Turning Showrooming into an opportunity

February 18th, 2014 by Azur Digital

Showrooming, a growing threat for the store

Showrooming (consumers going into a physical store to see a product and then purchasing it online at a better price) is often seen as brick & mortar retailers’ number one enemy. This phenomenon concerns 72% of US shoppers according to Accenture.

In addition to preparing their purchase online, today’s connected consumers increasingly use their mobiles to compare pricing when in store. In 2012, 53% of US in-store mobile users stated they already abandoned a purchase in store as a result of using their mobile, either to go purchase online (51%) or at a competitor’s store (38%).

iPhone with Amazon Price Check App
Promoting showrooming: Amazon offered a 5% discount to anyone who used their Price Check app to scan a bar code of an item in a store and then bought it from Amazon website.

Customer Centricity and digital investments to the rescue

Realizing this new shopping trend would only develop, some brands have decided to turn the Showrooming threat into an advantage. Sephora, Dixons and Darty have developed customer-centric strategies aiming at delivering an in-store experience meeting (or exceeding) the expectations of today’s connected customers.

These retailers have massively invested in digital technology and staff training to facilitate the customer journey, inform, educate and make shopping easier and more fun. The overall objective was to reinforce customer service and trust perception, which would in turn translate into increased loyalty.

Through NFC technology, Darty allows products selected by a customer on mobile device to be displayed on digital walls in order to facilitate reviews reading and product comparison.

Two iPhones with screenshots of Sephora App
In addition to offering free wifi, Sephora has developed an app customers can use in the store to help them find what they are looking for, suggest them articles and more importantly, keep them buying in their store. Sephora recorded a 150% growth on mobile sales in 2013.

Sephora offers customers free in-store wifi. They can scan items and pay by mobile without queuing at cashiers. Sephora’s app helps them find what they are looking for and suggests them items to purchase based on promotions and past purchases through its loyalty program.

Price transparency is a crucial element to fight Showrooming: customers are encouraged to use tablets, kiosks or access the store’s free wifi network, to compare prices. It is clearly an advantage for the retailer to facilitate price comparison as it can communicate on its unique selling points and value-add services in the process (e.g. customer reviews, staff recommendations, workshops, return policy, installation services etc.).


Mobile Phone Shopping Diaries – May 2012 (On Device Research)
Sephora: We want customers showrooming our stores