Recently InternetRetailer.com reported that Target is pulling Amazon’s Kindle readers from its shelves due to a phenomemon called “showrooming.” A practice where shoppers with smartphones visit a local store to see a product in person and then buy the product online–most often from a competitor–showrooming is hitting bricks and mortar retailers hard.
So, does showrooming affect B2B organizations?
It very well might–especially if you know a large retailer like AmazonSupply.com is selling the same products you offer–and you provide a location where buyers can visit and scope out your product first hand.
Does this mean that you should close your physical locations? No, of course not. To combat the trend of showrooming you must first ask yourself WHY potential customers are showrooming in the first place.
Does your website provide enough product information? The root of all showrooming is a lack of clear information online about a product. People visit local stores when all of their questions aren’t answered. If you are a tile flooring distributor, customers may be visiting your local dealers to view tile colors in person. Translation: Your color swatches aren’t providing a clear enough view of the product to allow customers to purchase without seeing it first. Solution: Get better images of your tile. Get up close and personal. Show the glazing and finish. Make the color swatch feel real.
Does your site provide alternate views? If you are an electronics distributor and you don’t show what the cord for an item looks like but it’s required and not included, you might find your customers stopping by the store to see for themselves first hand. Translation: Your customers want to know what the cord looks like and you aren’t telling them. Solution: Offer alternative images that show all sides of the product. Remember your customers can’t touch your product–so pictures will need to do the heavy lifting! Also consider beefing up your product content to include details about the cord.
Are your prices too high? This is a tough one for most B2B organizations with physical stores that are competing with online retailers. Your prices are likely to be higher based on necessity and higher overhead costs and price drives a majority of online purchases. Solution: Can you offer a low-price guarantee to customers who ask? You should–it could keep the sale with your organization over an online competitor. Can you provide additional service or resources that the online competition can’t? Customers will always pay for value.
Reviewing your website and considering how you can combat the showrooming trend BEFORE it becomes an issue will save your organization a considerable amount of hassle–and revenue. Make sure your B2B ecommerce site gives the information your customers need to buy from you and aprice they can’t refuse to ensure they don’t go wandering off to the competition!
To learn how you can maximize the power of your B2B ecommerce site, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.