SHOWROOMING is a relatively new term in the retailing industry. Time was when a showroom was the area where you went to see the merchandise and then whipped out your wallet and bought it.
Today you go to the showroom (a store) and view the merchandise but then whip out your smart phone, scan the bar code on the product and then go to the closest store selling it cheaper to buy it.
This has become a huge issue for many retailers, large and small. Best Buy is consistently used as a showroom for internet shoppers who seem to not get the buying experience of “feeling and touching” the merchandise when they go to the online stores. So, instead, they head over to local stores to “sample” the merchandise and then if they like it they purchase online or scan the barcode to find it cheaper in the neighborhood. And, many times they are saving only a few dollars, but are ruining the core business of the stores they do this at.
To combat showrooming many retailers have been asking their suppliers to use special proprietary bar codes that are inter-store only. In other words a Best Buy’s items may be bar coded with their own sku’s – making it impossible to shop the same item out of the store using the bar code. Of course, this only slows down the perpetrator, as let’s face it all you need to do is type in the name of the item into Google and you’re off to the races.
Is the customer always right? If you see someone scanning codes at your store would you stop them? Would you say something? All of these shoppers love the idea of having their local hometown stores along Main Street, but at the end of the day they want cheaper prices. Just another dagger in the independent store owner’s heart.
Is your store having any issues with this problem, and if so, how are you combating it. Share this with our readers.