If I had a dollar for every time I heard “just looking”, I’d be rich!

Two companies have made the news recently by charging a fee for shoppers that are “just looking”. This in reaction to the problem of “show-rooming” where customers visit store to see products and ask questions then go online to find it cheaper.
While on one hand I can understand a retailer’s frustration with shoppers that are just there to look or pick their brain for information; but overall this concept just does not make sense.

Stores often spend a tremendous amount of money for marketing and advertising just to get a potential new customer into a store. I have heard that the average cost to acquire a new customer in the jewellery industry is between $150 and $200. That is a big investment just to get one customer into the door, why then turn them away because they just want to look? This is completely counter-productive. That is why you invited them to visit in the first place.   Show-rooming is a fact of modern retail. A brick and mortar store needs to learn to deal with it or go out of business.
Converting looker to buyer is the key.

The job of a salesperson is to sell products. This means converting lookers into buyers. Once a new customer steps into a store you have the opportunity to not only show your products but it is your chance to convince them that your store is the best place for them to make a purchase.   Now is the time to talk about customer service and guarantees.   Let them know that anytime they come in you will clean, polish and inspect their jewellery for free so that it will always look fresh and new. Remind them that personal service is something an internet seller cannot supply, but you are always here for them ready to help at any time. If they are local, don’t be afraid to discuss how spending their money with you means that the entire community benefits because you return that money back into the community when you go shopping.

It is also very important to make shopping with you a pleasant experience. Offer a cold drink, a glass of wine and maybe a comfortable chair for bored husbands. Offer free gift wrapping. Think about the things you can do that an internet seller cannot…and then do it!
Spend some time considering what your approach to show-rooming will be and then train your staff on converting lookers into paying customers. But charging admission just to look? No way!

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