Walmart President Embraces Showrooming as a Way to Lure Customers In

walmart lures shoppers with showroomingWhen retailers first heard of showrooming, the first response was to find a way to combat it. Showrooming, the act of checking competitor prices on a mobile device while standing in a store, causes customers to choose to buy elsewhere. Unless retailers could consistently undercut everyone else’s prices, there would be no way to compete.

But as Walmart President and CEO Neil Ashe recently pointed out, showrooming has evolved in recent years. No longer is it the curse of the brick-and-mortar retailer. There are three reasons businesses should embrace showrooming as a benefit rather than a burden.

It Lures Customers In

At the 2014 GeekWire Summit, Walmart President and CEO Neil Ashe embraced the concept of showrooming, saying that his goal is to be the best showroom in town. By working with showrooming behaviors instead of fighting them, businesses can actually position themselves to be more competitive. When customers come into a store to research products, a business has a great opportunity to win those customers over by providing great customer service in addition to competitive prices.

Businesses Can Showroom, Too

The Internet has made it easy for customers to thoroughly research a product before leaving the house. However, that same technology has given businesses the ability to keep track of competitors. Using the same tools customers use, businesses can keep an eye on what both big box and local retailers are doing. They can even set up pricing alerts to notify them when a competitor drops the price on an item they sell and adjust their own prices in real time.

Good Customer Service Wins

Research from ForeSee showed that customers who purchased online after showrooming in a store did so due to dissatisfaction with the in-store experience. This demonstrates the importance of great customer service to shoppers. Bricks-and-mortar stores must shift its focus to personalizing the shopping experience in a way that online retailers can’t, including staffing product experts who can help a customer choose the right product to meet his needs. Over time, businesses will determine the reason customers are interested in seeing certain products before buying and cater to that in a way that encourages them to buy.

Instead of battling showrooming, businesses should find a way to make the most of it. In addition to great customer service, customers are increasingly comparing prices across both online and local retailers and choosing the business with the lowest price. For that reason, businesses should use a tool like PriceManager that can help customers compare prices while in the store. With a mobile-friendly interface, PriceManager is ideal for in-store kiosks and employee tablets, helping them show customers their prices are the lowest while they’re still in the store.

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