Natural Foods Merchandiser
Curb 'showrooming' with these social media tips

Curb 'showrooming' with these social media tips

Keep sales in your store and avoid becoming just a 'showroom' with these social media tips.

Smartphone users are the kings and queens of comparison shopping. If you’ve witnessed a shopper checking a supplement’s price with e-commerce giant Amazon.com, you know what I mean.

Some of your customers also may be using your store as a “showroom” for what they’ll eventually buy online. Why do they do this and how can you disrupt the process? The answers are revealed in a recent study titled Showrooming and Consumer Migration [PDF] from Boston-based social media analyst Crimson Hexagon.

The first tip is to know what these consumers are typing into their smartphones—and into social media. According to the report, “In a competitive environment where retailers vie over content and keywords—where disappointed consumers find solace in typing six letters into their smartphone’s web browser: A-M-A-Z-O-N—deep knowledge of consumer expectations is a retailer’s most powerful weapon against showrooming.”

The company analyzed 1.5 million social media posts about the Best Buy and Amazon brands throughout 2011 to find out what consumers expect from in-store shopping—and why they may pass over Best Buy for Amazon.

Here’s how some of the key findings apply to your store:

  • Migration to Amazon from brick-and-mortar stores such as Best Buy is highest during the holidays, especially in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Store deals are most anticipated from mid-November to early December, so surprise—and delight—your shoppers by holding promotions year-round.
     
  • Instant gratification appeals to shoppers and is a big reason why they’ll buy in your store instead of online. Make sure you are stocked. If products aren’t available, 10 percent of consumers will turn to Amazon.
     
  • Customer service represents only a minor shopping incentive at Best Buy, despite the availability of sales reps. Are you putting too much stock in customer service and perhaps not enough in shoppers’ other needs?
     
  • Twenty-seven percent of customers are simply deal seekers who highly value Amazon’s lower prices. Translation: Don’t beat yourself up every time you lose a sale to a smartphone.
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