Daily Dose of iQ: Showrooming Forces Retailers to 'Reboot'

Feb 27, 2012 — Allan Pulga

The above graph (prepared by Mark Sigal of Unicorn Labs) illustrates why today's retailer needs to reboot: When comparing the profit margins of Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Home Depot and Apple over the past decade, they all plateau -- except for Apple.

We've blogged in the past about how and why Apple has enjoyed exceptional success in retail. But what about for the rest of the field?

Sigal, in an article for Gigaom.com yesterday, wrote the U.S. economy has undergone "a prolonged period of disruption and change" that has created "a discriminating consumer who is simply smarter about how they spend their dollar, both out of financial need and by virtue of having deep product and market intelligence at their fingertips."

Meanwhile, mobile ubiquity has made showrooming commonplace, he adds. "And broadband is transforming entire categories of products (music, video, books) that were once exclusively analog to digital, and boundary-less."

Sigal suggests three ways retailers should reboot "to avoid extinction": 1) compete on price; 2) embrace a store-within-a-store model; 3) create products and experiences that are proprietary and unique.

Suggestion #3 is in direct relation to my colleague Alen Puaca's insightful 5-part Designing the Next Generation of Retail Places article series. Be sure to check it out.

Consumers "Price-Hunting" From Their Phones

Milo Local Shopping put together a handy infographic a couple weeks ago, outlining a number of stats on how people used their mobile phones to inform their 2011 holiday shopping. Milo found that:

  • 52% of adult cellphone owners did at least one of the following: a) called a friend for purchase advice; b) compared online prices with in-store prices; c) looked up product reviews for an in-store product.

After price matching the product on their phone:

  • 35% purchased the product at that store.
  • 19% purchased the product online.
  • 8% purchased the product at another store.
  • 37% decided not to purchase the product at all.

comScore: Top U.S. Mobile Activities

Michael Matthews of Forbes wrote about comScore's recent "2012 Mobile Future in Focus" report, which found, among U.S. mobile device users:

  • 12% accesed online retail sites.
  • 74% sent text messages.
  • 60% took photos.
  • 41% accessed email.
  • 35% looked up the weather.
  • 33% connected to social media.
  • 31% played games.
  • 30% accessed search engines.
  • 27% looked up GPS maps.
  • 26% read the news.
  • 24% listened to music.
  • 22% accessed sports info.
  • 15% looked up financial news or stock quotes.

Topics: Retail Operations, Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience, e-Commerce, Retail Marketing

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