Small businesses: turn showrooming into sales

Credit to Barber Design Consultancy, London, U.K.

Many small retailers have a clientele who are loyal. These repeat customers would inform the store owner or manager if they were seeing competitive prices that might tempt them to shop elsewhere. However, if you, as a retailer, are wondering whether you are missing some sales or are watching competitors tap into a new market that interests you, then read on.

Small retailers who want to convert some of the smartphone shopping crowd into customers, might want to consider making a few changes to capture their share of this group.

What is “showrooming?” to quote a previous post showrooming is “…inspecting merchandise in a physical store, then purchasing the identical product from an online merchant; using a physical store as a showroom for an online merchant.” The post was written in August 2012. Now, showrooming is widely reported in the media – mostly about sales lost by Best Buy, Target and Wall Mart, and how they are changing their strategies to stop the bleeding and take advantage of the phenomena. However, little information seems to be available to smaller local or regional retailers.

There are some things that the large stores are doing that might give a smaller retailer some ideas. Here is part of Target’s antidote to holiday showrooming.

Target’s policy on price matching…

  •  Excludes “Marketplace” prices:  Price matched items must be sold by,,,, or; prices from 3rd party sellers on these websites will not be honored.
  •  Excludes Target stores in Alaska and Hawaii.
  •  Limit quantity of 1 online price match per identical item, per guest.
  •  Must bring in original Target receipt when requesting the price match by Dec. 16.
  •  The retail price must be shown on the competitor’s website and must be valid at the time the price match is requested.
  •  The item must be the identical item, brand name, size, weight, color, quantity and model number.
  •  Online prices from Nov. 22–26 are excluded.
  •  Excludes online prices from competitors not listed above.

To read all of Target’s policy, please visit this link.

From the above, it appears that as long as Target trains their associates/employees, then they will be able to manage showrooming.

I am not suggesting that you copy Target’s policy and make it yours. Now that you are aware of the details of Target’s policy, you can now engage a shoowroomer. The Target policy can be a conversation starter that allows you or your employees to deliver your value proposition. We all know the advantages to buying locally. Those advantages could be a part of your value proposition. Bill Horvath of Toledo Choose Local posted a study that might help.

Taking the time for detecting showroomers during a crowded holiday shopping day, is not conducive to business – you have more important things to do. Post a large QR Code for showroomers to scan either in your window, door or in the middle of the store or both. What to have on your mobile landing page? This is just one page, not a whole Web site. How about your logo and some text that reads, “Ask us if you see a better price online. We would appreciate the opportunity to help you purchase from local businesses.” You do not necessarily have to identify your QR Code with an explanation. The majority of people who showroom know what QR Codes are.

The Blade can help local businesses with showrooming issues.

Many consider The Blade to be only a newspaper. While we are a great newspaper, we are also a top-notch news video, audio, and Web content producer, with millions of visitors to our Web site,, and tens of thousands of users of our iPad, iPhone, Android and Kindle news applications. We can assist you to reach your target market and engage your customers and prospects.

About Paul Hem

Innovator, team-player, who leads by example and loves to win.
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