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Forgive the John Travolta reference, but I feel it befits the current slew of desperate efforts on behalf of the major retailers to remain current and viable in this economy.
We shoppers feel so ultra-cool as we sashay through the racks and aisles with our smartphones and all those boss apps those sensory-laden commercials encouraged us to download, scanning away like the ultimate shoppers that we are. Knowledge is power, right? There is even a term for it…maybe you’ve heard it, “Showrooming”? Because we also know that if we can find that identical item cheaper online, we’re goin there. With bonus websites like ebates.com, etc. who offer cash back just by using their website as the initial browser for the deal, creating a tracking ticket for your purchase and granting you cash back in the form of a check or gift card, why not? Do the math.
The big-boy retailers are feverishly coming up with “solutions” to combat this “showrooming” practice as if it’s the latest strain of norovirus. They are pulling out all the stops. For example, the Target app gives you a personalized shopping experience, allowing you to scan and make lists and “hold” the items for you in a virtual shopping cart, save with Daily Deals, and yes, check pricing. For an added boost, consumers can use the Shopkick app which allows you to accrue “kicks” (points); tender for other goodies such as downloads and gift cards. The new app also works with Apple Passbook for IOS6, which supports mobile coupons, further encouraging the customer to shop here and BUY here. All these great benefits don’t come duty-free, folks. You will be lead to specific items in hopes of more impulsive purchases and let’s not forget the ads…
In store pickup to save on shipping costs and layaway options bring the consumer to the back of the store to give more opportunity for something to catch their eye on their journey. New alliances are forming as well to boost traffic by not only choosing close neighbors that add value to their location, but installing multiple kiosks for a multi-branding experience.
Is it working? Jury is still out on this one, but as of October, the top five retailers cruise onto the platform as follows:
Most of these retailers attribute a successful 2011-2012 to their ability to implement fresh new products and concepts that appeal to the majority of the consumer population that is more value-focused.