How to fight showrooming, earn customer loyalty

As ecommerce and mobile buying have gained traction with consumers for increased convenience and price transparency, brick-and-mortar retail stores have been confronted with a new challenge - showrooming.

As ecommerce and mobile buying have gained traction with consumers for increased convenience and price transparency, brick-and-mortar retail stores have been confronted with a new challenge - showrooming. This is when customers visit a physical store to interact with merchandise in person, but leave the store to complete the transaction online.

To fight this growing problem, stores are looking to boost their customer satisfaction and loyalty with the hope that it will keep patrons from going online for products and services they can get in stores. Some stores, such as Target, are building up their loyalty programs to encourage customers to keep bringing their business to the store, reports Retail Customer Experience.

Target's efforts include sending coupons directly to customers' mobile devices, and offering products at slightly lower costs to offset online price comparisons, the source reports. When retailers use loyalty programs effectively, they can gather valuable insight from customers' purchasing history to provide them with more direct offers in the future and build more personalized relationships.

In a separate effort, Walmart leveraged a campaign that yielded similar results. The discount retail chain recently started offering its shoppers a new way to pay online. Since a large portion of its customers are underbanked - paying with cash and debit cards rather than credit - they are allowing consumers to pay with cash online.

When customers click the "Pay With Cash" button, their merchandise will be sent to the physical store where it will available for pick-up. While this may seem strange, according to Ad Age, the brand is actually providing a valuable service that meets its customers' needs while it is also encouraging them to spend dollars in stores where it can offer customer service, build relationships and suggest additional items.