Tammy Wilson from Boise, Idaho, wants to buy a new bed because the one she’s sleeping on now is killing her back. She starts her process and is immediately confused because most mattresses have different names at different retailers, many look the same, there are 30 to 40 to pick from, and it isn’t just springs these days—there are so many different options out there. Is this confusion good for our industry? Tammy doesn’t think so and that’s why she’s armed with a smartphone.
Many consumers today are turning to the Internet for answers. Take a look at this clip of Sleep Geeks at the 2012 Furniture Today Bedding Conference, talking about the impact of people shopping online.
Not only are people shopping before they get into your store, they are engaging in a practice commonly known as “showrooming,” where they compare products or just go in search of information that is going to assist them in the decision making process. So how is your company addressing this consumer trend? Does showrooming help the mattress industry or hurt it when the consumer quickly finds out that most mattress products are incredibly difficult to shop for? Showrooming can be both good and bad for a retailer or a brand; the choice is yours.
Consider the following:
- Does your store utilize QR codes to make it easy for consumers to use their smartphones to learn more about the product?
- Does your product have marketing materials that can be found online that take the mystery out of the shopping experience?
- Are you providing shoppers with content that is relevant to what they want to learn about? Are you trying to arm them with good information to make an informed decision?
- Is your sales team prepared to explain why the product is priced higher? Do they know how to build value in the benefits of buying from a local store versus online?
You don’t have to like it when consumers showroom, you just need to understand that it is happening and if you are not paying attention you are going to miss out on sales. A recent poll by 911 ClickIQ showed that of consumers who shop online and in brick and mortar stores, 46% shopped a local store and later purchased online. Is this happening to you?
It’s a hard reality to face. Consumers have access to more information today than ever before. The shopping process is much more transparent and you need to be ready for it. Technology is changing EVERYTHING and this is no exception, so you can embrace it or just go back into your office, fire up the old Commodore 64 and play some Pong. Whatever you choose, it isn’t going away! Tammy from Boise, Idaho, is everywhere and she’s armed with a smartphone.
Do you showroom? How about your kids? Are you prepared for this type of consumer?