Finally, a study has come up that points to some data that strongly fits with something that we've long believed here at FoodEssentials, which is that one of the main causes of showrooming is bad customer service.
Showrooming - buying products online whilst or after checking them out inside the store is one of the larger trends that has been on retailers minds for some time now. Traditionally the argument has been made that people were driven to showrooming for price savings. And although this may be true to some degree it never really fit with our experience.
We surveyed our team and found that for most people, although price was at times the reason for online purchases, most often or not it was because of the 'convenience' and the ability to not have to deal with a certain customer experience.
The study, produced by the Kellogg Center for Global Marketing Practice, draws some facinating conculsions, such as the fact that 59% of of participating shoppers reported that they had experienced poor or average service in the store. Or even more interstingly that 40% of respondents had not initially intended to purchase online but were driven to do so after poor customer service.
If these numbers prove to be true they seem to indicate that the online experience is not only trumping on price but also in experience - people prefer the convenience and experience online than being in store with poor to average customer experiences.
The fact of the matter is that when we interact with people we prefer the experience to be positive. If it's not going to be and there's an alternative we'll take the alternative each time.
Now although this relates more immediately to big ticket items where there's a better price, a single purchase, and lots of info online; it's not going to be long before it also relates to grocery. Look at the work Amazon is already doing in drawing in customers to purchase regular provisions online such as shampoo etc.
The great news is that grocers are in the business of serving communities and most are presently exploring new ways to leverage technology to augment their customer service, which we think is the best thing they could possibly be doing at this time.