According to the 2012 Vibes Mobile Consumer Report, a whopping 90% of shoppers go shopping at retail stores with their smartphones in hand.
The study also showed that nearly half of all consumers use their mobile phones to feel better about their purchase by scanning the product barcode and searching online for more product information.
What is Showrooming?
Showrooming is when a consumer visits a physical store to check out a product but then purchases the product online. Often they use their mobile phone to search online for competitive pricing compared to the in-store price.
Why It Happens
Showrooming happens because most people prefer seeing and touching the merchandise they are considering buying in-person but those products can often be found for cheaper online through sites like Amazon, Overstock, and Ebay. So local stores, whether intentional or not, become showrooms for products.
Many retail stores (especially small, local stores) have failed to keep up with the pace of e-commerce and offer their products for sale online. By not having a strong online presence, sales are increasingly lost to online operations with lower prices. This is especially true for merchants that sell electronics.
How Mobile Marketing Helps
Some internet marketing savvy companies like Target have setup displays in their stores that showcase the top 20 toys of the season along with a QR code for each toy that lets consumers scan the code with their mobile phone to buy them online and have them shipped to their home. This mobile marketing is clearly an added convenience for shoppers that will be well appreciated when checkout lines are too long.
Other mobile marketing tactics that companies are using to combat showrooming include mobile coupons sent directly to a shopper’s phone that they can in-turn show to the cashier when checking out.
Mobile Shopping Apps
Custom smartphone apps are also being used enhance the in-store shopping experience. Ikea for example, has a custom app that allows you to scan an item in their store with your smartphone and it will bring up great looking inspiration photos of how to decorate your home with that piece.
Shopkick is an app lets users earn “kicks” aka reward points by checking-in when you walk into one of 7,000 participating retailers’ stores. And as an added bonus, if you are actually buying something, you can link your credit card and earn more towards a future splurge.