Showrooming is a shopping behaviour being embraced by a growing percentage of bike consumers and bike store retailers are taking different approaches when dealing with this type of competition. Showrooming is the name given to a shopping behaviour whereby a customer visits a store to view a product or design then purchases the item at a cheaper price online. The internet and smartphone technology empowers the consumer to start searching for a product the moment they leave a retail store or even beforehand. We are probably all guilty of this practice but we may not stop to realize how largely our own business is being effected by showrooming and what we can do about it.
There is an increasing number of bike store retailers who are exploring the use of mobile devices to enable their sales staff to get out from behind the counter. It is also a way to connect with the tech savvy younger generation. Many Cyclo retailers have embraced new technology and incorporated iPads or tablets into their sales process. Some retailers are not holding full stock instore of branded products and instead are using an iPad/tablet to show products or designs from their website or the brand website to close a sale. Retailers are also using their iPad/tablet to view their website with the client in store as an inspiration gallery to sell a special order or create a custom new design. The client will feel that you are going the extra mile to locate the perfect item or part for them yet you are connecting through modern technology. And other retailers have simply incorporated an iPad/tablet into the store as a secondary way to process sales and improve productivity.
“Showrooming is a major issue in our store, especially with brand name parts, and with a few of our ranges it has became chronic” says one Cyclo Retailer in Sydney. “We now use a small tablet more like a smartphone than an iPad, and apart from the occasional complaint that our staff are always on their phone, I found it makes the interaction between the customer and salesperson more intimate. The added time away from the till means more opportunity to enhance instore customer service”.
The retailer also adds that since smart phones/iPads are so intertwined in our lives the customer rarely ever notices that their purchase is being processed in front of them. The added bonus of that is it simply improves productivity and interaction without noticeable change in the way a sale is performed.
A Cyclo retailer in South Australia mainly uses the iPad to process sales during busy periods and particularly at Christmas time. The retailer has experienced happier clients during these busy periods due to the fast processing of sales. Cyclo would also recommend offering to email the receipt to the client for those clients who are clearly in a hurry. You can simply print the original receipt and offer to post the old fashioned way once the client leaves the store.
“Another reason to use an iPad/tablet with your website during the sales process would be to collect the client’s email address and join the client to your database while they are in front of you” quotes Sonia Giggins from DSI. “Staff can enter client details incorrectly and I see this happening a lot or they are not asking for a client’s email at all. And the problem is that most database programs are now using a double opt in method for customers to join a mail list. By asking the client to enter their details on the iPad, you have joined the client to your mail list”.
Ideas to reduce the impact of showrooming:
Update your website and technology
If you haven’t upgraded recently to a mobile-enabled version then you are potentially missing out on ways to interact with potential customers. Customers will take the opportunity to research your products up to the moment they walk through your door. Keep your website looking fresh with up to date designs and consistent messages about your brand.
Facebook and Instagram are just two examples of ways to interact socially on a weekly basis with your clients for new products and designs and keep them interested in your brand. Professional photography can be expensive yet taking candid shots of new ranges and posting in a unique way may give you a stand out result with consumers. Some retailers have experienced better results from candid shots than professional images.
Be passionate about your brand, products and range. The majority of customers visit your store have chosen the instore experience for a reason, share in their excitement and they will be impressed by your service. Always contact your customers when you say you will. And most importantly take the time to build a strong connection by keeping in touch and remembering important details about your customer. Cyclo has several sections in the customer file area to make notes and fill in the important information.
Introduce a price-matching policy to eliminate showrooming as much as possible. Train your sales team to handle this type of sale and price objection from a customer. Most customers will still want the personal touch as opposed to buying on the internet especially knowing they can have the item right now instead of waiting for a courier to deliver maybe up to a week’s time! Going the extra mile to negotiate a price with a customer builds trust especially for the next purchase. Instead of viewing a price war as a negative, turn it into a positive challenge.
One of the easiest ways to compete against showrooming and even price matching is to offer brands or products that aren’t available anywhere else and therefore cannot be compared. It is your point of difference and by marketing unique brands or products you are offering additional opportunities to build your customer database. Also by offering brands or products that do not discount on their own online website will make it much easier to hold the price within your own retail store and website.
Tip: To start using Cyclo on a mobile device, simply open the browser on the device and go to your Cyclo page. Just as you do on your PC or Mac. For a list of compatible printers, barcode scanners, RFID scanners, integrated credit card processing with the mobile device, click here