We’ve all heard about how consumers want more choices, more time, more convenience and more value. Nowhere is this more talked about than in consumer electronics. The electronics industry is abuzz about consumers who spend time in their big, expensive retail spaces to try out products first hand. Once they pick out a product, the story goes, they leave the store to find the best price online. This is called “showrooming,” and a lot of electronics retailers point to this as one of the reasons brick and mortar is becoming less viable.
I thought about showrooming when I read a recent article from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). In their study, called “Showrooming: Empowering Consumer Electronics Shoppers,” they talk about an actual synergy between shopping behavior in-store and online research. The IAB knows a lot about what consumers are doing with technology and how they are, or aren’t, using it to shop. In this latest study they found that consumers who use mobile devices while they shop may actually be better customers.
Why? The most significant finding in the mobile component of the research was that while 42% of in-store shoppers using mobile devices actually did make their purchase online, a full 30% made their purchase in the store. They also found that about 40% of the folks using mobile devices spent a lot of money in-store – an average of $1,000. People not shopping with mobile devices were much less likely to spend that much. In fact, only about 20% of people reached the $1,000 average.
And consumers disagree with conventional retailer wisdom on some key points. Sixty-five percent said using a mobile device in-store made them more likely to buy the product. To me, that says that in-store technology doesn’t encourage showrooming, it actually reverses it a bit. Maybe consumers need a little extra information before they make big purchases? We’ve found that the easier we make it for consumers to feel smart and safe, the easier it is to get them to open their wallets.
So should you provide wi-fi in your store? Should you help consumers research your product? Consumers are already carrying mobile devices, so your say in the matter may have come and gone. But you can still participate in the conversation by creating compelling digital stories that extend throughout the shopping process. Make it easy to research them before, during and after they visit your store, or your competitor’s store, or your competitor’s website.
Technology has dramatically improved the convenience of almost every shopping experience. While some stores embrace this, others miss the point. I’d love to hear some examples from you on retailers who are doing it right, and about those guys who just aren’t getting it.