Pundits and the media have cast showrooming at various times as either a scourge to brick-and-mortar retailers or as a death knell — another proverbial nail in the coffin.
There’s no question that showrooming, where shoppers browse products in a store and then purchase online, is a threat to retailers like Target that have a significant investment in real estate and physical stores.
However, less publicized is the fact that showrooming is also the greatest opportunity for retailers.
As my colleagues and I have said several times: “We love showrooming — when Target gets to book the sale.”
We recognize that showrooming is part of a revolution that’s making retail more competitive than ever. For retailers to survive and thrive in the future, we’ve got to up our game, play to our strengths and seize the upper hand by enhancing both our physical stores and digital channels.
Mobile has already become a game-changer, as a recent Deloitte study showed that more than half of smartphone owners have used their devices when they shop in a store. More importantly, smartphone shoppers are 14% more likely to purchase in store — and that percentage more than doubles if a customer uses the retailer’s site or app while in the store.
That’s the power of mobile. And that’s why at Target we believe our stores must offer exceptional experiences by inspiring discovery with exciting and differentiated products, content and services. Meanwhile, our digital channels — our website, mobile and social platforms — must deliver on inspiration as well as the outstanding value and convenience Target guests have come to expect.
Fully embracing showrooming means seamlessly integrating the physical and digital worlds—from products to price matching to personalized offers—to exponentially improve the guest experience.
We took a big step at physical-digital integration last fall when we made free WiFi available in our stores. We took a giant leap this spring when we launched Cartwheel, Target’s new digital savings that we built with our partners at Facebook so guests can easily share with friends in social media.