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How Brick and Mortar Stores Can Take Advantage of Webrooming

Brick and mortar stores are faced with fierce competition from online retailers. I’m sure you’re aware of Showrooming, where a customer checks out an item in a physical store and then goes online to make the actual purchase. Usually because they can get a better price.

This can also work the other way. Consider Webrooming, where a customer learns about an item online but then goes to a traditional brick and mortar store to make the actual purchase. This has brought the opportunity back to the traditional retailer.

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How Prevalent Is Webrooming?

According to a Harris poll, 69% of people in the U.S. engage in Webrooming as opposed to 46% who practice Showrooming.

According to Accenture research, 78% of customers do their research online before making a purchase at the store.

Approximately 80% of local searches that are conducted on a mobile device convert into a sale. More than 70% of these purchases are made at brick and mortar stores, making it essential to make this process easy on a mobile device.

These stats point to tremendous opportunity for the brick and mortar retailer.

What Makes Customers Turn to the Web?

Woman using mobile phone while shopping in supermarket
What makes people shop online?

  • Readily Available Information. Shoppers often are looking for detailed information about the products that they are purchasing. They like to read detailed descriptions and reviews from other customers, without a salesperson hovering over their shoulder.
  • 24/7 Availability. They can also shop all hours of the day. They can shop at night or from their computer at work. They don’t have to take the time to drive to a store.
  • No Wasted Trips. They also like to know a product is in stock. Consumers are more pressed for time than ever and they don’t want a wasted trip.
  • Easy Price Comparisons. The customer also wants the best price. They can research prices from several competitors in moments.

Why Do Shoppers Still Buy From Brick and Mortar?

With all of the reasons to buy online, why do people still shop at physical stores?

  • Instant Gratification. When shopping in-store, there is no need to wait for their purchase to arrive.
  • No Shipping Fees. Most online stores ship for free with a certain minimum purchase, but if that option is not available shipping fees are a big turn-off.
  • Ease of Returns. Shoppers like the ability to return items to a physical store. It is usually much easier than returning an item online – there is no packaging and labeling. And, there are no return shipping costs.
  • Ability to Touch and Feel. Some items still require a tactile experience before you really know if it is right for you. Apparel is the best example of this: 70% of clothes are purchased offline in brick and mortar stores.

How Can You Take Advantage of Webrooming?

Your business needs to take advantage of the fact that your customers will be using the internet. Many will be doing their research ahead of time, and you want to make sure all signs point to you.

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For starters, make sure that your store has a quality website. Make sure it uses a “responsive” design – meaning that it works well on both full size screens and mobile devices.

Your website is the key to taking advantage of Webrooming. You can:

  • Offer coupons online that are redeemable in-store.
  • Allow customers to order online and pick up in-store.
  • Allow customers to shop online and try-on and purchase in-store.
  • Keep your product database up to date. Let your customers see what you have in stock. Then they can come to your store with the confidence it won’t be a wasted trip.
  • Make sure that your product descriptions are accurate.

What Can You Do to Make the In-Store Experience Better?

Be sure to take the time to create a compelling in person shopping experience.

Think about it – there’s a reason why customers shop at Starbucks instead of brew their own coffee at home.

You may not be selling coffee, but consider why your customer would want to shop in your store versus online.

Strong branding, visual store design, and merchandising create a compelling customer experience, and invite the customer to be present as they shop.

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Don’t Forget the Salesperson

The human touch is what keeps people coming back to your store.

A happy customer is one that has experienced the highest level of customer service. On the sales floor, your staff needs access to information and they need to be trained on how to use that information. Mobile devices like a tablet will help them provide accurate information to the customer.

And imagine the sales person being able to answer a customer’s question right away using their tablet. That’s a much better customer experience than if they have to go back to customer service and look it up on a desktop.

Retail employees need to be aware of the store’s inventory, product information, and online deals all in real time. Building customer profiles right at the point of purchase can also enable staff to make purchase suggestions.

If you are in apparel business, encourage your staff to get your customers to try it on. Fitting room optimization can help you increase sales conversions by 67%.

Combining offline, online, and mobile channels into a well-integrated customer experience will encourage customer loyalty. Your brick and mortar retail can meet consumer needs while increasing profit.

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