One Blog |November 12, 2012 | POS Tracking Software

How to Fight Showrooming — And Still Do Effective POS Marketing

Mark Fullerton

Most of our blog postings center on point-of-sale (POS) marketing management — aka POP, Shopper Marketing, or some other name or acronym you prefer to use to describe your marketing at-retail initiatives.

Many of you are aware that on-line shopping continues to gain favor with consumers. While on-line sales are growing, at-retail sales still account for the over 80% of consumer goods sales. But the truth is you can’t overlook the facts that on-line sales are eroding in-store sales.

Despite this on-line sales creep, the value of the physical store has never been greater as evidenced by shoppers who increasingly use bricks and mortar stores to examine the products they are interested in purchasing on-line. This trend is called “Showrooming”.


Of the current “victims” of the showrooming phenomenon, Best Buy is probably cited most frequently as the retailer who has seen their big-box retail stores sales steadily decline. Best Buy shoppers first research the products they are interested in buying at the store, and then buy on-line — often not from Best Buy.

In retail, Showrooming is a four-letter word, but I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve done it.

Who hasn’t visited a retailer, examined the products, written down the model numbers and prices, and then let my fingers do the buying on-line when I got back home. I do wonder sometimes, what would happen if showrooming become so prevalent that it eventually destroyed conventional retail? I wouldn’t enjoy that, but I don’t think that is very likely.

Here’s why: There are ways to combat the negative effects of showrooming. It’s possible to change the retail experience so that showrooming need not necessarily become the death knell for retail store sales. Here’s some research to support this idea:


Several showrooming articles, and notably a Forrester Report on the opportunities retailers have to use showrooming to their advantage, have been published in 2012.  For example, a July 4th article in the New York Times notes, “. . . retailers are stepping up efforts to add Web return centers, pickup locations, free shipping outlets, payment booths and even drive-through customer service centers for on-line sales to their brick-and-mortar buildings.”

Of the top-10 retailers, a majority of them maintain price consistency both on-line and at-retail, and allow their customers to buy on-line and pick up at-retail. (See Note)

The Place for POS Marketing

As we have noted in previous blogs, recent research tells us that in addition to convenience, the key factor that drives sales at-retail is Point-of-Sale (POS) marketing — not on-line advertising and certainly not conventional, electronic and print advertising. About the only place today’s consumers actively seek advertising messages is while they are shopping at-retail. Sure, traditional media advertising can be valuable to reinforce a brand’s image, but typically consumers aren’t in a shopping frame of mind and, of course, are not even able to make a purchase while they are at home watching TV, or reading a magazine or newspaper.

Time after time an advertising campaign’s effectiveness is greatest when the customer is in the store shopping.  It is there that shoppers become buyers.

It is time to bring renewed creativity and energy to at-retail POS marketing. Despite the many options on-line shopping brings to consumers, on-line cannot even approach the experience of bricks and mortar shopping — at retailers who understand their customers are looking to see and touch the products they are looking to buy and use POS to inform their choices.

Now is the time to recognize that the Internet cannot compete with POS campaigns in terms of influencing incremental sales. It is time to plan and execute POS campaigns and track, measure and manage their effectiveness by measuring sales lift and ROI.

By adopting POS best-practices, suppliers, retailers and distributors don’t have to become victims of the ‘New Normal Retail’ — Showrooming.

Your best friend and most effective weapon to combat showrooming can be in-store marketing. 

Note: “Retailers: Don’t Become a Victim of ‘Showrooming,’” a whitepaper by Jason Goldberg, Copyright © 2012 CrossView 

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