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When “Shopper” Rhymes with “Buyer”

Comparing prices online has become the shopper’s mandatory rite of passage prior to most purchases. By enabling this habit during the purchase, smartphones have, in effect, negated retailers the control of their shopper’s experience in their own store — creating a new challenge for marketers in the form of “showrooming”, where consumers check out a product in store, and then go online to buy it. In fact, our post back in December highlighted the fact that smartphones influence 5.1% of annual retail stores sales, a figure which is expected to grow to 19%, or $689 billion in brick-and-mortar transactions by 2016. And since brick-and-mortar retailers incur much higher fixed costs than online retailers, they cannot compete on price – at least in the long run.

So gone are the days when more shoppers (or footfall) translated immediately into more buyers, particularly if the retailer sells relatively costly, non-perishable items such as consumer electronics.

Now for the good news: While price is critical to maintain market share, other variables have been propelled to the front stage: according to a new report, “Showrooming: Empowering Consumer Electronics Shoppers” from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the top three drivers for purchasing in-store are:

  1. Convenience
  2. Trying and seeing the product
  3. Price

In contrast, the top ranked motivators for purchasing online are as follows:

  1. Price
  2. Convenience
  3. Selection and availability

In summary, it appears that brick-and-mortar retailers appeal to shoppers for the same reasons that the teleconference technology of the world cannot replace good old fashioned face-to-face meetings. Shoppers are able to see, touch, try the product, and experience the instant gratification that comes with its purchase.

And to maximize opportunities for conversion, mobile engagement technologies are the retailer’s best weapon. Indeed, in two previous articles (available here and here), I compiled examples of retailers which are able to increase their reach, the stickiness of their stores and multiply opportunities for conversion at every stage of the purchase process.

These simple yet effective tactics consist of linking physical assets, e.g. through QR Codes, to a mobile-optimized page so shoppers can watch demos, read comments, review product information, place an order, receive a coupon or collect points which are redeemable in-store (and much more).  In the process, a retailer will understand which collaterals work better than others and collect valuable consumer analytics to improve targeting.

Most of these tactics involve some repackaging of the content and marketing assets that retailers already have, which is much less resource-intensive than launching and promoting a fully-fledged e-commerce business. Shoppers already have all the reasons to visit their favorite stores. Now it’s time to give them all the reasons to buy.

Looking to dive deeper into ways to fight showrooming? Download our whitepaper titled “The Showrooming Effect: How Retailers Can Use QR Codes to Create Opportunity”.

For expert advice or questions on QR Codes and mobile engagement opportunities consider reaching out:
–  Visit
– Join LinkedIn Group “Exchanging Smarter Ideas on Mobile Engagement
– Or, simply contact us at

  • Filed under: research, Retail, Trends

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