Smartphones have become a regular part of our shopping experience. When we aren’t ordering products online, we’re reading web reviews to decide what to purchase or comparing prices from different vendors. Sometimes we’re doing it all in-store. Frequently, this behavior slips into showrooming.
Showrooming is when a customer visits a store to look for a product, then purchases that same product online from a different merchant instead. It has a lot to do with the senses. Customers like to know how a product looks and feels before they buy it, especially “big-ticket” products like electronics or furniture. Showrooming allows them to do so, then purchase the product at a lower price online. Thus, physical stores act more like showrooms than stores and, to the dismay of retailers, lose sales.
Showrooming isn’t new. Retailers have been working to curb it for years, and it’s become a regular part of the millennial shopping experience. According to a study published in Inc., Millennials participate in showrooming 30% of the time they shop.
Below are the top and bottom online shopping activities, including showrooming behavior, for specific categories over the last half of 2015, as reported by Global Connected Commerce.
Showrooming has proven to be especially widespread among some of the biggest names in the industry. A 2013 study conducted by Placed found that the top five retailers most at risk for experiencing showrooming are:
Bed, Bath & Beyond got an index score of 127 in the Placed study. That means “showroomers” were 27% more likely to visit Bed, Bath & Beyond than the average customer. Sears’ index score was 119. In the seven years since this survey was taken, both Sears and Bed, Bath & Beyond have gone bankrupt.
Scoring right beneath these retailers was Target. The company ranked less-at-risk with a score of 115, but still. That increases the likelihood of showroomers visiting their locations by 15%.
In the past, showrooming has been a tricky challenge to overcome, but retailers are finding increasing success combatting it by encouraging customers to participate in the opposite behavior: webrooming.
Webrooming is when customers research a product online first, then visit a brick and mortar store to inspect and purchase it. It works because approximately 80% of consumers are researching products online before making a purchase, and according to a study by Forbes, almost half of all retailers say their customers prefer to make their purchases in person. According to a study cited in Shopify, 69% of people webroom, and with the proper incentives in play, webrooming is helping retailers recapture sales.
One way you can maximize the effects of webrooming as a retailer is by switching to multichannel sales strategies, giving your brand an Amazon presence, a web presence, and/or a social media presence to go along with your brick-and-mortar locations.
Multichannel sales not only increase revenue by upping the number of avenues by which customers can reach your company, but they also allow you to create a consistent and positive customer service experience that makes purchasing straight from your business more enticing to buyers. With descriptive and optimized product listings, multichannel sales strategies can also help customers find you first when they’re doing their online research. That makes capturing a sale much easier.
Offering better in-store customer service experiences to your customers is another way to maximize the effects of webrooming for your business. Customers, especially millennial and Gen Z customers, are looking for experiences when interested in buying a product. Knowing they can have a good experience in a brick-and-mortar store (whether that’s through customer service, in-store events and deals, etc.) means they’re more likely to shop there after doing their research.
Two other incentives that can help merchants capture sales from webrooming customers are:
As webrooming becomes increasingly popular, retailers are finding more ways to minimize showrooming and make more of a profit while they’re doing it.
Learn more about multichannel sales and how to best market your brand by speaking with one of our Pattern experts through the form below.
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.