About That "Showrooming" Going On in Your Beauty Store ...

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About That "Showrooming" Going On in Your Beauty Store ...

I'm totally fascinated by "showrooming"—the term for people who visit brick and mortars to try out products but then check their mobile devices there for the best price online. The practice is transforming shopping—even with beauty products and, yes, inside your beauty store.

Recently released showrooming research by Aprimo—a Teradata company that's a leading provider of software and services that advance the productivity and performance of marketing organizations—in collaboration with Forrester Research principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru suggests that retailers should focus on the customer experience.

That's based on new data from a survey conducted online in the United States by Harris Interactive from Oct. 16-18 among 2,025 adults age 18 and older.

Specifically, it found that one in five consumers is now showrooming.

And of those consumers already showrooming, 33% say they ultimately used the information to buy elsewhere.

The trend is expected to continue to grow too. Ninety-six percent say they plan to use their smartphones to research prices the same way or more in the future.

"This research confirms what many in the retail industry have suspected: Showrooming is here to stay," says Mulpuru, also a vice president at Forrester Research, who helped develop the survey questions and analyze its results. "Retailers must seriously consider ways to avoid losing sales this way by using strategies such as price matching, personalized in-store service and loyalty programs."

In Aprimo's analysis, this means that to preserve sales and sustain pricing levels today's brick and mortars need to:

  • Become more customer-centric.
  • Be less product/feature- or price point-focused.
  • Start leveraging technology solutions to engage buyers through a more personalized in-store experience while empowering customer-driven choices.

The survey also found:

  • The trend is just getting started—and it's ready to explode. A third of those who haven't used their smartphones for in-store research haven't done so simply because the idea hadn't occurred to them yet.
  • Showrooming isn't just for big-ticket items either. Consumer electronics are the most popular products (39%), followed by groceries (37%), then apparel/footwear (33%).
  • Showrooming behavior pays off for retailers with lower prices. More than half of consumers report discovering lower prices online than in brick and mortars.

Marc Schroeder, vice president of industry solutions at Aprimo, who helped develop the survey, adds, "Retailers are eager to see data like this because it helps them shape strategies to compete as mobile devices continue to disrupt the status quo. The opportunity here is to leverage technology and common sense and shift to a customer-centric value proposition through better service, smarter timing and relevant offers. Retailers need new ways to build loyalty and brand value; physical-store retailers will not win in the long run by focusing only on price matching."

To obtain a free executive summary of the survey's findings, click here.

Marc Birenbaum

[Infographic courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Aprimo]