There are a number of major retailers that are very concerned about customers using their stores as show rooms. "Showrooming" is when a customer uses free Wi-Fi in the store to do product research using their mobile device.
(Media-Newswire.com) - There are a number of major retailers that are very concerned about customers using their stores as show rooms. "Showrooming" is when a customer uses free Wi-Fi in the store to do product research using their mobile device. The customer can experience the product in the store and make a buying decision based on the product being the right size, color, or quality they want to buy. However, the concern comes when there are competing online sites that offer the same product for a lower price, enticing the customer to buy online. A few retailers are thinking about investing in technology that prevents customers from accessing the internet while in their stores. But, smart retailers that I have met are using showrooming as an opportunity to sell their store level product to their customers. How do they do that?
Today, technology providers can provide the ability to detect any mobile device that is using the retailer- provided free Wi-Fi access for their customers. The technology can also detect which websites the customer is accessing while in their store. An application can be created to notify sales associates via mobile workforce management systems which web sites and products they are showrooming. The opportunity is for the sales associate to engage the customer and to talk about the features of the product. This interaction can encourage the customer to purchase the product immediately and to begin to enjoy the product. More than half of these customers will elect to buy it once they have been assisted by store staff.
A number of shoppers and some legislatures are not comfortable with the fact that a retailer can detect customers in their store as well as the web sites they are searching. They consider it an invasion of privacy and interfering with their shopping experience. These same shoppers and legislatures go online to shop and the website creates a “cookie” or bookmark for their site on their computer. Many websites ( including Motorola Solutions’ ) use pop-up windows to greet visitors to engage them in a chat session to expedite sales. Customers accept this level of interference because they clicked on the particular website intentionally.
The same argument can be made with the brick and mortar retailers who want an equivalent scenario to an online retailer. Instead of purposefully clicking a URL, shoppers enter a store and elect to use the store's Wi-Fi access. A retailer cannot place a “cookie” on the customer’s mobile device, but they can detect which sites the customer is visiting, and instead of a pop-up window, they can engage their customers face-to-face with knowledgeable sales associates who are there to help shoppers.
So why can’t a brick and mortar retailer have an equal footing with online Etailers? It seems only reasonable that they should be allowed to compete with similar technical tools.
Frank Riso is Global Retail Principal for Motorola Solutions and is a contributor to many retail organizations including NRF and www.retailwire.com.
This story was released on 2013-10-31. Please make sure to visit the official company or organization web site to learn more about the original release date. See our disclaimer for additional information.