As a consumer I have come to find myself visiting retail stores more often to “Window Shop” then to actually purchase one of the products in store. I rush home or pull up the internet on my smartphone and began searching better deals out there online instead of physically buying the product immediately.
Experian Marketing Services has called this new phase of shopping “Showrooming” Where a consumer checks out the product in store but buys the item online at a cheaper cost. Research shows this increasing trend will continue to evolve and ultimately affect the marketing strategies for big time retail stores such as Best Buy, Target, Toys R Us and more.
Amazon.com has been the innovator of competition for the big brick and mortar retail shops where they compete with the prices in store and allow you to scan bar codes of the product you would like to purchase to see what the cost would be if ordered online.
Bestbuy.com has pledged to offer online prices in house to drive traffic to the store while keeping with online competitor pricing. There is, however, a catch; Best Buy will only honor the online pricing policy against specific online sites: Amazon.com, Apple.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Buy.com, CircuitCity.com, CompUSA.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, hhgregg.com, HP.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Newegg.com, OfficeDepot.com, OfficeMax.com, Sears.com, Staples.com, Target.com, TigerDirect.com, and Walmart.com.
Over the past holiday season, Target tried shutting out the art of “Showrooming” by price matching Amazon.com and even including QR codes on specific toys to avoid consumers checking the cost out on the online giant.
Barnes and Nobles is planning on closing 20% of its brick and mortar stores over the next few years due to the increased demand of digital e books for tablets and e-readers. CEO Mitchell Klipper explained to the Wall Street Journal how adjusting the “overhead” is important in the success of a retail company and the 8.2% drop in in-store sales is just a portion of this decision. Barnes & Nobles is moving its focus from in store sales to online competition with e-commerce sites such as Borders.com and Amazon.com
Showrooming sounds like it’s not just a fad but more of a new style of shopping. It will be interesting to see how the retail mega stores will advance their marketing strategies to pull consumers back through the doors and out of the comfort of their own home.