The retail industry is going through a dramatic revolution with an unprecedented impact of tech-savvy customers indulging in one-click purchases. From checking online reviews for products to comparing prices on different websites, consumers have multiple options at bay to keep retailers on their toes.

Two principal phenomena that are defining the retail ecosystem today are ‘Showrooming’ – a practice of browsing products in-store but actually purchasing them online and ‘Webrooming’ – where shoppers research for products online but eventually purchase them offline in physical stores.

Retailers across the world are facing a challenge of leaking revenue owing to either one of the above phenomena. But can leveraging both trends be a win-win situation for all the parties involved?

Embrace Interchanging Retail Trends

According to an independent study, 46% consumers showroom while 69% webroom. Also, a Forrester Research study predicts that web rooming will result in $1.8 trillion in sales by 2017. These stats show that while consumers want to avail the benefits of online shopping (convenience, discounts), they still crave for an in-store retail experience, either due to the look and feel factor or due to sizing and personal preferences issue.

One common attribute that stands out is the consumer’s need for a seamless shopping experience –with respect to both the channel and the platform. This observation proves the fact that retailers need to be present across different channels (in-store, mobile, social, web) and improve their customer engagement strategy to provide consistent shopping experiences.

Omnichannel Customer Engagement is Key

Online shopping has taken on a new dimension with the emergence of mobile platforms that offer a user-friendly, intuitive shopping interface. In this context, showrooming and webrooming are becoming more relevant than ever before. According to another Forrester Research study, smartphone and tablet commerce will reach $293 billion in sales by 2018. Smart retailers should realize what can attract and retain mobile-shoppers – from detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, and product availability information to easy price comparisons.

Brands can enhance their store experience with exclusive apps for in-store shoppers or by synchronizing mobile payments and mobile loyalty programs. Having well-trained staff with knowledge of multi-channel inventory or a user-friendly website with a strong e-commerce engine will also help influence consumer purchase decisions.

Implementing an omnichannel approach is the best way to stay ahead of the curve to handle these new changes and trends in retail value chain. It’s all about providing shoppers with one digital channel that runs across multiple platforms to ensure an enhanced retail experience. Technology is a great enabler to balance out both showrooming and webrooming trends. Retailers need to step up and implement the right technology measures to cater to their customers’ shopping expectations and offer superior, enriching experience across all platforms and channels.

 

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