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How Retail Stores Can Combat Showrooming

It's Thanksgiving Eve in the USA and that means many people are preparing for a huge feast while many more are planning how they will spend their Black Friday. Those of you reading this will probably be working very long hours on Friday.

Even though the forecasts for this season are low ,I'm hoping to see higher sales this Friday and especially Saturday since it's once again promoted as "Small Business Saturday" by American Express. Collectively, I like to refer to this entire upcoming weekend as "Black Weekend."

Even if your jewelry store isn't filled wall to wall with shoppers this weekend, the sales you make will have more to do with the in-person customer service you provide than the sales you are running. Sure, they might come in because of that Facebook promotion or the ad in the local paper, but don't let anyone simply browse your store.

Be especially mindful of people using their smartphones in your store because they might be "showrooming."

The word showrooming is used to explain how someone will shop a local store in person to see what something looks like in person only to turn around and buy it for less money online.

In fact, Best Buy's business model has suffered greatly because many people will browse through their local Best Buy store while price comparing to This internet meme reflects the Best Buy-Amazon relationship pretty well.

Do you carry designer line jewelry that can be ordered from a website? Some designers go through extreme lengths to prevent their jewelry from being sold online, while others actually have their own e-commerce site with full retail prices while the retailer is allowed to sell at a discount.

On the other hand if you carry mostly "generic" jewelry, especially those popular styles sold by BlueNile, you are very susceptible to those showrooming customers who don't care about you or your store and are just looking for the lowest price.

According to 1/4 of all customers will switch retailers if they can find a better price on the same or similar product, but they are less likely to switch if a sales associate gets involved with their in-person sale. This means you should not let anyone browse alone or say they are "just looking."

I don't know about you, but when I'm in a small retail store it's difficult for me to "just look" around without feeling like the sales associate is staring at me. Even if it's not true, it still feels that way and I imagine many other people feel the same.

Even if someone says "I'm just looking" you should initiate a friendly conversation and a chance to create a personal bond with them.


Try this: Invite them to hold a piece of jewelry that they might otherwise never ask to see with a statement like this:

"Well, let me give you something worth looking at. Here's a ______ that's pretty rare/new/exciting. It's defiantly conversation piece that you can tell your friends and family about this season."

You should also invite them to try it on so they can establish that personal connection. Who knows, maybe they won't want to take it off.

One last thought regarding showrooming. If you have a mobile website you can invite people to use it even while they are in your store. Even if they don't buy anything during that visit, you have at least shown them how to refer back to your site.

It's time to pull out all the sales tricks that will boost your holiday season, and get involved with everyone who is typing on their smartphone while in your store.

AT: 11/27/2013 12:02:47 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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