17 May, 2013

Are you being showroomed?

Showrooming is the practice of people seeing something in a physical shop, checking the price online on their smartphone, and when they find it's cheaper, walking out.

While showrooming is not illegal, it is generally embarrassing to the majority of people, who also have a careful eye on their hard earned $'s. Only the most hardened bargain hunter won't sympathise with the shop staff who may not make a sale that day, but will have contributed to an online sale with no benefit to them, or the retailer they work for.

To try to beat the showroomers, some clothing and footwear shops have introduced a "fitting fee", which is deducted from the bill if the item is purchased at the same time. Now this probably won't work for most retailers, but retailers offering unique, high end, designer items may find that this isn't a problem. However, as Vera Wang found at her exclusive Shanghai bridal boutique, the almost $500 fee to try on bridal gowns didn't go down too well, and after review decided to abolish what had been called an "appointment fee".

If you own a physical shop, how can you avoid showrooming? After all, you need to pay rent, staff wages and all those other bills that arrive each month as part of your business. To be honest, you can't really. Perhaps adopting the "if you can't beat them, join them" approach might work for your business though.

Starting an e-commerce website isn't as expensive as you might think. At Blue Hut we develop e-commerce solutions for clients using the Magento™ e-commerce platform. Used worldwide, Magento™ offers a well supported solution for e-commerce websites ranging from selling just a few products, to thousands.

If you think that moving into online sales is the next step for your business, then talk to us at Blue Hut on 403 621-3747 to discuss your e-commerce needs.