Consumer shopping habits have transitioned to a research offline, purchase online (ROPO) model.

Brands and retailers can leverage this shopper behavior to be advantageous for brick-and-mortar stores. Showrooming brings customers in the door, which is often the desired result behind a difficult and costly part of marketing strategy.

Why Do Customers Like Retail Showrooming?

Although your customers may research a product extensively online, he or she may also feel that an in-store visit is necessary to fulfill certain needs. Forty-six percent of customers engage in showrooming activities, according to Business Insider. Some people assume this is due to smartphone customers conducting research during a store visit, but the Columbia Business School found only 6 percent of mobile users showroom simultaneously.

Your customers can't always make a purchase decision based on pictures and videos they find online. Some purchase decisions are easier when the customer can see and feel the product. For example, a customer looking for a new computer desk chair can't determine his or her personal comfort levels through text or pictures on a screen; the personal experience reveals whether it is the correct item. Other common showrooming products include shoes and clothing, as the online size charts may not reveal the exact fit for a body type. Consequently, these customers travel to physical stores to determine whether certain products truly work for them.

How Can Retail Stores and Brands Use Showrooming to Their Advantage?

The customer experience is an important part of shopping, and it is one element of retail that ecommerce has a difficult time matching. Well-strategized retail execution for your store showcases brands and products customers are expecting. Furthermore, valuable and pleasurable in-store experiences are an essential part of building customers trust, loyalty and interest.

Today, your customers may show up solely for showrooming; if employees provide a warm welcome and knowledgeable product information, those customers will be more likely to make a return visit. Retail storeowners must recognize the importance of overcoming customer sales objections and pain points. The Columbia Business School discovered 31.7 percent of mobile-assisted shoppers will pursue the best overall customer experience. Use your floor staff to build customer relationships through in-depth product familiarity and support. Retail mobile data collection helps you determine whether you're stocked correctly for showroomers, and if you should make adjustments to your store layout.

Incentives, especially loyalty programs, are one of many ways to add value to the in-store shopping experience. By ensuring that customers receive rewards for signing up to the program, retailers add a reason for shoppers to return to the store. In-store discounts and clearance sections often provide specials the customer can't access online, especially for close-out items.

Omnichannel is a Necessity

While it's important to keep showroomers happy to build brand loyalty, retail needs an omnichannel component. Consistent customer engagement across all your channels is necessary, as customers want the same experience when they are shopping online, through mobile or in-store.

Showrooming represents a significant opportunity for field team management in your retail store and brands. Instead of counting these customers as lost sales to ecommerce and other websites, engage with shoppers and provide them the best customer experience possible – the hard work will pay off.

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