The evolution of shopping in a physical, brick-and-mortar store has gone through some definitive changes in the past few years due to mobile technology. Remember the huge threat called “showrooming”? Showrooming is the practice of shoppers researching products in stores, then purchasing online, often from a different retailer, at a better price. When Amazon Price Check was all the rage about four years ago physical stores were considered “doomed” because of this practice.
Then came new research indicating that showrooming was fading and the majority of consumers are actually far more likely to do their reconnaissance online, and then make a trip to the physical store to purchase. Marketers called this reverse showrooming trend “webrooming”. In a KDM Blog post around this time last year, titled Showrooming Fades as Webrooming Trend Rises, we reported that while showrooming still remained popular among 76% of shoppers, the emerging trend of webrooming represented a larger, growing trend at 88%.
Today, all sorts of surveys and studies indicate that the webrooming trend maintains the edge, but only slightly. A Nielsen survey revealed that 60% of consumers researched products online before making an in-store purchase. Similarly, Deloitte Consulting found that 50% of in-store sales are influenced by webrooming, which illustrates that the online and in-store shopping experience has levelled out. According to Deloitte's Director, Jeff Simpson, "E-commerce and in-store buying have become so intertwined that, in the consumer's mind, they're the same thing…it's almost silly to try to pull them apart anymore."
The consumer shopping landscape is rapidly changing with the adoption of more and more mobile users. The technology gives shoppers the power to control when and where they make a retail purchase, and on what device. It turns out that mobile is not a threat to physical stores, rather, it is a compliment.
Good News for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
While E-commerce does continue to rise, the U.S. Census released in May 2015 indicates that over 90% of purchases are indeed still made in physical stores. The good news is that brick-and-mortar retailers are able to cash in on both showrooming and webrooming concepts by integrating mobile and digital experiences into the in-store shopping experience.
"If you think about the $3 trillion dollars in business that's done annually in retail in the U.S., and you say that digital influence is 50%, then the pure-play (online only) guys are really only looking at 50% of the opportunity," Simpson explained. "The brick-and-mortar folks can go after the full $3 trillion, whereas the pure-play folks can only go after $1.5 trillion."
It’s no wonder that several online only retailers like Warby Parker, Birchbox and Amazon are opening brick-and-mortar store locations so that they can also provide a hands-on shopping experience for consumers.
How Retailers Deliver an Integrated Shopping Experience
Here’s how retail marketers are addressing the integration of online and offline shopping experiences in-stores:
- Using merchandising displays to showcase their most popular researched online products in the store
- Training sales associates to be knowledgeable and engage consumers
- Offering no hassle return policies
- Using POP print materials to cross sell and generate impulse buys
- Offering price matching for consumers that may have found the item for a cheaper price online
- Offering same day in-store pick up for customers that do buy online
- Making products available in-store when inventory is out of stock online
- Offering location specific mobile vouchers and coupons to be redeemed in-store
In another more recent KDM Blog article titled Is iBeacon Technology a Game Changer for Retailers? we focused on the last bullet point above. Many retailers are successfully integrating beacon technology to improve the in-store shopping experience, customer loyalty and drive sales. One of the biggest factors that is driving adoption of iBeacon technology within the retail vertical is that it provides a wealth of information on in-store shopping behaviors, in real-time (not just after the sale at the checkout). We revealed that 73% of shoppers said beacon-triggered content increases their likelihood of buying.
As consumers embrace new technologies and the shopping experience becomes more digitally integrated, brick-and- mortar retailers have the opportunity to capture more sales, regardless of whether their customers are webrooming or showrooming before they purchase. It’s become the new way of simply “shopping”.
KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group supports in-store marketers with turn-key POP solutions that cover every facet of the retail environment. Contact us today to learn how KDM can save you time and money.
Other related KDM Blog articles that you may find interesting:
- Showrooming Fades as Webrooming Trend Rises
- Is iBeacon Technology a Game Changer for Retailers?
- Using Technology to Deliver Personal In-Store Customer Experiences