In the last year, showrooming has been a hot-button topic of conversation among retailers all over the country. In market halls, we've heard retailers swap stories about consumers with their noses in the phones, and while touring showrooms on our Retail Road Trips, our sources tell us how they're battling showrooming every day.
The 2018 ART + IDS Conference last week was no different. While listening to the "Selling Luxury" seminar, speaker Jason McNeely lamented how easy it is now for consumers to do price checks on products as they're looking at them in stores, but he did have a solution.
McNeely recommended all lighting and home furnishings showrooms have as much product information — dimensions, colors, finishes, sizes, materials, bulb types, fabrics available, etc. — printed on or near the product.
Sound a bit obvious? Maybe, but here's why displaying as much information as possible may be a useful tactic for stopping customers from showrooming.
Why product details stop showrooming
In his seminar, McNeely said that customers often decide to reach for their phones in the first place because one of two things has happened: They either can't find the information they need on a product or an associate isn't available. In some cases, both may be true. While some may venture off to find a sales associate to ask for help, others will just reach into their pockets and research the product themselves — and they might just look at price while they're at it.
Consumers know they can pretty much find any information that they want online. So long as they have the manufacturer name and the name of the product (the Abruzzo pendant from Eurofase, for example), then they can find all the information that you're not readily providing to them. And while some manufacturers do not disclose prices online, many do, and if those customers are looking at dimensions and fabric options, they'll probably start looking at prices too. By then, you may have lost the sale completely.
Nowadays, most consumers have already done some research before they came to your lighting or home furnishings showroom, and it feels second nature for many to have their phones in hand while they shop. But for those who don't already have their phones out as they're walking through your showroom, a lack of available information will surely drive them into their purses or pockets, McNeely said.
Providing product information front and center eliminates the need for a consumer to consult his or her phone. It may not stop every consumer from whipping out a phone, but it may delay them until a sales associate can come in and make the sale.
What you can do now
Stroll through your showroom and take a look at your product tags. What kind of information is available?
If you were displaying the Abruzzo pendant, you would want consumers to know that it comes in three different sizes and two finishes. You should also list the dimensions of those sizes and make sure the tag specifies which size is on display. If you had this sofa in Midnight Velvet from Gus Modern on display, you would want to tell customers about the different leg finishes available as well as the fabric options.
You should also list any compatibility issues, especially with smart home products. Does this ceiling fan work with Google Home as well as Amazon Alexa? Tell customers how these products can blend with their existing smart products.
Of course, a detailed product tag isn't a substitution for a knowledgeable associate — another big part of McNeely's lecture. Your associates play a vital roll in reducing showrooming. They offer personalized service that the internet can't match. No associate can remember every single product dimension in the showroom, but the best associates are familiar with every available product and can make the best recommendations based on what the client needs.
You may not be able to stop every customer from showrooming, but with detailed product tags, you may deter more customers and keep them engaged with your store — not their phones.
How do you handle showrooming? Share with us in the comments!
Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels