The peril of ‘showrooming’
What can retailers do about the rising trend of people browsing in shops, checking their smartphone and buying cheaper online?
An interesting article but what can retailers do?
Retail is understood to be an experience but still people can enjoy the experience, meet friends, look at products, try out clothes, and still choose to purchase the same online.
But then isn’t that the real issue? If the products are the same then there will always be the cheaper alternative from online retail destinations that have lower operating costs.
So if you can’t compete retailers need to change the playing field. They have the customers in their stores yet only offer the same products that can be delivered to the customer’s home at a cheaper price. But what if retailers didn’t offer these mass produced products that can easily be sold from any website / wearhouse online retailer?
What if the bricks and mortar retailer took advantage of the fact that the customer is in their store and offer them something far more personal than anything that could
be offered online?
Maybe the answer then to offer products that are different to the standard vanilla ones you can see being sold from warehouses online. Does this mean for example clothes retailers should consider offering a personal touch to their purchases, for example, clothes that are finished to fit, trouser legs sewn to your exact leg size, dresses that are taken in while you wait (or hang out in the coffee bar). Personaly I see the rise in coffee bars as a sign that there could be more customisation and personalisation that could be brought back into the high street. Even to the extent of seeing crafts returning. For example, skilled craft services offering products designed around your exact needs. This doesn’t necessarily mean a complex multi hour production product (although there is good reason for these services to rerun to more wealthier high streets) since we will be seeing a massive rise in 3d printing technologies over the next ten years retailers will be able to offer much more customisation at an affordable price.