Fight or Embrace Showrooming? (1/3)

Fight or Embrace Showrooming? (1/3)


Showrooming is now the mainstream. Should we fight it, ignore it or embrace it?

Let’s define showrooming as viewing & shopping for a product in brick and mortar, but checking prices on-line or with competitive brick and mortar stores. Also, comparing features of competitive offerings versus price, if competitive brands aren’t offered by the showrooming retailer.

I was recently at a high school reunion and decided to ask a bunch of my old, close friends about their usage and attitudes towards showrooming. I was surprised at their answers.

“Absolutely. Do it all the time.”

There seems to be a few different levels of products (possibly also services) where showrooming is used: pricing and functionality reasons are most common. So what are the benefits delivered through the act of showrooming?

Here is my list:

  • Pricing/Price-matching – This is the primary driver of showrooming
  • Having the product in-stock – with certainty
  • Returns policy – Is it easier to return at the store or online
  • Extended warranty – Can a retailer’s extended warranty compete against that from the competitive online or brick and mortar provider?
  • Consideration level – Showrooming is for high consideration complex products, more so than others. Low consideration CPG won’t be showroomed, unless it is a bulk buy. Major purchases such as cars/trucks don’t see this as showrooming. They already know how to respond to showrooming.
  • Product complexity – For complex products, it’s critical to make sure the physical look & feel and operation works as expected, so they must be viewed physically
  • The product touch and feel (e.g., test-driving) – This offers comfort with how the product will operate once in use at home or office
  • Loyalty – Consumers appreciate the value of customer loyalty and may weigh this loyalty against a slightly higher price
  • Immediate v. delayed gratification – How much will a consumer pay to bring the slaughtered calf home, versus having to drive to another store or wait for overnight shipping?
  • Knowing you got a good deal – v. knowing you got the right product
  • In-store salesmanship of the retail outlet – Can a good salesperson reduce overcome price obstacles to close the deal right there for the consumer?
  • Purchasing the entire shopping basket – Can the retailer offer other deals that improve the price differential found online or with competitive brick and mortar stores
  • Better shopping experiences – Experiences lead to improvement of the brand and a greater desire to shop and purchase there.
  • Offer personalization – By personalizing the offerings, retailers can win with equal prices and possibly even with higher prices.

How can the retailer deliver these added value options, without losing their shirts.  How does their marketing strategy have to change in order to fulfill consumer needs and desires?

Let me know if I’m missing anything. I look forward to hearing from you.

Fight or embrace showrooming from Guy Powell