If you are a student of retail you are well aware of the phenomenon called ‘showrooming’. According to a study by Pew 52% of shoppers used their smartphone to perform research while standing in retail stores – more than 19% convert their offline/in-store purchase to an online retailer. We believe retailers should not fear showrooming – instead they should embrace it sooner than later.
The ShopSavvy team works with almost every major brick and mortar retailer as well as lots of online retailers – more than 40,000 in total. We began hearing concerns about ‘showrooming’ more than two years ago. In fact, as recently as last week I was in London speaking at the Rutberg Summit and half of the audience questions were about the topic of showrooming. Some of the other panelists recommended various ‘answers’ to the phenomenon including:
- offering products not found online – i.e. custom UPCs
- disconnect WiFi and block cell signals
- ban the use of cameras (i.e. the barcode scanner uses the camera)
When we talk to retailers we try to help them understand that showrooming might be a great way to grow their own business. First, we begin by explaining that at any given moment MORE shoppers are in their competitors stores than in their own retail locations. Here are some interesting figures:
- Best Buy has 1,099 out of 43,810 electronic retail locations
- Barnes & Noble has 691 out of 32,050 book store locations
- Macy’s has 805 out of 36,140 department store locations
- Safeway has 1,725 out of 253,572 grocery store locations
What if a retailer like Best Buy could start a conversation with the shoppers in the 43,810 locations they don’t own? ShopSavvy can provide a set of rails that enable a retailer to start a conversation with a consumer at the point of purchase both inside and outside of their own retail store locations.
Once retailers began realizing that showrooming wasn’t just a game to be played by Amazon they began looking for solutions. With more than 40,000,000 downloads, ShopSavvy is a great way to connect with shoppers who are VERY deep in the purchase funnel – we know which store they are in and what product they are about to purchase. Last year we launched ShopSavvy Wallet that enabled one-slide purchases from shoppers – they simply scan a product and without leaving the app they can pay for the item with a simple swipe of their finger. We have built wallet adapters with leading brick and mortar retailers like Barnes & Nobel, Walmart, Target, Toys ‘R’ Us, RadioShack, Dick’s Sporting Goods, GNC, Macy’s, JCPenny, Office Depot, Lowe’s, OfficeMax and Nordstrom – a total of 64 retailers to date. The feature allows each to leverage the showrooms of their competitors.
Some retailers play fair – just displaying their pricing in our app and offering a quick and easy way to convert a purchase from offline to online. Other retailers leverage information provided by ShopSavvy – capturing the business of the sort of shoppers who are the most profitable. Barnes & Nobel is a perfect example of a retailer who is skillfully leveraging ShopSavvy.
Barnes & Nobel sells books at two very different price points. In their stores they sell books at a 10% discount to members. On their website they sell books at prices that are often less than Amazon’s prices (our data shows that Amazon only has the best price about 6% of the time, meaning that 94% of the time other retailers offer a better deal). Whenever shoppers scan the barcodes of books in any one of the 32,050 bookstores not own by Barnes & Nobel they see the online price which is almost always significantly less than the price offered by the retailer whose store they are standing in. Our data shows that shoppers first scan is almost always going to be purchased from their current location – the second and third scan is VERY vulnerable to capture. The most interesting bit of data we uncovered was that when B&N did convert the sale, 30% of the converted shoppers showed up in Barnes & Nobel and scanned a product within 30 days. B&N was able to convince the consumer to show up in their store to buy books instead of the original bookseller’s store.
Retailers who leverage an omni-channel approach as well as applications like ShopSavvy can reach far more shoppers than their own retail locations can alone. Start a conversation where the consumer is, not where you wish he was.