Showrooming: Why retailers need to embrace the mobile shopper

The advantages of online shopping are numerous, but we still continue to love shopping in-store. Find out how retailers have embraced the integration of new technology in-store.

Customer expectations have changed drastically in recent years, and the advantages of shopping online are hard to ignore — efficiency, convenience, better prices, not to mention the expansive range of choices and the availability of customer reviews are a few of the reasons why the internet may win over shoppers.

With the decline of the UK high street and one in seven London shops empty (Financial Times, 24.7.13), it appears the pressing question on the minds of retailers is how to best deal with the increase of online versus in-store shopping. The phenomenon of showrooming (whereby a consumer browses the shop before searching on a mobile phone or laptop for a competitive price, rather than purchasing in-store) may raise concerns in terms of losing valuable sales.


But regardless of the price, we continue to love shopping in-store for leisure, and being able to see and touch quality products first-hand means people will remain loyal to the brands they trust. The majority of us still want to ‘shop’, but also want to enjoy all of the benefits offered online. Therefore, creating a stress-free and inspirational in-store experience is more important than ever before.

Instead of asking how to combat showrooming, the real question retailers should ask is: Can we offer consumers what they are seeking out online?

Retail Week and Telefonica’s roundtable event discussed the importance of “top-quality multichannel retail” and the “attendees stressed that the ease of online shopping needs to be replicated in bricks-and-mortar stores” (Retail Week, 18.10.13). It is crucial to ensure the cracks through which shoppers may drop out of an in-store purchase are sealed.

Retailers such as Selfridges, Virgin, Douglas and La Maison Simons have already embraced the integration of new technology, paving the way to better customer satisfaction in a modern retail environment. Give shoppers what they have come to expect: fast, efficient and effective service, online AND in-store.

The survey to the left shows the major reasons why showrooming is occurring.

The integration of tablet and iPad kiosks that bring digital touch points into retail environments is a great way to merge the digital and physical elements of the retail store and brand together.

Don’t fight it – 3 Ways Mobile Benefits High Street Retail

–No limits to your range. Create an endless aisle by displaying your complete range of products and variations in an online catalogue or specially designed app, as seen with additional customization options at Ralph Lauren. Even if there isn’t space for every colour of your product on the shop floor, the consumer wants to know every option!

–Keep selling when out-of-stock. Shoppers understand it isn’t always possible to have every single size, colour or style in stock ‘behind the scenes’ – but save the exasperating moment where customers are forced to leave empty handed. Adding tablet kiosks, as showcased at La Maison Simons, means a customer can immediately order want they want on your website, instead of remembering (or forgetting) to do it later.

–Discover who your customers are. Faceless shoppers can become fully-fledged profiles for targeted deals to suit their shopping preferences. Tablets are a great way to promote offers and loyalty schemes in exchange for customer data. This is the best way to showcase offers that might otherwise go under the radar – and to create loyal brand advocates.

For more advice on the considerations to make before integrating iPads and other tablets into your retail environment, view our infographic illustrating the benefits of installing technology in secure enclosures in shops: ‘Tablets in Retail: 7 Steps to a Successful Tablet Installation’.