Thursday, October 17, 2013

Target tries "reverse showrooming"...

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Target’s electronics departments are a getting a makeover in order to combat "showrooming", where consumers check out products in-store but then shop for a better price online.

The Bullseye recently remodeled the electronic departments in several of its stores with waist-height, bright white tables and displays —  similar in style to Apple stores —  to give shoppers more hands-on experience with the products. And it comes at a time when electronics sellers are seeing a major shift in product mix as the space that used to be devoted to cameras — which are declining in sales — gives way to square footage for cellphones. Putting phones directly in the hands of customers is a reaction to the showrooming trend and competition from online retailers such as, said Chris Christopher, an analyst at IHS Global Insight.

Target is testing the format to give customers a more convenient way to interact with products and services, said spokeswoman Erica Julkowski. “Guests are looking for more interactive ways to make purchasing decisions about the latest technology.” 

The hope is that the test departments will create “reverse showrooming.” That occurs when customers do preliminary research online at CNET or the phone carrier’s site, then go to the retailer to buy. It’s easier to compare features and check reviews online, but bricks-and-mortar stores can put the phone in their hands faster (assuming it’s in stock) and fulfill consumer's instant gratification.

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