The future of retail is an “omni-channel” experience, which means selling to consumers on all channels –online, mobile and in-store – simultaneously.
Retailers of all categories are trying to understand the massive transformation in shopper behavior brought about by the mobile internet, none more than the electronic retailers like Best Buy. The author of this article, Christopher Krywilak, expertly puts it that retailers need to sell to the shopper in all the different channels they offer, simultaneously. It is no longer a viable strategy to assume that shoppers won't have every piece of information about a product or service in the palm of their hand. Retailers must embrace showrooming and devise new strategies that leverage the shoppers ability to conduct all the research they need, right there in the aisle of the store.
One interesting concept is how to turn showrooming behavior into a financial reward for the brick-and-mortar retailer. At the end of the day, the intent of manufacturers is to sell their wares, independent of channel. Retailers play a critical role in allowing consumers to touch, trial, and feel products before they make a purchase decision. If a retailer can prove their role in a sale, manufacturers will be willing to compensate them. We see this today with retailers charging for shelf space, in-store signage, etc. There is no reason Best Buy shouldn't be able to report the number of units of products they sell direct to the shopper and the number of units they were part of that sales process. With the appropriate in-store technology, the Best Buy's of the world will be able to report on their value in selling to the consumer.