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Combat showrooming and build loyalty by stealth

It’s happening in retail brick-and-mortar stores across Australia. One in four shoppers use their smartphones to check for the best online price, and even buy online, while in-store. Termed showrooming, 56 percent of shoppers in the US are predicted to partake during the Christmas shopping season, intensifying price competition.

But there is a silver lining.

Retailers can fight back against the showrooming trend with the very technology essential to showrooming – the mobile phone in the consumer’s hand – and digital coupons or store-linked incentives delivered instantly in-store via mobile.

Observant in-store staff that identify customers they feel are showrooming can offer digital coupons on the spot using a special QR code. Upon scanning, the QR code transforms into a valid coupon within the Pointpal app that can be redeemed in-store or online.

Importantly, this creates a connection between your brand and the consumer and gives them a future reward to be brand loyal however they choose to purchase – loyalty by stealth if you will. You’re also gaining location, behaviour and purchase data for future marketing planning and giving floor staff another sales tool to encourage in-store purchase.

And it doesn’t have to be purely a price-based coupon. Think about how you can add value for the consumer like free tickets to a sporting event, an invitation to an exclusive launch party or guaranteed first-in options to new season ranges. The closer you can align the coupon or loyalty device to your brand values, the better. This value added loyalty approach can also grow into a low-cost loyalty program where customers are rewarded for loyalty – purchasing instore or online – with items they value but don’t cost the business vast sums of money.

The benefit to your business is three-fold. You’ll gain a sale you may have lost to online stores in the short term, you can start to put some metrics around how consumers are behaving in the ‘last mile’ before purchase (so you can adjust marketing tactics to suit) and you’ve opened the mobile channel for direct conversations with customers.

Using a mobile loyalty and rewards platform like Pointpal also gives you the flexibility to choose the style of reward that best suits your customer base – stamps, points or coupons or some combination that makes sense for your customers – while you gain detailed data that in isolation can instigate marketing tactics or can feed into broader marketing analytics initiatives and strategies.

With a single digital coupon you can boost sales this Christmas shopping season, build a customer database and have the beginning of a loyalty and rewards program.