Melvin Broekaart, Managing Director – Aircommerce
Pricing is not the only motive for travel retail consumers to be swayed into showrooming as efficient worldwide delivery options and the provision of consumer reviews create additional appeal.
E-commerce merchants have many tricks up their sleeves to lure consumers into their clutches and attractive pricing is just one of the reasons for travellers to browse in duty free and buy online (a process termed as ‘showrooming’). When ‘M-Shoppers’ (Mobile-assisted Shoppers, using mobile devices while in retail stores to assist in their shopping decision) decide to showroom, the biggest driver may be lower prices (69%) but free shipping from online retailers (47%) and home delivery (25%) are also important factors, according to a study by Columbia Business School called ‘Showrooming and the Rise of the Mobile-assisted Shopper’. Its research examined 3,000 consumers across the US, UK and Canada to determine how consumers are actually using their devices in-store and what strategies retailers need to consider for these mobile-assisted shoppers.
While travel retailers offer some delivery options to compete, why would consumers consider the pre-order and pick-up on arrival services they offer when global e-commerce companies can deliver right to their doorsteps?
Aside from the ease of not having to carry purchases (intended for after the trip), web stores such as Amazon also offer assistance with shopping decisions by featuring customer reviews. In fact, the Columbia Business School study indicated there was almost no difference in the frequency of price checking (52%) compared to searches for product information and user reviews (50%).
The reasons for shoppers to defect online after browsing in travel retail are compelling and price and delivery factors will no doubt drive the shift of many non-exclusive travel retail products to e-commerce players. The question is what strategies and products can travel retail offer to elevate it above and beyond the grasps of such e-commerce merchants, and prompt in-store spending? Embracing a change in mindset is the only way forward…
74% of mobile-assisted shoppers are over 30 years old. (in 2013 21% of all consumers were mobile-assisted shoppers). “Showrooming and the Rise of the Mobile-Assisted Shopper”: Matthew Quint and David Rogers, Columbia Business School 2013.
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