I came across an interesting paper from Ericsson today part of which (page 9) reported research into what people in cities around the world like about on-line and off-line shopping.
So, following on about my previous blog on showrooming, I thought it might be useful to analyse this information with the challenge of showrooming in mind.
According to the Ericsson research, the things people dislike about online shopping are:
- Not being able to see or touch things (73%)
- Worry about credit card security (35%)
- Waiting to get purchases (30%)
- Lack of customer service (16%)
- Too much choice (11%)
In contrast the things that people like about high street shopping are:
- The ability to touch and see things (76%)
- Ability to take purchases home directly (59%)
- Its fun to browse (44%)
- Personal service (42%)
- Something to do with friends (28%)
Little of this is surprising. But it does indicate some opportunities for retailers who want to address the problems of showrooming.
Points 1 and 6 are pretty obvious but in some environments could retailers do more to enable seeing and touching. For instance, a TV retailer could allow shoppers to use a remote control rather than having a long row of TVs all showing the same thing. And clothes retailers could ensure that changing rooms are well lit, clean, with adequate space and hanging facilities, to make the process of trying clothes on more enjoyable.
Credit card security
Point 2 did slightly surprise me but there is perhaps an opportunity for retailers to emphasise the safety and risk-free nature of paying in a shop through signage. This will be especially important for retailers using contactless payment systems where there is an existing perception of danger through paying for other peoples purchase, of double payment, and of paying for unwanted items.
Taking things home
Again points 3 and 7 are very unsurprising and the opportunities seem few here. Could clothes retailers encourage shoppers to “wear it now” by carefully packing the previously worn clothing – or offering to recycle it? Could TV retailers provide a better “carry to the car” service? Could PC retailers offer a “set up” service to enhance the immediacy of the purchase?
Points 4 and 9 are perhaps more interesting. Personal service is often desired (although there are big cultural differences around the world in this respect). It can often be difficult to get information and advice in a shop. For certain types of product advice could potentially be delivered via a kiosk or telephone, meaning that one client service operative could cover several different retail locations. That’s unlikely to work for fashion of course where advice (aka flattery) needs to be more face to face.
Point 5 proves the old retail adage: “don’t give me choice; make it easy for me to choose”. Some retailers could definitely improve here: for instance, TV’s tend to be grouped by size (which is pretty easy to judge) and perhaps it would be more effective to group them by one or two of the most important features (e.g. smart TVs, 3D TVs). Alternatively simply providing feature charts might be useful.
Points 8 and 10 emphasise the fun part of high street shopping, something that on-line finds hard to deliver. This is a big opportunity for retailers; department stores, garden centres and bookshops frequently contain coffee shops. What else can be done? For the bored partner trailing round the shops perhaps TVs, tablets (suitably secured) or magazines could be offered. Would more seating in shops provide a more relaxing and enjoyable experience? Would bigger changing rooms allow people to get private feedback about potential purchases?
This blog has been about how high street retailers can take better advantage of the things that shoppers like about the high street and dislike about on-line as a way of discouraging showrooming. My next piece will be about how high street retailers can defend themselves against the advantages that on-line shopping has.