Mobile Showrooming Threatens Retailers

Showrooming increases 156pc YOY: report

Showrooming via mobileThe amount of time that consumers spend researching and shopping from a competitor’s site via a mobile device in-store has increased significantly and has become a more mainstream issue for retailers in the past year, according to a new study from Vibes.

The second annual “Combat Showrooming with Personalization” report looks at what showrooming means for marketers this holiday season as price comparison continues to grow. The takeaway message for retailers is to fight showrooming with personalized in-store offers and marketing.

“Retailers should use the holidays as a reason to jumpstart their mobile engagement and ongoing mobile relationship management,” said Alex Campbell, chief innovation officer of Vibes, Chicago.

“Marketers need to integrate their mobile strategies into their overall marketing mixes, with mobile complementing and working in concert with other marketing channels such as email, display, search, direct mail, advertising, in-store and social media,” he said.

“Additionally, mobile wallet and personalization tactics that drive foot traffic and increase average order value during the holidays should also be integrated into marketers’ year-round mobile marketing strategies and plans.”

Showrooming threat?
Vibes’ report is based on an online survey of 1,000 smartphone owners aged 18 years or older. The research was conducted by Equation Research with a 3.1 percent margin of error.

Showrooming has become a more realistic threat for retailers in the past couple of years.

To keep up with this, retailers are increasingly trying to use showrooming to their advantage to build one-to-one relationships during the holiday season.

Per Vibes’ findings, 44 percent of consumers showroom frequently, and 36 percent use their mobile devices to shop for items in-store more than they did two years ago.

Of these price-sensitive consumers, roughly half have looked up a product review or a price on a competitor’s Web site after shopping in-store. To compare, only 33 percent of consumers surveyed in the 2012 report said the same.

Consumers are also taking a direct action after comparing prices via their mobile devices.

In fact, 47 percent of consumers that looked up prices while in-store made a purchase. Forty-five percent of consumers went elsewhere to shop and 7 percent did not buy anything.

Personalized marketing
To beat the odds against consumers going elsewhere to shop this holiday season, retailers should focus on building loyalty programs and in-store incentives for consumers to shop in-store.

However, not all retailers are getting this right.

For example, 89 percent of consumers said that they would sign up for mobile messages if they were customized to their preferences, but only 18 percent of shoppers have noticed personalized messages from brands and retailers.

Similarly, 60 percent of consumers want mobile content that matches their preferences and interests. This includes everything from custom sizes to brands.

Interestingly, Vibes’ report also indicates that mobile bar codes and SMS can be leveraged to trigger holiday sales.

Forty percent of consumers that either scanned a QR code or texted in a short code to get information about an in-store deal bought something that they had not planned to as a result of scanning the content. This is up significantly from 14 percent in the 2012 study.

Additionally, 42 percent of the same group of consumers said that doing so made them feel better about their purchase.

“Last year was mostly about taking the content you had and making it mobile,” Mr. Campbell said.

“This year, it’s about creating memorable experiences with the latest mobile technology such as mobile wallets that research has shown consumers are embracing as a means to connect with their favorite retailers and brands,” he said.

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