COMMENT: Retailers should beware 'showrooming'

Are customers coming into your shop for help and then buying online...?
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The plight of smaller retailers losing business to online rivals isn't just confined to the bicycle trade, as this comment sent in to our sister site PCR shows...

‘Showrooming’ is tipped to be added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015 and it’s a word that should be of grave concern to all High Street retailers.

Showrooming is when somebody comes in your store, gets all the information from your carefully designed displays and a half-hour demo from you – and then goes and buys the product online. Yes, it makes my blood boil as well. These days the showroomers don’t bother to hide – they come in with a smartphone and stand there checking prices against A, B, C and D online.

Even more infuriating is when showroomers buy online and then come to you for help (which they never expect to pay for) or ring up and ask for help because ‘KnowHow’ unfortunately didn’t ‘know how’.

So, we are left to pick up the pieces of a large shed sale or an online sale and the customer cannot understand why we don’t want to do it for free. Nowadays the complaint I hear the most is that the High Street is just becoming banks, building societies and charity shops – and apparently we come in the latter.

It’s a simple equation folks: if you want to keep your High Street interesting, then simply visit it and spend money in it. Otherwise in a few years time you will all be sat at home staring at a screen, unable to speak to anyone and wondering where those ever so helpful people from the High Street disappeared to.

I just got off the phone with a lady who needs help with her tablet. I asked if she purchased it from us – she said no, but added that she did once buy a cartridge from us in 1997 (or was it 2003?), and apparently this entitles her to free support with her tablet.

I seem to remember offering free lifetime support with every cartridge we sold back in the day, and seemingly this covers everything from cartridges to tablets – and probably delivery drones if Amazon has its way.

There used to be a very famous advert for Schweppes that said:“Schhh… You know who”. I have a new slogan for a large retailer to tell its customers: “Shhh… You know who, doesn’t know how”.

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