Webrooming has finally eclipsed showrooming in popularity, which is welcome news for retailers who depend on brick-and-mortar store sales. While showrooming refers to the phenomenon of customers testing products in-stores and then buying online, webrooming refers to when customers do their product research online and then make their purchase in stores. According to AdWeek, 69 percent of people with smartphones ages 18-36 have webroomed, while only 50 percent of this demographic report having showroomed.
To take advantage of the increase in webrooming, you’ll need to understand why so many customers still prefer the in-store experience over buying online and how to develop your mobile presence in order to drive customer traffic into your store. Consider how the following factors can inspire customers to put down their computers and make their purchase in person.
Money isn’t everything
Price is not the main factor in determining whether a customer opts to buy in-store versus online. In fact, a Columbia Business School study concluded that 31.7 percent of customers place the highest value on the shopping experience, while 30.2 percent prefer shopping in-store over buying online. This means that nearly 62 percent of retail customers aren’t doing their shopping based on price alone, which creates an opportunity for brick and mortar retailers to differentiate themselves by providing an unforgettable in-store experience.
Your store needs to be not only an inviting place to visit, but somewhere people want to spend time. Are the restrooms easily accessible? Is there an area where customers can sit and talk?
Social experiences are key
Successful companies are monetizing their in-store experience by creating loungeable, relaxed in-store environments where customers can interact with one another and experience products at their leisure. Since 72 percent of digital customers consider their in-store experience the most important thing when making a purchase, it’s equally important that they’re greeted by a well-trained and friendly staff.
According to RetailDive, 62 percent of shoppers go to stores in order to see, touch and feel the products before they make a purchase. This means your store needs to be not only an inviting place to visit, but somewhere people want to spend time. Are the restrooms easily accessible? Is there an area where customers can sit and talk? Consider how you’re making your store enjoyable for customers, then consider how you can highlight these strengths.
You can appeal to efficient customers by making stores easily navigable through strategic product placement, as they prioritize the ability to find products in a timely fashion and with minimal obstacles.
Shipping delays don’t exist in a store
The immediate access to products when buying in person motivates 49 percent of webrooming customers to make their final purchases in-store. These customers research the product online, but they don’t want to wait anywhere from two days to a month to receive it via standard shipping. These customers prioritize the ability to find products in a timely fashion and with minimal obstacles.
You can appeal to efficient customers by making stores easily navigable through strategic product placement, as they prioritize the ability to find products in a timely fashion and with minimal obstacles. Monitoring the flow of traffic in your stores, adjusting inventory placement, and creating spacious walkways will also give you an advantage over online competitors by providing time-pressed customers quick access to your most popular items. (Need inspiration? Check out this talk hosted by retail consultants Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, which includes a helpful section on store design.)
Omnichannel leads the way
It takes a strong digital strategy to make in-store sales. And your digital strategy doesn’t just refer to your website, it also refers to your brand’s social media profiles and mobile presence. The Waxwing of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a perfect example of a small retailer using social media to drive in-store sales. With daily store photos and a constant stream of new product photos, The Waxwing stands out from other small businesses.
Encourage associates to post daily on-brand updates to social media and to interact with your followers when in-store traffic is slower.
The Waxwing also has a quick response time on social media and interacts with customers with a consistent, enthusiastic brand voice. It should come as no surprise that the store is always packed. You can follow The Waxwing’s lead by encouraging associates to post daily on-brand updates to social media and to interact with your followers when in-store traffic is slower.
Webrooming customers want to know everything about a product before they come to your store to make a purchase. Empower these customers to do their research digitally by making sure the products on your website, mobile app and social media sites are always up to date.
Own your store’s webrooming experience
By fully optimizing your online and physical presence – as well as utilizing the available technologies to integrate the two – you’ll be ready to engage your webrooming customers with a seamless omnichannel experience and exceed their expectations.
Photo by Jenna Day via Unsplash