28 Apr 6 Tips To Avoid Being Another Amazon Showroom
Amazon is the biggest retailer on the planet, surpassing Walmart in the first half of 2015. But what Amazon has accomplished far outstrips anything ever seen before in the retail space. Even when shoppers are at other stores, they are still shopping at Amazon.
We largely have Amazon to thank for the term “showrooming.” This is what happens when a person goes to a store to look at a product without the intention to buy from that store. They just get a little hands-on time with the product, and take the opportunity to price match online, usually at Amazon. With one click they can order from Amazon on their smartphone and have it delivered the next day for less than they could have purchased it at the store they are in. If your store hasn’t already become an Amazon showroom, here are six tips to help keep it from happening:
1. Offer Better Payment Options
Sure, they can get it from Amazon for less money overall. But if it is a big-ticket item, they may find a financing option more appealing. By providing an opportunity to make payments, you gain a competitive advantage. Getting it tomorrow is nice. Getting it today is nicer, especially when they don’t have to pay for it all at once.
2. Make Customer Service a Selling Point
Amazon has excellent customer service for an online store. You can do even better. You can offer delivery, setup, and answer questions. You can also process returns when things don’t work out. Returning items to Amazon involves answering some questions online, waiting for a return receipt to be processed, printing it out, refilling the printer with ink and then trying it again, repackaging the product (good luck with that), finding a UPS store, taking it in, and hoping it will be processed soon. It is easy for you to do better. Make sure the customer knows that you will.
3. Shift to a Relational Sales Model
Retailers are used to transactional sales where a person walks into the store. You sell them something, and they make a purchase and walk away. The transaction is complete. A relational model is more about the next 10 sales than the current opportunity. If a person uses your store to showroom, that’s a problem. That is a human being in your store with money and the intention to spend it. By establishing a relationship with that customer, you can keep her coming back. More than the products and prices, that relationship will convert a short-term showroom lurker into a long-term customer.
4. Don’t Be Adversarial
Showrooming is the current reality, and it is here to stay. The person checking prices with their smartphone in your store is not your enemy, but your opportunity. A lot of times, they are not trying to see where they can get a better price. They are checking online reviews to learn as much about the product as they can without bothering you. They can compare one product with another. By the time they talk to you, they are very informed and ready to purchase. Do not assume an adversarial stance when someone pulls out their smartphone. They are just as likely doing you a favor.
5. Price Match
Sometimes, the customer is absolutely right. The item really can be found everywhere else for less. Don’t turn the MSRP into a religion. If a customer is obviously showrooming, see if you can match the price. Do a bit of research. If the price can’t be matched, offer something of equal value, such as an extended warranty. It is better to get a few transactional customers at cost than to lose all your customers to better prices elsewhere.
6. Make Them Glad They Came
So you lose a sale here and there. Big deal! You lose sales all the time. You just never see their faces because they never come to the store. Be happy for anyone who makes the trip into your store. And regardless of the outcome, make them very glad they stopped by. If you want your store full of satisfied customers, make sure it is full of happy shoppers. Remember, you can lose the sale and still gain the customer.
Amazon is here to stay. But if you follow these tips, you will be too.