• Michael Weeding

Our In Store Shopping Experience will be Very Different in the Future as Retailers are Forced to Dev


The Smartphone has created many challenges for traditional bricks and mortar retailers, the price comparison app, such as the Amazon Price Check is one example that is predicted to have a dramatic impact on in store sales in the future. With these apps shoppers can simply scan a product’s barcode that pinpoints the lowest prices and shares ratings and reviews from other shoppers, this process is known as showrooming.

Good news for retailers according to mobile marketing firm Vibes, research indicates that of the consumers utilising these apps only 6% will complete the process of purchasing an item they have viewed in store through a website. Although it is important to note reliable data on consumer behaviour around this practice is not readily available as research is usually based around the hypothetical rather than the physical.

Despite the concerns around consumer research, showrooming has a very real impact as it is forcing retailers to reduce prices to ensure they are in line with online stores and with many consumers hitting the stores with Smartphones in their pockets it is interesting to see what retailers are doing to minimise the impact this will have on their business now and into the future.

  • Best Buy have replaced the bar codes in their stores with ones that cannot be scanned and compared, while this may sound like a good idea the apps also allow consumers to take a photo of the product or even say the product name, as well as scanning the barcode. The fact that this strategy is not going to work is probably not concerning to Best Buy’s management in light of a recent quote from CEO Hubert Joly who denied that “showrooming” is a threat to the retailer.

  • Many retailers have adopted location based mobile coupons, Target has been using the Shopkick app where consumers earn points as they walk around a store or scan a product. The points, or “kicks”, can be redeemed for various rewards.

  • The Price March Guarantee has to be a great way to entice the consumer to make a purchase while in the store, although many retailers who offer this have been criticised for not extending the offer to online stores. In Australia, Officeworks who offers a guarantee of betting any competitors price by 5% does this for online stores providing the item is actually in stock.

  • Re-organising the merchandising mix to offer an in store only product range has been another popular strategy adopted by many of the high end retailers.

As an online store knows consumers preferences and can make the experience different for each user, through the use of technology retailers have the opportunity to personalising customer service through enabling the tools to empower shop assistance to become more attentive to the customer and their needs. If we look to the future we should expect to see the more successful retailers using technology to introduce innovative services to ensure the customer purchases whilst in store. This could mean that we could have a very different retail shopping experience to the one that we have today, all thanks to the disruption created by the Smartphone.

#Showrooming