Recently ShopperTrak reported that during the post-Black Friday week, retail foot traffic increased 3.7% over last year. Larger chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Meijer have done an excellent job this holiday season combining their brick-and-mortar stores, online, and mobile channels into a seamless customer shopping experience. Other retailers with weak multi-channel communications and commerce strategies are experiencing a bit of coal in their stocking. These channel laggards are susceptible to being out-marketed and exposed to increased revenue loss due to consumer shopping behaviors such as showrooming.
This rising trend of consumers viewing merchandise at a brick-and-mortar location, making cost comparisons on their Smartphones and tablets in store, and then going online to finish the purchase is estimated to influence up to $1.7 billion in 2012 holiday retail sales. One-in-five consumers are now showrooming, according to new research by Aprimo/Teradata and Forrester Research. This trend can’t be ignored, as 96% surveyed said they plan to use their smartphone to research prices the same way or more in the future. Here are three ways retailers can help capture prospective customers who are conducting product research, convert serious lookers into buyers, and win the showrooming challenge.
- Harness the Power of Multi-Channel: Retailers should leverage the power of the mobile phone and tablets through a multi-channel strategy. A customer browsing at a brick-and-mortar location would suggest that they are conducting in-person research, but because they are likely carrying their smartphones, the opportunity for showrooming is presented. An IAM survey found that 73% of consumers said they have used their mobile phones in a store. Mobile websites make it easy for consumers to compare against your competitor – while in your store! Take this opportunity to send location-based messages via text, email, or push notifications to their mobile phones. Retailers commonly use QR codes or text for info codes to drive traffic for more information to a mobile site they control. Consumer adoption of QR codes has pushed past the 60% level – transforming QR codes from a one-time fad into a viable solution that marketers should integrate into their mobile strategies.
- Don’t Try to Fight Showrooming: A number of retailers have recently launched their own mobile apps to create incentives for in-store browsing and subsequent purchases. The argument can be made that apps make a shopper’s experience richer, but showroomers are savvy consumers and apps can be skeptically viewed as an attempt to push branded content and products as consumers seek more complete and unbiased information. Mobile websites can make comparisons easier. What better way to get that special holiday feeling than to have consumers handle a product in your competitor’s store and buy it via their Smartphones from your mobile website. The sweet smell of victory! If you don’t have this particular strategy in place today — then it’s happening to you as you read this.
- Get Creative with “Point-of-Decision” Mobile Marketing Tactics: If a customer is comparing prices, make it plainly obvious via both the in-store and online channels that you will meet a competitor’s price. If price match does not provide enough differentiation, then go beyond your competitors by improving your customers’ experience with some added value options like a free 12-month warranty, no hassle 90-day return policy, or even better, some loyalty recognition for those retailers that offer such a program. This may tip the balance in your favor. How about offering the customer a special promotion when they enter the store for a discount on that extended warranty, or a cross-sell offer based on previous behavior? It’s too late this year if you have undervalued the power of a mobile device in a consumer’s hand, but planning for 2013 is in full swing, so implement or upgrade your existing mobile presence or sales will continue to walk out the door.
Don’t let showrooming put a damper on your holiday season. To learn more mobile marketing strategies to drive in-store, online and mobile sales this holiday season, download our Mobile Marketing Best Practices.