It’s not surprising that consumers are increasingly opting for the convenience and accessibility of online browsing. But many are also still drawn in by the immediacy and experience of in-store purchasing.
Combining the benefits of both online and in-store shopping, webrooming has become a popular trend with modern shoppers. Some people feel more comfortable buying certain products in person, where they can physically see, touch, try on or test the merchandise.
Many shoppers still like to go to a physical store:
- To physically touch and see the product
- Certain things like clothes need trying on or testing
- Physical retail gives you the instant gratification of taking home your purchase there and then, be it through necessity (last minute gifts for your friend whose birthday drinks later you’d totally forgotten about)… or just because sometimes it’s nice to get what you want quickly.
Stores also provide a physical connection with customers, and the opportunity for face to face interactions with your products and your staff. That’s an opportunity not to be missed.
The rise of webrooming and ROBO
In some industries, showrooming is a standard practice. Where consumers will go into a store to view the range, gather information from staff, and then make orders online for convenience or to take advantage of a deal. This is common for high value or large goods, for example furniture and white goods.
However in recent years, it’s become more apparent that while a lot of shoppers have moved their browsing and research activity to online stores, the benefits they get in a physical store mean that in many cases they will purchase there instead. This practice of browsing online and purchasing in store has been dubbed “webrooming”, or ROBO (research online, buy offline).
Shopping is about gathering information
The product experience you provide across your online platforms and in store relies on a number of factors, and the skills and expertise of many departments. From designers and stock control to eCommerce and visual merchandising, collaboration is key. You need the systems and processes in place to allow your team to deliver those experiences.
Don’t forget – The process of shopping is about consumers gathering information about products in order to make a decision.
Don’t forget – the process of shopping is about consumers gathering information about products in order to make a decision. Retailers and brands are racing to provide their customers with the most seamless and integrated shopping experience across all platforms. What they mustn’t lose sight of is the product experience must be driven by the quality of their product information. Key to getting this right is the smooth integration of business systems and processes.
A solid CRM system helps companies provide high quality customer services and marketing messages. Your product information needs the same attention to support the efforts of all sales channels.
Without good product information, a fancy new eCommerce website design will go to waste. Customers who find conflicting information at different touchpoints will lose faith in your brand. Ensuring that your product information is up to scratch will also improve your SEO. This makes sure that customers can find you in the first place.
For customers who love the instant gratification of taking home their purchase today, good product information is even more vital. Without it there’s a greater chance they’ll have to come back next week to return something that isn’t what they wanted. Goods needing to be returned or replaced lead to unsatisfied customers and lost faith in your brand, not to mention the time and money needed to correct the situation.
Expanding the shopping experience with rich product data
When it comes to standing out from the competition, you’re no longer just competing on price in order to grab a customer’s attention. As the retail game is changing and buyer habits constantly evolve. Brands have got to keep up by adapting and innovating, and providing something new. Many stores understand the need to provide more than a shopping experience, and that customers aren’t just there for information. They’ve most likely made most of their buying decisions online.
Many brands are bringing technology into the retail experience. Gadgets and gizmos to detect your perfect makeup shade or help you understand what type of running shoes you need are more and more common in the modern shopping experience. Even the seemingly simple (but realistically tricky) task of arming sales-floor staff with the information customers might ask them for. It’s rich, accurate product information that powers these technologies. These experiences are what allow retailers to maximise the value in all their store space – both the virtual and physical.
Adding value to webrooming with PIM
A seamless and engaging customer journey now involves many touchpoints. A great online experience with ease of comparison and plentiful information on all products allows customers to self-qualify.
By the time they are in your store they are primed and ready to purchase. The hard work is already out of the way to allow a smooth transition from visitor to customer.
By creating an enjoyable and interactive environment, you can maximise the opportunity by enticing them into impulse purchases or complementary products (that they may already have encountered on your website).
Consistent marketing messages and clear branding is important, but no longer enough to convince savvy modern customers of your brand and values. If you improve the way you manage information across your organisation, you’ll give your customers the confidence to browse and purchase across your channels and never worry they’ll be let down.
If you’d like to find out more about how a PIM system can enhance your customers’ product experience, contact us!