Combined with the ever-increasing risk that shops like La Senza will join the ranks of Blockbuster, HMV and Clinton Cards, some high street retailers may feel anxious about the results of a new customer behaviour survey by The Logic Group. The startling findings reveal that one in five shoppers only go into an actual shop to see something before they buy it online.
The business solutions provider was investigating the idea of ‘showrooming’, a trend that sees prospective buyers take photos of an item and uses apps to see if they can get it cheaper elsewhere. The Logic Group also found that four in ten of these ‘showroomers’ end up making purchases from a different retailer.
While this could be perceived as harrowing news for the high street, it highlights that physical shops still have a unique draw: customers want to see and feel the products before they’re prepared to part with their money. So if you can get the customer into your shop, surely there’s a way to convince them to stay?
If what’s driving customers away is the price of the product elsewhere, you can offer price matching services in store and even encourage people to use the internet to see if anyone can beat your offer. This promotes trust between you and your customer, and is one of the reasons John Lewis has reported strong sales in recent years. This British department store has taken its ‘never knowingly undersold’ policy to the next level and offered customers free Wi-Fi in store, allowing them to ‘showroom’ as much they like.
John Lewis tells its customers it will beat any offer they find elsewhere, which significantly increases the likelihood that a prospective buyer will make their way to the till. If the customer can walk away with the product they want – for the price they want it – you can save them the hassle of ordering it online. It’s a win-win scenario for retailers and consumers.
John Lewis isn’t the only retailer to adopt a price matching policy. Curry’s will beat a better price by 10 per cent. Virgin Holidays will match the price or give you a full refund if you can find a better offer within 48 hours of booking. If STA Travel can’t beat a competitor’s quote, they’ll give you £1,000 in travel credit to spend. If you do your shopping at Tesco, they’ll automatically scan your goods to determine whether the total shop would have been cheaper at Asda, Sainsbury’s or Morrisons – if it comes out more expensive, you’ll receive a voucher for the difference.
The more automated and immediate the price match service, the more convenient it is for the customer; and the more likely they’ll feel incentivised to shop with you instead of a competitor. Each of these shops is speaking its customers’ language – showrooming and all. By doing so, they’re combining the cost-saving benefits of the internet with the tactile benefits of the physical shop. And sending more customers out the door with purchases in hand.
Worried price matching will reduce your turnover? Pick up some great tips about saving money and reducing financial risks within your supply chain with Graydon’s free whitepaper. Then stop back on Friday for the last blog of our High Street series, which is all about using data to promote cross-platform sales.
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