By Sheila Gray – bio | email
You could be in for some fantastic savings from stores around the country fighting to keep your business in their brick and mortar stores. They're working to keep your business in a lot of new ways.
Before Jeffrey Goldstein buys anything while he's in a store, he whips out his smartphone, uses an app to scan the bar code for the item, and he comparison shops for the lowest price online. Jeffrey says he looks at everything on his shopping list. It's called the "scan and scram" or "showrooming," and it's changing the retail landscape.
Vipul Lakhi of MyTrioRings.com says, "This is the new window shopping." The online jewelry store says it offers the same rings major retail chains do for less, and managers were actually surprised to see that eight percent of their customers bought their new bling through their phones.
"As soon as they find the deal they want they're ready to jump on it because they've been educated they're fully aware of what's out there and what they want," said Lakhi. One study finds 25 percent of adult cell phone owners have used their phones in a store to see where they could buy an item for less, and five percent of those mobile price matchers bought the item online. Amazon and EBay launched price comparison apps to make it easier for shoppers.
When digital marketing agency Resource Interactive went undercover "show rooming" -- one big department store showed them out. Klay Huddleston says it's time for the big box stores to step up and compete: "The number of ecommerce sales that were done thru this phenomenon, this trend, were large enough that retailers should be paying attention."
Some traditional retail stores are fighting back. Target offers exclusive products you can't buy anywhere else. Nordstrom offers free shipping if you buy something in a store or online. Macy's and Old Navy send in-store only coupons, and Sears stresses the immediate gratification.
Don Perkins of Sears says, "You can actually get the product the same day you purchase it no waiting for something to ship to your house, no paying extra shipping charges to get it expedited."
But they'll have to try harder to convince show rooming shopper Jeffrey to stop. He says, "In the big picture you can save a lot of money." Some stores will offer to match the prices of online retailers, so it may be worth showing the manager of the store you're standing in the price comparison you found online and see if they'll give you the same price.