Do you "showroom" shop then buy online?


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I am helping a local aquatic garden center with their online marketing and tech support. One of the challenges they have with their retail shop and sales is "showrooming".

Showrooming is the practice where consumers use local retail shops to gather info on products they then go online to purchase. It may be involve trying on a particular shoe or simply holding a product in their hands to get a sense of the quality. One they have satisfied their curiosity, they leave and buy online.

In the aquatic garden shop, they are faced with customers who come into the store and, pardon the pun, "fish" for information about their pond problems or questions, then end up leaving empty handed, or with small token courtesy purchases. These same customers later return to discuss problems they have with the products they bought online.

I'm curious if any of you have been on the giving or receiving end of this phenomena (that admittedly, we all do to some degree), and...

1) If you are a showroomer, what would you need from a retailer to convince you to buy local vs online?

2) If you are a retail shop, what steps have you taken to convert showrooming shoppers to loyal paying customers?
 

DutchMuch

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1) If you are a showroomer, what would you need from a retailer to convince you to buy local vs online?

2) If you are a retail shop, what steps have you taken to convert showrooming shoppers to loyal paying customers?
1) Good service, Not bugging me (like a car salesman) and following me all around, yet being helpful and polite, as well as holding a steady conversation (if it comes up), have DISPLAYS of an item or product that can give you a feel of what it will look like in your care (whatever that item is, a picture frame, anything).



2) Getting to know the customer (Extremely important), Listening to the customer and acknowledging them and not just nodding your head, basically #1 above.
 
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I am helping a local aquatic garden center with their online marketing and tech support. One of the challenges they have with their retail shop and sales is "showrooming".

Showrooming is the practice where consumers use local retail shops to gather info on products they then go online to purchase. It may be involve trying on a particular shoe or simply holding a product in their hands to get a sense of the quality. One they have satisfied their curiosity, they leave and buy online.

In the aquatic garden shop, they are faced with customers who come into the store and, pardon the pun, "fish" for information about their pond problems or questions, then end up leaving empty handed, or with small token courtesy purchases. These same customers later return to discuss problems they have with the products they bought online.

I'm curious if any of you have been on the giving or receiving end of this phenomena (that admittedly, we all do to some degree), and...

1) If you are a showroomer, what would you need from a retailer to convince you to buy local vs online?

2) If you are a retail shop, what steps have you taken to convert showrooming shoppers to loyal paying customers?
Although I hate to admit it..... At 63 years old Sarah and I have become almost complete Online buyers, Amazon is our best friend, we pay for everything by Debit card, or by bank draft, even our Church contribution. All that being said I still remember how to do it the old way
 
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I much prefer to support the brick and mortar stores, but they have to work to earn my business. I'm not going to shop in a place where the employees are undereducated, under motivated, uninterested, and uninspired. I've walked into stores where the employees never looked up from their phones to greet me or ask if they could help. Or they just continue talking amongst themselves and ignore the customers milling about in the store. Know your product, educate your employees, and act interested when I walk in and you'll most likely get my money, even if your price is a bit more. I understand the concept of overhead and I'm willing to pay extra for the in-person experience. But if I have to educate myself online before I shop, then I might as well shop online, too.
 
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Personally, I dislike shopping in stores cause of pricing, and cause I like to research and compare and it's way easier online
eta Lack of selection is often the reason I end up shopping online
 

sissy

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Thing is that you need to trust them to sell you only what you need and not everything that you don't need .They need to be honest and open and knowledgeable .I hate when they pretend to be interested .Besides that nearest place that sells garden pond supplies here is over an hour away and it is an aquascape store and they tell you on the phone they have the product so you go and they are out of stock .
 

DutchMuch

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I've walked into stores where the employees never looked up from their phones to greet me or ask if they could help.
THIS
is why I cant find a job. (I don't even own a phone and im sixteen)
 

