We often here from retails about consumers showrooming which is where people visit retails showrooms to view and select products which they will later purchase online often at reduced prices. However reverse showrooming has been going on for a much longer period and is much more popular, this is where people conduct online research to help them select products for purchase later in a bricks and mortar (offline) store. This is because we have all changed our buying cycle to accommodate the ease at which information is now available.
As you can imagine there are many benefits to a business and ways that you can make it work as a retail business owner. The benefits of reverse showrooming are that it allows shoppers to find sales, discounts, and information about the products that interest them before coming into your store to make a purchase at their leisure and often when stores are closed. However in order to make reverse showrooming successful, it’s important for retail businesses to find ways to make it work for them and their particular businesses because all retail business now need to change to capitalize on this new market place.
Know Your Customer To Succeed at Reverse Showrooming
Do you know who your customers are? How old are they, what do they do, are they married, single, divorced, the only way you can please your customers is if you really know who they actually are. Dependent upon the type of retail store your operate, you have to know who is the decision maker, today in eighty-five percent of households it is actually the women who controls the families purchasing decisions, is this true of your customer base?
Provide Quality In-Store Experiences
You want to provide the best experiences possible for your customer, after you’ve done the research necessary to understand your customer, you know who they are, so you can help your team create unique in-store experiences for your customers. Brand your store in new ways so that customers know that your store is a destination that provides new experiences and not just a place to buy merchandise.
Provide Personalized Customer Service
Talk to your employees and let them know that you want to do what it takes to give customers what they need. Tell them to get feedback from the customers so that they can provide the very best in personalized customer care. People want to feel unique when they go shopping and your sales force is on the front line of making that possible so train them, encourage them and make it happen.
Ditch the Queues
I don’t know about you but longs queues at a checkout are a big turnoff, so consider doing as Apple has done and ditch the queues. Instead of having a checkout, why don’t you give each sales person the ability to check people out, on the spot while they are being served with an iPad? This would eliminate those long queues, instantly make your store different and eliminating blockers to buying can only increase your bottom line.
Empower Your Sales People
Sales people or as I like this think of them, sales professionals are at the front line of your customers experiences. If you really want to pull out all of the stops, your sales professionals need to be highly trained, well educated, and empowered to offer on-the-spot discounts, specialized help and instant service to your customers.
Integrate the Latest Technology
QR codes are a great way to bring technology to the experience of shopping in a store. You can promote instant coupons for those who are shopping in the store with QR codes (those funny square bar codes that can be read with a smartphone), which your guests can read on the spot for instant savings. You can also provide links to special information, training and video demonstration of products in this way you can combine both online and offline shopping experiences together to help your offline store.
Create Specific Customer Loyalty Programs
By gathering your customers’ information both online and offline into a database, you can use that information to offer special discounts to customers who shop in your retail store. They can use their email address or phone number at checkout, and don’t have to carry a special card to participate. They simply have to use their number or email to take advantage of the special in-store discounts reserved for members only.
Employ the Full Power of Online Marketing
Bricks and mortar retailers should most definitely incorporate online marketing into their marketing mix. Use social media, online directories, web pages, blogs, pay per click and email marketing in order to take advantage of all online marketing avenues. Online marketing is an excellent way educate, inform and engage your audience to get more in-store visitors and if you offer an email address type loyalty program this can drive much of your online marketing as your list of customers and potential customers will grow and present you with all sorts of future marketing options.
By taking advantage of all the opportunities available that reverse showrooming offers any offline retail business, you can ensure that you have more customers and make more sales than you thought possible as long as you embrace the new technologies… Don’t fight the future, it’s actually already here.