store conversions and help improve the overall customer experience for both digital and physical sales channels.
David Trice is co-founder and CEO of ENGAGE.cx, the leading experience-driven CRM for enterprise. Prior to launching ENGAGE.cx Trice was VP of CRM at Oracle, where he led the launch of Oracle’s Fusion CRM.