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Showrooming? Ya, That Happens

Posted on 11.06.2013

Unlike at the movies, consumers aren’t asked to turn off their cellphones before entering a retail store. Instead, they use their phones to enhance their shopping experiences. Retailers can’t ignore that 70 percent of U.S. shoppers have their mobile phone on their person in-store, according to new data from mobile and multi-channel platform company Usablenet. 

Shoppers are using their smartphones to connect with their social network in-store by taking and sharing photos of products, texting or calling their friends about items they plan to purchase, and scanning product barcodes. Usablenet data further indicates that showrooming is taking place. In fact, among smartphone shoppers who used the store’s site or app while in the store, three of five compared the in-store price to the online price, while half were searching for an online coupon or customer reviews.

With this information in mind, Usablenet stresses the importance of making multichannel part of the in-store shopping experience. Integrating social tools, in-store QR codes, analytics that personalize special offers to send to mobile phones after opting in in-store -- these are all tools to leverage in-store shopping and connect the shopping experience cross-channel.

Read Usablenet’s “Best Practices for Implementing Mobile In Stores”. In the meantime, check out some of the key takeaways.  

Multichannel must be made part of the in-store shopping experience

While 77 percent of U.K. customers have used in-store kiosks for browsing and ordering, only 59 percent of U.S. customers have prior experience with them. Sales assistants should be trained to identify when shoppers are having trouble with the technology and need to know how to work the technology to help assist and make the purchasing process as seamless as possible.

Forty-eight percent of U.S. and 46 percent of U.K. shoppers would be receptive to receiving messages and promotions to their phone based on their browsing experience in the store, assuming they can opt-in.

Quality of user experience on in-store mobile devices can be the difference between gaining a sale or losing a customer

Offering shoppers the information they need via mobile device, kiosk or in-store tablets can ultimately provide the additional info a customer needs to translate browsing to buying.

Customers need to be visually and physically directed to in-store kiosks, even walked through the process by a salesperson, to make the experience as digestible and seamless as possible.

Seventy-seven percent of U.S. and eighty-one percent of U.K. shoppers prefer to browse on smartphone but make purchases on a larger device, such as tablet or computer.

Sixty-seven percent of U.K. shoppers and seventy-eight percent of U.S. shoppers do not bring their own tablets in-store, but prefer making purchases on them. Retailers should offer this technology to leverage in-store purchases via tablet.

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