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Bricks and Carry vs. Clicks and Tarry

April 8, 2013


Show rooming describes the act of examining goods in a brick and carry store but making the actual purchase online (click and tarry). In the age of smartphones, tablets and ubiquitous price information, show rooming has become a real issue for traditional retailers.

Today’s infographic, created in cooperation with the American Association of Advertising Agencies, illustrates why and how consumers engage in showrooming. Understanding the motives behind showrooming is crucial for retailers who want to convert showroomers into buyers.

Show rooming has been assailed as a real threat to brick and carry businesses. Working from that belief alone is inadequate. Brick and Carry (and every single other business) faces threats everyday. The fittest are those who understand a threat and begin to respond.

Let’s begin with what are the advantages of ‘bricks and carry’ over ‘clicks and tarry’:

1. Location

2. Service

3. Human interaction

The brick and carry enable the shopper the obvious tactile advantage. But here is where brick and carry fail to take advantage of that advantage, store associates. The best trained and motivated associates know how to identify opportunities and assist the buyer. They also are able to explain the features and benefits, and the other products necessary to operate the product in the manner the purchaser desires. The stores with unengaged, untrained and unmotivated associates suffer in sales. You know the ones referred to here. They are the stores where you have to hunt for an associate who will look at you, isn’t running to their break and will take the time to be more than a “I’ll go see if we have it in the stock room” associate.

The brick and carry have the advantage for on site services; on the spot refunds, exchanges for other items, repair, set up, and possible classes and training. One opportunity not seen exercised is exclusivity. Meaning, if you didn’t purchase it from us or another click and carry, you will have to go back to your online service. Has anyone ever booked a hotel online, not through the hotel reservation system, for a bargain price? I have and will never do it again. I deserved a refund because I could not arrive on time. Their response, you’ll have to go back to the .com you booked the reservation. That turned out to be a sterling example of paying a little more for service.

Then there is the human interaction. This opportunity involves everyone from the door greeter to the stock room guy, up to the managers. Smiling and being polite, looking at a potential buyer when speaking and listening, and being anxious to assist. These are experiences one does not receive on line.

If price is the main motivation for the show roomer, then there is an absence in value in the brick and carry price. Brick and carry would be best advised to demonstrate the value by emphasizing the brick and carry experience and realize that servicing the price conscience may not be their target market. In summary, respond by using the advantages one has to compete and focus on the true target market.


From → business, Strategy

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