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Enterprise Marketing & Promotions Management

The Connected Consumer: Flipping the Showrooming Phenomenon

By / August 2016


The concept of showrooming has been flipped. Previously, retailers were concerned that consumers were going to stores to see and touch products, check clothes for the right fit, and try before they buy. Then, while still in-store, purchase the product at the lowest price online using smartphones or tablets.

It turns out consumers are doing just the opposite. They’re researching products online and then going to stores to purchase. Shoppers want instant gratification and they want to bring products home after paying for it.

The connected consumer is driving this new way of shopping. Buying in-store is a win for traditional retail stores but it also reinforces the critical need for a cohesive and consistent omnichannel experience.

Today’s customers are empowered by their electronics and are evolving the path to purchase through multiple digital touchpoints before, during and after shopping. Omnichannel retailing demands a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available shopping channels, including brick-and-mortar stores, smartphones, tablets, PCs, direct mail, TV, radio, catalog, etc.

The CEO of marketing agency SOWEB, Ernesto Sosa, describes the connected consumer’s journey in a Huffington Post article. Amanda starts shopping for a last-minute business trip by videoconference with her personal concierge at her favorite store, Luxa. Based on Amanda’s needs, the concierge recommends outfits by superimposing product photos on Amanda’s avatar to show her how she will look.

Amanda buys two items from Luxa online and drives to the nearest store to try on accessories. When she arrives, a sales associate greets Amanda by name and walks her to the dressing room already stocked with her online selections plus other matching items. Amanda likes a jacket and after scanning the barcode on her smartphone, finds the same jacket for $50 less at another store. The sales associate offers to match the price and encourages Amanda to try on other accessories. At the same time, Amanda sends a video and pictures of the outfits to her closest friends who give her thumbs up. With her friends’ approval, Amanda pays with her smartphone and gets discounts using previously downloaded coupons.

Although this example seems futuristic, all the technology is already available. Sosa says, “Retailers that enable more touch points and focus on delivering a smooth, information-rich integrated experience will definitely benefit from higher share of wallet, brand equity scores and ultimately more sales.”

A Bain & Company report, “Three Rules for Building The Modern Retailer,” details the collaboration and coordination necessary to support retailers’ omnichannel evolution and accommodate the connected consumers.

Bain & Company advises to bust silos by building cross-channel and cross-functional capabilities. For example, the new popular “click and collect” option to buy online and pick up in-store requires coordination and quick decisions across e-commerce, supply chain, brick-and-mortar stores, planning, merchandising and marketing. The necessary communications and interactions include the online channels’ access to local stores’ inventory and stores reserving items for buyers and delivering consistent quality customer service at pick up. Then supply chain and planning need to have visibility of inventory movement. Of course, from the very beginning, marketing needs to showcase the offering to customers with relevant communications and eye-catching promotions.

The connected consumer demands a seamless customer experience. This means transitioning traditional silos and enhancing collaboration across retailers’ teams. To best accommodate connected consumers and accelerate sales, retailers must modernize their processes and clarify their omnichannel strategy.


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