I was surprised recently to learn that most distributors have some kind of retail operation.  It makes perfect sense when we think about it.  It gives the distributor’s customers and potential customers the opportunity to look over the products…and look over the distributor, as well.  So, many distributors have a store front where their customers – mostly retailers – can visit and inspect their offerings.

In such an environment there are unique challenges.  Although relishing the opportunity to meet their customers and discuss their precise needs, many distributors are concerned that their customers will inspect their products, take down information and then…go on the internet and get the same products from other sources – sources that do not have the expense of maintaining the inventory and storefront that has just proven to be such a convenience for the customers.

According the the Wall Street Journal:

One of the big challenges facing consumer electronics retailer Best Buy is the practice of “showrooming” — shoppers using the company’s chain of expensive-to-run physical stores as a place to check out a product, then going home and ordering it from a cheaper online retailer.

It seems that this practice happens with distributors and their customers as well.  From Marketing Charts:

Overall, 45.9% of the consumers surveyed, who were required to have shopped both retail stores and online within the past 6 months, said they had researched or gathered information about a product in a retail store (not online) first and then purchased the product online.

Whether it is an ethical practice by the customer or not, the practice is here to stay.  So here are 4 quick tips that distributors can use to reduce the effects of showrooming.

  1. Get to know your customers.  The personal touch is all important to creating new customers and keeping existing customers.
  2. Don’t make too much information too available.  In many cases the brand and model information is easy for the customer to ascertain, but your business information (like price and availability) needn’t be broadcast.
  3. Labels for your products that have bar codes and little else make it easy for you to get information about the product – extensive information – and encourages the customer to seek out the sales representative.  Half sold, the customer is ready for the close.
  4. Make closing the sale easy, convenient, and seamless to the conversation that will be struck up between the sales rep and the customer.

These quick tips should help reduce lost business from showrooming.  Our Iconic team can help you make closing the sale easy, convenient, and seamless. Just drop us a note to learn more.

Photo credit: TheeErin / Foter / CC BY-SA