Thursday, August 29, 2013

Throwback Thursday: How Window Shopping Has Changed In the 21st Century.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

In recent years, window shopping has taken on a new meaning. It no longer means that you physical need to be at the store to find out what the great deals are. You can virtually be there and find the best prices without having to travel from shop to shop, which takes hours! 
Have you ever gone shopping for something and used your Smartphone as a tool to help you find the best deals? I know I have. Just recently, I was shopping for a TV; I started at Costco and examined their prices, and then, as I was casually walking around, I was looking online at Best Buy's company website seeing what kind of deals I can get over there. Unfortunately for Costco, I ended up doing my business with Best Buy because I found a better deal for what I was looking for with my Smartphone.

I’m bringing this up because I came across an article that actually gave a name to what I (and many other Americas) do instead of the traditional window shopping. They call it showrooming, being in a store and looking at their competitors’ website on your Smartphone, shopping for better deals. To me, this concept is genius. I mean we are in the era of technology, so why not use it to conveniently save some money? 

Companies are becoming very upset when they find out that they are losing business to a competitor because their consumers were able to hop on their phones and quickly compare prices. Stores are trying to figure out ways to combat showrooming. In the 1to1 Media article linked above, they mention stores charging fees for people who come into there stores "just to look."                                

To say the least, people were not thrilled with these signs at all. In my opinion, this store will probably lose more customers because of these signs, than because of showrooming. 

Instead of coming up with ridiculous ways to stop people from showrooming, experts suggest companies to embrace this phenomenon and use it as incentive to work a little harder to make sure consumers make purchases and also, come back to their store. Providing EXCEPTIONAL customer service is a great way to keep customers from leaving your store to go to another. Whether we like to believe it or not, people base a majority of their decision on emotion. They remember the experience they had and the feeling they got when shopping in a store and will likely come back if these feelings were positive. 

Another way, is to get showroomers to leave the store they are at and come to yours by having an attractive AND effective website. Seth Godin wrote a blog called “Q&A: What Works for Websites Today?” He shared a list of questions that should be addressed when creating a good website. He stated, “But I stand with a series of questions that will expose the challenges of any website (and the problems of the organization that built it):

  • Who is this site for?
  • How did they find out about it?
  • What does the design remind them of?
  • What do you want them to do when they get here?
  • How will they decide to do that, and what promises do you make to cause that action?

The only reason to build a website is to change someone. If you can't tell me the change and you can't tell me the someone, then you're wasting your time.” Create a website that works for your is one of your biggest resources for gaining customers and increasing customer loyalty. 

How do Virtual Agents (VA's) fit into this equation? Simple. SalesAdvisor™ , a VA can give your company one up on the competition. Having SalesAdvisor™ implemented on your company website can help customers find what they are looking for easily and answer any questions they may have about your products, all while cross-selling. Since people are using their phones to access your website, it is a great idea to have someone/thing on their assisting the customer. SalesAdvisor™ can also be used as a tool for employees to provide even better customer service. Maybe implementing the VA on a company tablet? 

The term “window shopping” has changed throughout the 21st century because of the convenience of mini-computers in the palm of our hand, 24/7. Point being, we should embrace what technology brings to us, not fight it. Challenge ourselves to adapt to the times and continue innovation.