Traditional retailers have been beating their heads against their brick and mortar walls for several years now trying to fight showrooming. That’s when shoppers check out products in stores and then buy them on line.
However, studies are finding that the opposite phenomena—dubbed webrooming—is, in fact, far more prevalent. One survey found that 73 percent of shoppers admit to showrooming while 88 percent said they webroomed. Last Christmas, a survey revealed that 46 percent of holiday shoppers showroomed versus 69 percent who webroomed.
Finally some good news for local merchants, right? Maybe, maybe not.
In the webroom model, shoppers check out products and stores online then hop in their cars, head to their preferred retailer and make the purchase. There’s a rub here: How can you make sure that their onboard navigation system provides directions to your store?
Solve the Webroom Puzzle
The first piece of this puzzle is to make sure that when they are doing their online reconnaissance, your store pops up on their radar screen. Of course you must have a website and it must be search engine optimized for local searches.
But when we’re talking about retail items, you need to go even further—you need to submit product feeds to Google and perhaps some comparison shopping engines. I hesitated a little with Google, but that’s only because Google has folded its local shopping listings in with its AdWords program, so it is no longer free.
However, I think the cost is well worth it. When someone follows the Google “shopping” link and narrows search results by “In stock nearby” you want your inventory to be featured. When a shopper then clicks your link, the hit on your advertising budget will have been wisely invested.
Other comparison shopping engines deal mostly with online retailers. If you also sell online, it’s smart to check out sites such as NexTag, Price Grabber and others. On your product page you can make “In-store Purchase” an option with no shipping charges and perhaps even some other enhancements, like our next strategy.
Enticing the Webroomer
When you want to bring the webroomer into your store, consider offering mobile coupons that are only available in your store. If you go this route, be sure to feature it prominently on your website. Include it on virtually every page and have a link to a page that gives all the details of your in-store mobile coupons.
For example, you might say that for all purchases over $100 we feature a one-time instant 10 percent savings coupon. Think of what strategy might work best for you. You could consider offering a premium for local shoppers. Hey, when banks used to give away toasters for new accounts it worked like gangbusters.
Be creative and work hard at it. There are a lot of new customers out there who can be brought into the fold if you implement a good strategy that targets the webroomers.
Image: By Alza (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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