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Showrooming: The New Retail Reality

We all know the retail industry is changing. The way shoppers spend their dollars – and their time – has completely evolved with the proliferation of smartphones, online shopping, and next-day delivery.

Gone are the days when shoppers would visit bricks-and-mortar stores, select items, and actually purchase them before heading home. It’s almost like we’ve been transported back to the days of catalogue shopping, with a unique twist: in the current reality, shoppers are more likely to come into a shop, try out the item they want, then go home to order it online.

The trend, better known as showrooming, has struck fear in the hearts of retailers as they struggle to compete with online stores, both on price points and availability.

Who hasn’t been to a store only to discover that the item you’re after isn’t in stock? Who hasn’t found a better deal online? Probably no one. And that’s just part of why showrooming has become such a huge problem. But does it have to be?

What showrooming highlights is the fact that bricks-and-mortar stores are still an essential part of the retail landscape. In fact, Generation Z relies on bricks-and-mortar stores because they explicitly want to try out certain items in person. And what’s more, if they like them, buy them on the spot.

But what if the items or sizes aren’t in stock? What then? This is precisely why showrooming will continue to be a problem, despite the fact that even Amazon is opening bricks-and-mortar stores.

Basically, if you’re out of stock, you’re out of luck no matter how much effort you’ve put into jazzing up your store experience.

So what’s a retailer to do?

With the right technology in place, retailers can transform their showrooms into sales floors, keep track of inventory, and help close sales – even if it means getting items shipped to their customer’s homes. Plus, with this new information, you can get to know your customers better, offer them personalized discounts and recommendations, and encourage customer loyalty.

With Cisco’s Unified Retail Platform, for instance, you can transform your shop floor into the store of the future. Connected tablets become sales portals: associates can instantly ring through a purchase, or find stock in another location and have it shipped. Video on Demand and Virtual Expert allow you to create experiences that delight your shoppers, as they connect with your brand in a whole new way.

And when you start with Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture, you’re enabling all sorts of apps, technologies, and innovations that will help you transform your business.

Because if you don’t evolve, you’ll be left behind.

Want to learn more? Read our free Digital Transformation for Retail eBook today.