Will Santa smash showrooming?
It wasn’t the smell that put my dad off planting the seeds – the box and its contents are still in his study. It was the accompanying leaflet that kindly instructed him to plant the seeds in April. Seriously, who starts preparing for Christmas in spring?
It’s the time of the year for Christmas shopping again, but brick and mortar retailers are bracing themselves for a dark season.
Research by EKN and eBay Local shows that 80% of retailers are expecting significant losses due to showrooming this season. Hordes of Santa’s Little Helpers will crowd their stores – putting a lot of strain on the sample products, staff and other facilities – with no intent of purchasing anything in-store. No wonder the rise of M-commerce is a daunting prospect for traditional retailers.
But can you blame consumers for checking out products in a physical store before purchasing them online for a better price?
Let’s zoom in on that undercover Santa whipping out his smartphone while shopping for a pair of Beats headphones. What is he looking at on his screen?
Interestingly, he’s not just comparing prices. He’s reading user reviews and looking up what ‘Control Talk’ means. A review website draws his attention to a pair of noise-reduction earphones that are on display in store as well. They’re a lot cheaper than Dr. Dre’s product… If you stick around for a little longer, you might even see our undercover Santa leave the shop with the earphones, gift-wrapped and all.
That’s right. Earlier this year, Deloitte discovered that people who use their smartphone while showrooming are 14% more likely to buy a product in the physical store than shoppers who don’t use their smartphone. There’s a good chance that researching a product online takes away your final doubts and makes you want a product right now, right here.
Which brings us to the main advantage brick and mortar shops have over online shops: instant gratification. Especially this time of year, consumers simply can’t wait ’3 to 5 days’ for their purchase to be delivered. Just think of reindeer poo in a box – for most people, it’s nigh-on impossible to start Christmas preparations in time!
But Santa has another motive for shopping in real life rather than online this year. I think he’s more than happy to pay a few quid extra for a clear and easy returns policy. Just in case the receiver prefers real Beats…