With the rapid advancements of today’s technology, the delicate balance between supply and demand has tipped favorably for your everyday consumer. No longer do they have to trudge through store after store to find inspiration for the decor in their homes, drive out to Blockbuster for the latest release or hit three different grocery stores in search of that special ingredient. For the most part, you don’t even need to leave your home anymore to peruse or procure the goods you desire. So why are we?
As remarkable as the internet is, it still doesn’t allow us to examine the tangibility of an item, at least not for ourselves. You can read through dozens of reviews and browse through the whole gallery of images, but it still does not compare to the physical observance and interaction you experience in a store.
A recent study conducted by Future Stores on the State of Brick & Mortar found that 87% of companies say they are now trying to embrace showrooming. This survey was circulated to a national audience of retail professionals, responded to by executives at Home Depot, Macy’s, PetSmart and Walgreens, among many others. As they explain, “the goal of the survey was to shed light on current trends in store technology, in-store experience, strategy and reporting”.
This number is impressively high, especially considering that less than a year and a half ago, a study collected by Edgell Knowledge Network (EKN), in partnership with eBay Local, found that only 10% of retailers had strategies in place to combat showrooming. It might have been easy to blend in with the majority back in 2012, but there is no hiding from the propensity of consumer expectations in your store today. With the tables almost inversely turned now, it’s obvious to see how urgent it was and still is for retailers to adapt to their evolving reality.
So now that we’re building a robust showroom for our customers, what’s our strategy from here? We have them in the store, but how can we increase the number of purchases actually happening here? The Future Stores study also discovered that 59% of companies have aligned their in-store experience with customer shopping behavior. As retailers are, or soon to be realizing, the shopping process has also transformed in wake of these changes. Brands must be proactive in their experiential identity by seeking out insights from their actual customer base.
Beyond just acquiring, retailers need to be early to market in implementing their findings in store to show consumers that they’re actually being listened to and understood. The market is undeniably developing around us, and the true winners of these rounds will be those looking forward for their analytical advantage.