How to Use the Power of Webrooming for Your Retail Business

With increased access to data, we have more insight that ever into the modern-day shopper’s buying process.
Just a few years ago, “showrooming” was a big concern for retailers. Consumers went into store to view products and make their decision. But they actually made the purchase online. Today, the opposite trend is taking over.

This new phenomenon has been dubbed “webrooming”. Consumers are still going online. But now they do it for research and then head to a physical location to make the purchase.

This is good news for stores with physical locations that are using internet marketing because it puts more power in their hands.

Since you know that consumers are using the internet to find the right product, you can take steps to influence each step of the process.

  1. Gather data about your customers.
    You need to understand who you want to influence or you won’t be very effective. There are a few ways to do this.

    First, you can ask customers for their zip codes. This information can then be input into Nielsen’s lifestyle segmentation system. It will give you data on your customers’ demographics as well as lifestyle group.

    Second, you can turn to your website’s analytics. You’ll find demographics as well as information on interests and the technology they use to reach your site.

  2. Determine who to focus on.
    You’ll find that your customers fall into different groups. So pick a group to target. Delve into their needs and values. Get to know them in and out. Interview people who fall into this category. Track their behavior on your website. The more you know, the more effective you can be.

    If you have trouble gathering information on a particular group, it may be best to move on to others. An ideal group is motivated to purchase both because they need and want the product. In other words, it is both a practical purchase and one that plays a significant role in ego fulfillment.

  3. Create a need for those customers.
    You understand what motivates them to purchase. So now use that to motivate them to purchase something specific. For example, I worked with a bike shop that identified a group of customers focused on improving their performance. But many didn’t understand how upgrades to their bike could achieve that.

    We created content – copy, photos, and video – that educated them on how certain products could improve their performance. We sent it via the website, social media, email, and direct mail.

  4. Guide them to reviews and testimonials.
    Your customers now understand how certain products will help them. But which specific product should they select? You can make the research process easier by providing links to reviews and testimonials. You can also post this information directly on your own website.

    Be aware that there is a benefit to keeping those reviews as neutral as possible. It may be more likely to help you build credibility with your audience.
    It is likely that you have a vested interest in pushing a particular product, but a consumer who already brought that product home doesn’t have the same agenda.
    So be sure to highlight ways that you ensure the reviews you direct them to or share with them are from a source without a bias.

  5. Advertise in print, too.
    Don’t overlook traditional marketing. It can be particularly effective for webrooming campaigns, because it serves as a reminder that you have a physical location where they can get instant access to the product they want.

    But plan your print marketing well. If you want people to head online, you are asking them to take an extra step. Make it as easy as possible.
    Tell them exactly what they can expect to find online. Use QR codes to give them access in an instant. And when possible, include the key information in the print advertising itself.

  6. Give them one final push.
    After they’ve settled on an option, you can still motivate them to actually purchase. How? By giving them a time-sensitive offer. With a discount available, they have a reason to buy today and not put it off (or forget about it entirely).
  7. Deliver with your offline experience.
    These consumers are making a choice to go to a physical location. Why? Because there are benefits over shopping online. They can interact with the merchandise in person. They can bring the product home immediately. There’s no shipping cost. And customer service issues, such as returns, are easier.
    Also, they can develop a relationship with your employees and your store. So make sure that you’re delivering on these benefits, or you may drive your customer right back to the web.
  8. Shepard Morrow owns a business consulting and internet marketing company in New Jersey. Download his The 5 Online Marketing Must-Do’s for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers for free. Visit, or call 609-737-8667.

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