We have come a long way from the 2008 Oxford English Word of the year “credit crunch” and last year’s “omni-shambles”. While “selfie” was crowned the 2013 winner yesterday, “showrooming” was a top contender.
This represents changing consumer behaviour and the role of technology in our retail experience.
Showrooming is a new shopping behaviour. 2013 is the year where a more confident, connected consumer is placing him or herself at the heart of the retail machine. People who may once have been considered “window shoppers” are now, armed with their smart phone, making the journey to the stores to look at goods while researching best prices online. Some retailers might view this as a problem, but it’s not something to fear.
Having confident consumers empowered by information on price and availability will require a re-engineering of some retail businesses. But an empowered, confident consumer operating across all retail channels is a better problem to have than a credit crunch. For retailers, this means showrooming your products your way, using the best available science to build your business in a confident way.A Mobile Social Connected Experience
The selfie “trend” signals the strength of social media and technology in society and its mainstream prevalence.
2013 is the year that worldwide sales of smartphones exceeded those of regular phones. As of July 18, 2013, 90 percent of global handset sales are attributed to the purchase of Android and iPhone smartphones.
Taking selfies and showrooming are now entirely mainstream activities. According to a new eMarketer report, “Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates,” nearly one in four people worldwide will use social networks in 2013. The number of social network users around the world will rise from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion this year, an 18% increase. By 2017, the global social network audience will total 2.55 billion.
So what do retailers need to know about showrooming?
1. Enable and provide Commerce Anywhere
You need a digitally integrated marketing and delivery strategy. Once a consumer is engaged in showrooming they are engaged with your channel and you can only delight them. Innovations like click and collect are becoming standard – the next phase will be about delivering Commerce Anywhere, supporting every permutation of a customer journey, in real time.
2. Focus on cross channel availability
It is right to focus on price when your customer is focused on price. However, availability is just as important when it comes to showrooming. Offering reliable inventory availability across multi-channels in real time is something few retailers can offer yet because it challenges the integration of the channels and the systems. To benefit from showrooming you need to be opening up accurate inventory information to the shopper 24/7. This is something you need to get right as no customer will forgive an “omni shambles”. If you say an item is available now – it needs to be available for the customer now.
3. Assume every individual shopper carries their individual internet in their pocket
Your customer wants as much information about the product as is available. Jumping onto a mobile devices is reassuring, when we want to see my internet, my social media streams, my personalised experience. Once a customer is engaged across channels you can be strengthening their decision making using powerful science. We help people to build consumer decision trees, capitalise on search data and get the right product placement for the individual.
4. Differentiate the offer
If your in-store team are as wise as the internet, you can engage with customers in new and differentiated ways.
Today’s consumer needs Commerce Anywhere - you have to embrace the digital channels that are available on mobile devices. Retailers now need to deliver what the modern customer expects through powerful science, systems and social experiences.
Showroom your way, show your customers the best ways to engage with your brand and you will be heading for success.