As shoppers embrace the smartphone, the threat of mobile price checking looms large for many business owners. Showrooming, or viewing an item in a retail store before purchasing it online, has been brought to an entirely new level as consumers utilize their mobile phones to browse e-commerce websites while in stores.
How can brick-and-mortar small business owners remain competitive in the internet world?
- Offer Unique Products. Take a tip from Target and ask suppliers to offer products that can only be sold in stores.
- Offer In-Store Reviews. Offer comparison information for the products that you stock to allow consumers to assess the characteristics and benefits.
- Price Match. Retail giant Best Buy is known for price matching their e-commerce competitor Amazon.com. This can be a risky tactic as many e-commerce giant’s economies of scale can’t be beat by many small business owners. It can be beneficial, however, to gain repeat business or up-sells for those unique products that can’t be found online. Make sure that price matching offers are clearly defined to a select site or sites and ensure no third-party retailers are included.
- Promote Easy Return Policies. One downside to internet shopping is product returns. Easy return policies will keep customer’s returning.
- Great Customer Service. Take the research out of the internet by employing knowledgeable and well-trained team members that can answer consumer’s questions.