As previous studies also have indicated, the act of in-store showrooming presents more of an opportunity than a threat for physical retailers. According to analytics firm ForeSee, which surveyed more than 6,200 consumers during the holiday shopping season, about two-thirds (62%) of customers who used their phones in a retail store used their devices to access that store’s Web site or app, while 37% used them to access a competitor’s site or app.
“You can either look at is as a negative, or it’s an opportunity,” Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee, told Marketing Daily. “The opportunity is that people are coming into your store. If you’re going to use mobile as a companion channel, you want them to come to your site.”
To capitalize on the opportunity, retailers should start looking at mobile devices as “companion tools” rather than as gateways to another sales channel, said Freed. That means robust mobile Web sites for retailers, says ForeSee.
But it also suggests that retailers invest in wireless local area networks (WLANs) and guest host Wi-Fi as a means of controlling the shoppers’ digital experience in-store. Shoppers, for instance, can be directed to a retailer landing page once logged onto Wi-Fi that displays local store offers and comparisons, or that highlights a liberal return policy or money-back guarantee.
“For most consumers, the number one driver about where they purchase is not price. They’re looking for a great experience overall, which includes price, availability and reputation,” Freed says. “There’s a lot of advantages that stores still have. If you get [consumers] in your store, you’ve got a fighting chance.”