The Threat of Mobile Price Checking

As shoppers embrace the smartphone, the threat of mobile price checking looms large for many business owners.  Showrooming, or viewing an item in a retail store before purchasing it online, has been brought to an entirely new level as consumers utilize their mobile phones to browse e-commerce websites while in stores.

How can brick-and-mortar small business owners remain competitive in the internet world?

  • Offer Unique Products.  Take a tip from Target and ask suppliers to offer products that can only be sold in stores.
  • Offer In-Store Reviews.  Offer comparison information for the products that you stock to allow consumers to assess the characteristics and benefits.
  • Price Match.  Retail giant Best Buy is known for price matching their e-commerce competitor  This can be a risky tactic as many e-commerce giant’s economies of scale can’t be beat by many small business owners.  It can be beneficial, however, to gain repeat business or up-sells for those unique products that can’t be found online.  Make sure that price matching offers are clearly defined to a select site or sites and ensure no third-party retailers are included.
  • Promote Easy Return Policies.  One downside to internet shopping is product returns.  Easy return policies will keep customer’s returning.
  • Great Customer Service.  Take the research out of the internet by employing knowledgeable and well-trained team members that can answer consumer’s questions.

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