Showrooming - the growing trend of shoppers to visit a brick and mortar store to test the merchandise only to buy it for a better price on the internet. Trendy apps like Red Laser and Price Check are making it easier to compare prices on any product. Recent reports show that 35% of US consumers have "showroomed." What businesses are trying
Some techniques, that don't seem to be getting favorable reviews, are being labeled as "shopping fees." A specialty food store in Australia posted a sign on the front door describing a $5 fee for "just looking." The sign went on to explain the reason they were forced to this policy. It was signed "Management."
Some shoe stores are now charging what is called a "fitting fee," about $20. And as you know, a lot of optometrists offices are charging to measure PD's. Other businesses are installing kiosks for their online stores and instant information to reviews and other information.
Electronics giant, Best Buy has been affected by this trend for many years. They have responded in a number of ways and have most recently incorporated two different strategies to combat the trend.
- Price match guarantee and apps. Best Buy's price match policy promises to match prices found in any other store or from many online sites and mobile apps push coupons to their shoppers.
- Create an Experience - Best Buy's two biggest vendors are Samsung and Apple. Both businesses are creating Boutique spaces within the walls of Best Buy. This floorspace will have product specific experts, specific branding and other special features.
So what does all this have to do with us?
We have all known for a while that our patients are trying on frames in our practices and asking our experts for advice. Then writing down the details of their favorite frame so they can think about it and asking for their PD measurements, just in case. We have all been talking about what we are going to do about this. We have panicked, signed up for online stores and gotten defensive when our patients asked about our prices.
A few practices have had some good success and I have been studying what really works. And unfortunately, charging a patient to measure their PD doesn't make a dent. If you give it some serious insight, you will realize that whether or not you charge your patients to measure a PD will not matter - at all.
To combat optical showrooming, there are at least two effective strategies that we can employ within our practices. We can either promote the fact that we have packages that compete with the low prices available on the web or we can strive to create a boutique experience that can not be duplicated from an online vendor.
Learn more from these thought leaders
Amir and Carl will both be showcasing their individual perspectives at our Executive Retreat in July. Not only will both of them share their views and their results, they will also provide plenty of opportunities to confer with them on which strategy is the best fit for you.
Registration is now open so if you are interested in attending, please sign up now.
What will happen next?
It will be interesting to see which strategy Best Buy continues to go with. I don't think the "price-matching" and the "electronics boutique" strategies will both work in the same environment. I think eventually they have to decide.
For now, I have to decide if my practice will go with the Carl and Katie Method or the Amir Method. But one thing's for sure - I have to do something.
I would like to know what you think - Please email me a line about how you will continue your efforts to compete with online sales. I am particularly interested in anyone's efforts to offer online opportunities through your own practice.
Either way - share your thoughts.