The term "showrooming" is gaining increasing popularity lately as more consumers visit bricks and mortar stores to view and test products only to buy them at a deeper discount online.
In response, a growing number of companies are shrinking the square footage of their stores to adapt to this growing trend.
But it will take more than smaller physical store space to battle this trend. Companies must also adjust their promotional marketing and communications efforts to align to this movement by offering customers acces to the price comparison information that they're looking for in the stores and having the capcilities in place to adjust pricing on the fly.
One suggestion is for retailers to offer more consistent pricing and promotions across channels and equip stores with kiosks, as well as outfit employees with mobile handheld devices to help customers conduct price comparisons. If shoppers can see that they are getting the better price in the stores, the retailer will risk them leaving to go home and buy online.
One way to add this channel consistency is by including QR codes on packaging. Anna Papachristos points out today in her article, "Developing Channel Consistency in the Digital Age," that more retailers are using this device as a way to engage with customers in the physical stores and regain the attention of the wandering eye.
While linking physical and online channels is one of the keys to combating the threat of showrooming, so is providing customers with real-time access to in-store promotions from their smartphones, digital kiosks, or POS systems.
Rather than treat the growing trend of showrooming as a threat, retailers must adapt and change the way they view the physical store, which is as an important step in customers' purchasing journey.