How to win back shoppers who browse in-store and buy online: Part 2

By Marc Hummel

October 1, 2015

Welcome to the final installment of our 2-part series exploring ways retailers can “win back” customers who shop in-store and buy online. (Read part 1.)

Showrooming isn’t the beginning of the end. It’s just one more way the retail experience is evolving. You have a choice: You can either embrace showrooming and capitalize on this new shopping behavior, or embark upon useless counter-measures while your competition eats your lunch.

As we put it earlier this week:

“The idea of showrooming as a major threat to brick-and-mortar retailers seems to be fading. Recent research from PayPal suggests that shoppers in high-value verticals prefer researching online and then buying in the store. Other retailers such as Best Buy and Johnston & Murphy use sophisticated data-onboarding technologies to help bridge the gap between the online and in-store customer experience.
“But retailers have good reason to be concerned, even if it isn’t the apocalyptic ‘end of business as we know it’ concern that permeated the retail world in 2013–2014. According to a recent survey conducted by SecureNet, as many as 72% of brick-and-mortar shoppers regularly use mobile devices to research products in-store. (Another survey put the number at 83% for shoppers of electronics.)”

In that post, we went on to give three ways you can beat showrooming. Today, we’re going to go a little deeper, looking at the most showrooming-resilient industries, how Snapchat can help you beat showrooming, and how to make customers want to buy offline.

Showrooming doesn’t affect all industries equally.

Although showrooming is affecting nearly every product category, it makes sense that some (i.e. cars and furniture) might be disrupted more than others (i.e. clothes and electronics). A recent article from Inc.com broke it down by vertical, including clothing, cosmetics, tools/DIY, education/entertainment, furniture and consumer electronics.

Citing research from PayPal, they found that:

  • For fashion shoppers (clothes, makeup, handbags): Webrooming (research online; buy in-store)
  • Educational products: Browse and buy online
  • Furniture: Research online; buy in-store (strong bias in favor of this behavior)
  • Entertainment products: Browse and buy online

Read more over at Inc.com.

Use Snapchat to beat showrooming.

Yes, really. I was skeptical at first, too, but this article from Ad Age is pretty compelling. Here’s a tease from the article:

1. In-store only coupons with a surprise offer.
“Retailers can use Snapchat to send consumers a coupon snap. This snap could be for 10%, 25% or 100% off an item—the amount unknown to the user—and the perishable nature of Snapchat requires the user to open the snap at the register (or burn their lone replay) in order to redeem the offer. This requires the consumer to pick out an item, take it to the register and then open the snap. Remember, consumers are at the point of purchase looking to cash in on their offer, so even if the coupon is for the lower amount, are they really going to walk out of line to put the item back, after they have fallen in love with it? Regardless, you have just obtained that store visit, which could equate to sales.”

Read the full article over at Ad Age for four more ideas to use Snapchat to beat retail showrooming.

You can’t try it on online.

You know your stuff. Tailor the in-store shopping experience to emphasize the things you do best and that stand out from the online competition.

An implementation of this idea we really like comes from the Harvard Business Review:

“Design for community. Portland, Oregon, where Ziba has its headquarters, is so saturated with bike-oriented businesses that when a newcomer, Velo Cult, announced in 2012 it was moving its bicycle repair shop here from San Diego, observers wondered loudly whether it had any chance of success. It didn’t help that even the local mainstays were being challenged by online competitors discounting the products they sold at retail.
“Rather than compete on price or selection, though, Velo Cult works ‘to be equal parts bike shop, venue, and bar’—in other words, a community. The large space they occupy is open plan, with long tables and benches, repair stations along one side, and a beer and coffee bar along the other. They offer the space up to local organizations for seminars, meetings, and parties, whether bike-related or not. Within months, Velo Cult became a de facto community center for many of the city’s two-wheeled enthusiasts. It also became a profitable business.”

Read the full article for two more ways you can step up your brick and mortar game.

Then check out the recently released Ecommerce Quarterly. It features ecommerce benchmarking data for Q2 2015 and stories about how retailers like QVC and DIRECTV are using offline data to enhance the online experience, and vice versa.

Ecommerce Quarterly for Q2 2015

Marc Hummel is a former Content Marketing Associate for Monetate. He's also a part-time grad student at the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys biking to work, reading, listening to podcasts/music, and eating ice cream. Usually not all at once. For more about Marc, go here.

Experience the future of ecommerce personalization

Book your personalized demo today.