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As shoppers prepare to descend on their favorite stores this Friday as the holiday shopping season gets underway, retailers are preparing to greet them with deals that they hope will be too good to pass up.

Retailers are optimistic about their prospects this year, but they're arguably going to have to work harder than ever if they want to maximize their sales. The reason? More and more consumers are deciding to shop from home on Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend, forcing retailers to hone their online and offline strategies.

The good news: those who get it right are likely to be rewarded, and the effort to develop omni-channel strategies may pay off well beyond the holiday shopping season. That's because according to a survey conducted by Edgell Network and eBay, 80% of retailers believe the showrooming phenomenon is real and expect it to impact their sales by an average of 5%.

Powerless

Of the 59 retailers polled, 70% of which had under $1bn in sales, nearly half indicated that they were effectively powerless to address showrooming, with just 12% saying that they had a showrooming strategy in place.

The good news: retailers are not without ideas. 60% of survey respondents pointed to price matching as an effective way to deal with the phenomenon. More than a third suggested that click and collect and seamless customer experiences could be fruitful, while more than a quarter mentioned providing sales staff with better, more timely information and in-store exclusives as techniques worth looking at.

Holiday shopping case studies

Some of these tactics will be on display this holiday shopping season by some of the largest multichannel retailers. Best Buy, for instance, is betting big on price matching. Sears is putting click and collect to good use by giving some of its top customers the ability to purchase door buster deals online this weekend and pick them up in-store once the crowds have dispersed.

Others are trying their own variations of these concepts in what appear to be direct efforts to embrace showrooming. Target, for instance, is showing off its top 20 toys in prime time in-store real estate and encouraging shoppers in a hurry to scan QR codes that will make it easy to purchase those toys online. Instead of waiting in line, Target will ship the purchased toys free of charge to the customer or a gift recipient.

Which approaches will work best? Time will tell, but one thing seems possible: the retailers that come up with the most attractive combinations (including offering wifi instore) could very well be able to turn showrooming into a net gain instead of a net loss.

Patricio Robles

Published 20 November, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (1)

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Jon Allen

Hey Patricio,

Thanks for sharing this article. I am currently working for a Software company that builds DropShipping software (www.dropship.com). We run into a lot of people who are constrained by the amount of inventory they can hold. I am working on a whitepaper right now that we would love to share with you when we finish up! Anyway thanks for the thoughts.

Best regards,

Jon Allen

over 3 years ago

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