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The Shipwire Blog/How multichannel brands win against ‘showrooming’

How multichannel brands win against 'showrooming'

According to some very interesting findings from Econsultancy’s recent survey, 26% of US shoppers were showrooming this holiday season.

For those readers allergic to buzzwords, ‘showrooming’ is the act of being in a retail space to check the product out but looking for reviews and better prices elsewhere, typically online. Customers can stand in the aisle of a store and be looking at the same product on their phones at a lower price.

Did you use a mobile while shopping in stores to check reviews and prices? (n=1,000)

Multichannel fulfillment to the rescue
A good order fulfillment partner and a focus on multichannel is important for smart brands that are planning to grow instead of stagnate. Being able to sell across a variety of channels means being able to reach a customer whether they’re buying your product from a brick and mortar retailer or from their mobile phone. And as the Econsultancy survey demonstrates, sometimes they’re the same person. So what does the smart brand do?

1. Sell across channels
I hope we’re getting through to you because we say this time and again: being able to sell across a variety of channels is like diversifying your investment portfolio. In short, it’s a good idea. But more importantly, it also lets you reach a different set of customers. If you sell on Amazon you may not reach the customers who really love to shop for a particular type of product on Fab.com. In the case of the above survey, a brand that’s being showroomed can still make the sale by having an online store of their own. Optimize the site for mobile and you have a recipe for success in 2013.

2. Give a unique offering
Special packaging for the retail versions of a product help you do two things: differentiate the way the product looks through its packaging, and label it with a different Stock Keeping Unit (SKU). When you add value to your product in a store by bundling it, combining it with a unique offer, or giving it unique packaging, you are selling something distinct from what’s being sold online. Not only that, but having a unique product means a unique SKU which means a mobile search (a common way of searching for a product online is by scanning its product with an app that uses the phone’s camera) will not turn anything up.

3. Kits and bundles
Your fulfillment provider should be able to offer you the ability to create kits in its facilities. Use this to create unique product combination which can help offset the impact of showrooming. For example, if you’re an electronics retailer that sells products individually, offer a product bundle (power supply, travel adaptor) as a way of giving a unique offering. This also gives you a different SKU and (more importantly) creates value for your customer.

Being able to reach those same customers that are showrooming, and being able to offer them a compelling price no matter where they are, is how smart brands can mitigate the new and disruptive tech that affects retail.

Shipping problems
The survey also highlighted shipping problems over the holidays. Overall 83% of people said their products arrived when promised, which is actually not nearly as high a number as it should be. For newer products, the shipping problem is even bigger. Out of the top Kickstarter projects, 84% didn’t ship on time. In the survey the question that’s even more telling is whether a shopper would shop somewhere again if their purchases didn’t arrive on time. Unfortunately, 59% said No. All the more reason to get shipping right.

For those readers who have Kickstarter projects, read our free Fulfillment for Kickstarter guide. It will give you many tips about topics ranging from packaging design to working with international customs.

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