In showrooming, the much maligned shopping trend spawned by the internet had the effect of killing off the traditional model of marketing and in the process stores that used the traditional model which included the traditional brick and mortar fashion industry, it may have those that were willing to adapt stronger. Showrooming is when consumers research products in the store only to shop for actual purchasing online.
Before showrooming, brick and mortar stores were very slow to embrace the new methods by which the internet generation shops. Companies are now developing their online capabilities, as well as finally hiring staff trained in the product and how to communicate the product’s abilities. Other qualities of online shopping are being integrated into the traditional model like expedited shipping. Now, integrating digital capabilities is being called reverse showrooming.
Companies are hailing reverse showrooming an innovation in the traditional model, but it is actually about being honest about the landscape, changes and what will be required to compete in this new, emerging digital landscape. Companies are integrating other techniques for reverse showrooming like in store pick up of items purchased online. The customer has the convenience to get the item at whatever chain store that is located conveniently to the shopper. Now, companies are even providing tablets in stores as well as designated kiosks, so online items are available to the shopper as fast as online shopping with the convenience of shopping in the store.
Offering specialized training to employees to make them knowledgeable of products and services is a huge competitive advantage for brick and mortar stores, but this is a component of a failure on the part of the stores in having employees that simply had no answers for the most benign questions. This was especially aggravating in the tech sector which is why online stores had an advantage. However, home improvement and home electronics store suffered the most. Additionally, knowledge sells, so the failure to provide this knowledge affected bottom lines and fueled in part the showrooming epidemic.
The latest iteration in the showrooming and reverse showrooming battle, companies are now delivering items purchased online out to the vehicles of customers. Some of the largest retailers have designated spots in their parking lots for curbside deliveries to their vehicles. Usually, they are the most conveniently located sites in these parking lots for increased convenience. Additionally, cashiers peruse shopping lines with portable checkout stations to prevent the length of the line effecting customer choice.
These innovations have a beginning point, and many point to Fabletics and their showrooming efforts as the introduction to the embracing of reverse showrooming. This athleisure brand founded by actress Kate Hudson embraced the emerging trends early on and are now the premiere athleisure brand in the world. They found ways to cater to all the needs of the internet generation, and even provide a lifestyle quiz so that patrons can narrow their choices creating convenience for a generation that is so busy that convenience commands loyalty.