Meyer Jordan

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I much prefer to support the brick and mortar stores, but they have to work to earn my business. I'm not going to shop in a place where the employees are undereducated, under motivated, uninterested, and uninspired. I've walked into stores where the employees never looked up from their phones to greet me or ask if they could help. Or they just continue talking amongst themselves and ignore the customers milling about in the store. Know your product, educate your employees, and act interested when I walk in and you'll most likely get my money, even if your price is a bit more. I understand the concept of overhead and I'm willing to pay extra for the in-person experience. But if I have to educate myself online before I shop, then I might as well shop online, too.
I must basically agree with this post by @Lisak1. Though not running a 'brick and mortar. storefront operation,in my years as a contractor, I did provide retail opportunities for customers.
The absolutely most important thing that a B & M can do that an on-line operation can't do, at least not nearly as well, is to provide exemplary service before, during and after the sale. To accomplish this you and all of your staff need to be fully educated with the performance (the HOW) of every product and the science behind the need for each product (the What and WHY). As silly as this may sound, you and your staff needs to know more than your most educated customer.
This is exactly the philosophy that I practiced during all the years that I was in business and, even though I have been retired for over 2 years, I still get referral calls from people trying to talk me out of retirement if only just for them. I have been told by many that the word on the street is that I am still the go-to guy. I do still occasionally take on a consulting job, but only if it can be done remotely.
Reducing all of this to one simple sentence-
You have to sell yourself before you can sell your product.
 

Jhn

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No, I don't showroom shop then buy online. I tend to research products i buy on my own.

I agree with Meyer. Being a contractor myself albeit in a different field. A B&M store can beat online retailers on service for the most part. One of the products we offer and sub out to a local company ( when we are busy) is because if anything goes wrong with the product they will come out and service it . I tend to push this company's product to my customers for this very reason.

All this being said I try to support my LFS, or local pond shops to a point. However, I do find myself buying things online more and more. Especially the critters/plants I keep in my tanks and ponds. Unfortunately, around me the fish especially are much healthier when bought online than from most of my LFS's.
 
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i hate inaccurate zoning of the plants. I'll look elsewhere online.

I hate inaccurate water tolerance of plants... every time I walk into our local garden place and I see obedient plants needing a "moist soil" I just shake my head.

If I see a fish dead or dying I would never buy fish from that store.
 
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I don't showroom shop. Perhaps the other way around. I can do better research online than in a retail outlet. Sometimes I will make my selection online and then purchase locally if I am concerned about shipping issues.

I make a lot of purchases online due to better selection and convenience.
 

MoonShadows

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I seldom show room shop, but when I do and then buy online, it's usually because the B&M price is way too high or the salesperson really does not know the product. For most hard goods, I tend to research and buy online, giving my business to whoever sells the product I want for the best price and lowest shipping cost.
 
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For the expensive product... unfortunately online always has better prices. It's hard to compete with amazon when a lot of their prices are low and their delivery is free for prime. You're almost better off putting most of your products online so others can see them. I'm talking about pumps, filters etc.
 

MoonShadows

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For the expensive product... unfortunately online always has better prices. It's hard to compete with amazon when a lot of their prices are low and their delivery is free for prime. You're almost better off putting most of your products online so others can see them. I'm talking about pumps, filters etc.
Be careful with Prime. Some manufacturers mark up the cost of the product to cover the "free" prime shipping. Whenever I find something I want on Amazon, I usually check a few other sources; most times Amazon Prime is the best price, but I have found instances where another site WITH shipping is cheaper than Amazon Prime. What I usually do is google the item and then click on "Shopping" at the top to check a few other places.
 
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I don't "showroom" in the sense of going somewhere explicitly to check something out and then buying online. But I do wander through (to take and example) the pond section of various garden places around here. I'll buy things that make sense, but price is important. Just to give two examples. When I see previous generation Laguna pumps in faded boxes marked at 50% over the online price of the current ones, I'm not going to buy. When I see water plants in 4" pots (the small ones) at $14/each, no, I'm not going to buy that.

This summer I've been going to a lot of places to take a look at fish. But I've got enough now that I'm looking for something that stands out, so most times I leave empty handed.
 
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The only successful response a brick and mortar store has that I have seen work is to offer price matching and t emphasize service.
It may negatively affect profits, but that's today's reality.
If the price matching results in selling for below cost, then perhaps a discussion with the supplier is in order.
Make sure the potential customer considers shipping delays/costs when purchasing online and the difficulties of dealing with returns and warranties.
 

MoonShadows

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Many companies set MSRP and MAP pricing for their retailers . Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price and Minimum Advertised Price. Many online retailers can sell at the MAP price and still make a handsome profit because of the low overhead. It is tough for a B&M place to sell at the MAP price because of their overhead...unless they are moving a ton of products.
 

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