A true benefit if you know how to work it
Techopedia defines Webrooming as ‘a slang term for the consumer practice of researching products online before buying them in a physical store’.
Webrooming is a relatively new trend in shopper behavior that can work to a small business’ benefit if you know how to work it! Webrooming is the opposite of Showrooming—customers using stores as a showroom to examine products and make a decision about which to choose, but making their final purchase online. With Showrooming, small businesses can lose money when customers use their showroom to browse, then go home and buy online from somewhere else. Learning how to take advantage of Webrooming, however, can help small businesses recover the ground they have lost.
It’s always good to remember that most people prefer to buy in actual stores; the excitement of seeing, touching, even smelling their new find is more attractive than the convenience and (usually) better prices of online shopping. Also, try returning something you bought on the internet, it’s not exactly a pleasant and easy process.
To make Webrooming work for your business, you need to highlight the benefits of buying in an actual store, not a virtual one! Make shopping at your business an “experience”! A great idea is to focus on engaging customers with knowledgeable sales staff (expert advice always helps), and offer incentives like in-store smart-phone discounts or customer loyalty programs. Try to include the convenience of online shopping in the store experience by allowing customers the option of in-store pick-up of online purchases, or allowing them to order, in-store, the products they want in different colors, sizes, models, etc. Perhaps the most effective way to bring customers back into your store, and do some advertising in the process, is to engage shoppers through social media. Using location-based check-in applications like Foursquare, engaging shopper’s opinions through interaction with the business’ social media page (like a Facebook profile or Twitter account), or even encouraging customers to post photos and reviews to their own social media accounts. Get creative and get customers through your doors!