Have you heard of it?

It’s a consumer practice of using your physical store to shop for products, and then making purchases online. Your store gives them the opportunity to hold products in their hands, test the products, see them in-person…all at your business’s expense, and without the profit you deserve.

They may even be using their mobile devices to compare prices whilst in your store…using your Wi-Fi.showcasing

The nerve!

How can you stop this practice? How can you fight this trend and get your brick-and-mortar shop back to making the money necessary for keeping its doors open?

Read on to learn how you can simultaneously reduce showcasing and increase your brand’s profit and growth.

Reduce Showcasing, Build your Brand

There are a number of factors that lead consumers to showcase. Here are a few of them:

  • Price: Because ecommerce sites have less overhead than your brick-and-mortar shop, they can sell products for less.
  • Delivery: Consumers don’t want to go to the hassle of standing in line at the register, carrying products to their cars and unloading them at home. Ordering online and getting delivery to their doors is easier.
  • Information: Online, consumers can read instructions and reviews, and learn to use the product. When shopping in-person, they don’t always get that.
  • Indecision: In cases when a consumer isn’t sure whether she’ll buy in the store or just browse, her mind is often made up with a lack of stock, a lack of service or a poor shopping experience.
  • Time: Some shoppers prefer to browse and make purchases in their free time, when your store is closed.

As you can imagine, showcasing can be detrimental to your brand. What can you do? How can you keep showcasing from robbing sales from your business?

Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Invest in talented sales associates. Put them on the floor with customers. Equip them with all the information they’ll need to answer questions about the products on your sales floor. Teach them to avoid high-pressure sales, and to instead focus on service. Prepare them to offer product reviews, complete instructions…all the things consumers can find on the ecommerce sites you’re competing with.
  • Offer delivery. This is a big perk offered by ecommerce sites; however, there’s no reason you can’t compete in this area. If you can find a way to work delivery costs into the price of your products, do it—or at least keep delivery costs at a minimum. According to Forrester Consulting and UPS, the number-one reason (at 44%) for online shopping cart abandonment is shipping cost. This is good news for your store; however, it also offers a lot of insight into the mistakes you shouldn’t make.
  • Take it to the car. Remember the days when young men accompanied you to your car to help you unload your groceries into the trunk? If you don’t…well, it did exist. Because half of the delivery conundrum happens from the store to customers’ vehicles, consider eliminating this problem by staffing your store with a person to offer this type of customer service. “I’ll take this to your car” could be the deciding factor in making that purchase.
  • Create an environment they love. Work with a retail marketer to choose the types of scents, sounds (music), and sights (colours, lighting) that will spur buying. This is an entirely psychological proposition, and subtleties will make all the difference.
  • Price items competitively. This is one of the biggest reasons that people will walk out of your store. It can be difficult, since you have more overhead to cover than ecommerce sites. Do what you can, within reason, whilst trying to avoid a price war.
  • Keep your shelves stocked. If a shopper showed up ‘on the fence,’ it’s easier to sway them to make a purchase if the product is readily available, instead of having to be ordered. Very few consumers will be willing to come back to the store a second time to pick up the item. At the very least, if this happens, ship it to their home or office for free.
  • Make advantages clear. Assume that every consumer who enters your store has already been flirting with your product online. Post signs around the store to alert them to the benefits of buying in-person, without directly slamming online buying. Have your salespeople highlight these rewards in a service-focussed manner.
  • Offer coupons. In-store-only offers will do the work of two, by getting people into your store and giving them the incentive to buy there. Find out what your ideal customers want most, and give that to them in the form of products, offers and service.
  • Integrate digital. There is a massive push to complement shop sales with online sales. Give some serious thought to this. You could be missing out on a massive number of opportunities by inadvertently sending showcasers to your competition…instead of to your very own ecommerce site. Like it or not, we are living and doing business in the digital age. Adapt or die, they say—and it’s very likely that this advice applies to your brand.

Showcasing is a fact of business life in the year 2016, and will continue to compound as a problem or a solution. The choice is yours. You can spend time bemoaning the curse that is showcasing, or you can choose to jump one step ahead of your customers’ expectations and work with it.

What will you choose to do? If you’re choosing to make your brand more visible and more attractive/engaging to your ideal customers, then you’re ready to learn how create a strategy and put it into action. Contact us for more information on the programmes we offer—from casual, no-cost subscriptions to reasonably priced investments in your fast-growth brand—all for highly motivated business owners like you.

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