It’s not easy to be a brick-and-mortar retailer these days — just look at the numbers.
eCommerce has continued its meteoric rise into a serious engine of business. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, eCommerce sales rose once again last year, this time by 15 percent, and now account for more than 14.3 percent of all retail sales in the U.S.
Now, as a result, retailers around the U.S. and around the world are experimenting with and embracing new strategies for getting customers in the door and spending money. Some are working to bring new and innovative tech like augmented reality and cashier-less payment technology to their stores. Others are embracing omnichannel initiatives and looking to introduce new technology to emerging digital channels, including new features like visual search.
But increasingly, many retailers are turning their attention back toward a retail strategy that seemed to fall out of favor more than a decade ago — showrooming. Showrooming, or the practice of consumers examining merchandise in a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store, then buying it online, often at a lower price, was considered something to avoid at all costs. The fear was it would become something that could threaten brick-and-mortar retail’s very existence.
But now, a growing group of merchants is looking to use the practice to their advantage — and with good reason. More than 50 percent of consumers in both the U.S. and U.K. showroom shop, won over by the convenience and low prices.
So how can you use this growing trend to your advantage?
The answer lies in your product information.
Using product information to create a showrooming success
Succeeding with showrooming requires that you have your product information up to par — there’s just no two ways about it.
When consumers showroom shop, they’re often going to get a firsthand look at a product that they might not feel comfortable buying online without seeing in person. This is especially common with products like electronics, clothing, and household items. This way, they’re able to get face-time with the product, then find it online for a price that suits them later on.
Companies can appeal to showroom shoppers and make this a viable revenue stream — if they have the right ingredients in place. However, this requires high-quality product information coupled with equally high-quality digital assets — images, videos, and other forms of media that harken back to the in-store experience and serve as a reminder for customers looking up your products online.
Without this high-quality information, consumers who return home to search using specific terms they remember from their trip to a brick-and-home won’t be able to find your products. If you want to succeed with showrooming efforts, search engines need to be able to find your products with ease. After all, if customers can’t find your products, it won’t matter your they are the best ones out there, at the best possible price.
Of course, simply being able to find your products isn’t enough. Your product information also needs to be accurate, consistent, complete and compelling. If showroom shoppers don’t trust your product information or don’t like the experience you provide, you’ll quickly be finding your customers will make their purchases elsewhere.
PIM handles webrooming too
Showrooming isn’t the only trend retailers need to worry about. Its cousin, webrooming, is also a growing phenomenon among modern shoppers — and perhaps even more popular than showrooming itself.
According to Chain Store Age, nearly three-quarters enjoy webrooming when shopping, often for many of the same products they showroom shop for. So what is webrooming, you ask? It’s the name given to the practice of online browsing and buying in-store. Fortunately, product information can also help here.
Even B2B businesses are embracing webrooming. Home furnishings manufacturer Tarkett, for example, offers a webrooming capability via its website. While customers cannot order directly via the webrooming app, the app does send users to a distributor’s website, where they can make a purchase.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C seller, the same things that win over showroom shopping customers — accurate, correct, consistent, and easy-to-find product information and a top-notch customer experience, coupled with high-quality digital assets that not only show the product but also put it in context in a room and help you create a look.
When it comes to webrooming, customer experience and consistency are more important than ever before. Companies investing in these experiences will need to provide a customer journey that walks your customers right from their online searches to the register with their product in hand.
Turn your showroom efforts into a success with PIM
Make your showrooming efforts shine with PIM! Learn how Akeneo can help give your team the product information and workflow tools to make any showroom a success.