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Great thoughts, Jeff.  I think BB&B is a great example of how retailers can use showrooming behavior to their advantage.  Clearly the idea started with the actual shopper in mind.  To me, that is where retail really needs to go. 

 

Some categories require more choice editing, which to your point, is a solution that can be provided beyond simply selling the stuff.  It's also an advantage that a retailer can have over the online marketplace, because when I'm looking for a new modem, let's say, I want something that works for my system, carrier, etc.   The fear of a FAIL supercedes the cost savings for me.  I don't have time or patience to get it wrong.  Walking into Best Buy I got that help, and I bought the modem on the spot.  I didn't comparison shop, I just bought it because the associate knew my system, understood what I was looking for, and confidently pointed me to the right choice.

 

In contrast, when I needed a new printer, I also went to Best Buy.  I'm pretty confident that I know what to buy, but I still spoke to an associate.  I also pulled up that printer on my smartphone right there in the store and found it $30 cheaper somewhere else.  So the question becomes whether or not I think the help from the associate is worth the extra $30, or if I have time to wait a few days in order to save the $30. As we all know, this is Best Buy's biggest challenge right now as they are being hit hardest by the showrooming trend.  (I went for saving $30.)

 

So I do think the extent of a retailer's ability to change the showrooming behavior also depends on external factors like product complexity, shopper knowledge, etc.  All the assistance in the world won't make me spend $30 more on a printer.  Though free ink refills might.  I guess that would fall squarely into your suggestion of "solutuons" versus stuff.

 

 

1 year, 6 months ago on Why Showrooming is Good for Retail

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