A couple of excellent articles this week reminded me of the importance for Canadian eRetailers of creating a sustainable eCommerce strategy: one that extends beyond “price-matching”.
ROPO and Showrooming are major trends in Canada
According to Techvibes/ Tony Holbrook and Google’s Holiday Consumer Intentions survey, 80% of Canadian shoppers will research online before making a purchase this holiday season. Furthermore, it is estimated that the majority of these (51% of customers) will Research Online and then Purchase Offline (ROPO) by visiting the store. And of those Canadian consumers that visit the store, about 50% will take their mobile devices to compare pricing in store (Showrooming).
What does this mean? Consumers are now empowered with massive real-time information on products and pricing to get “the best deal”. Bob Schwartz (ex Nordstrom and Magento) has labeled this “Technology Enabled Retail”.
eRetailers are responding by price-matching
A recent study showed that price-matching has emerged as the preferred strategy among eRetailers for combating any negative effects of Showrooming. In fact, some suggest training salespeople to identify consumers exhibiting Showrooming behaviour, and to make suitable counteroffers on-the-spot.
No doubt, competitive pricing is vitally important for retail success. However, for most Canadian eRetailers (not blessed with industry-leading economies-of-scale) a price-matching strategy will mean commoditization, razor-thin margins, and therefore an unsustainable long-term strategy.
Strategies beyond Price
The D&T Holiday Mood 2012 survey indicates that consumers find these retailer attributes most appealing:
- Lowest prices
- Largest selection
- Exceptional customer service
- Loyalty programs
- Personalized offers and promotions
- Multichannel (in-store, online, mobile, etc.) shopping experience
Sure. “Lowest Prices” takes top spot. But look at attributes #2 through #7: there is real opportunity to positively differentiate on value-added.
Leading the way in Canada
CanadianInternet.com offers some excellent ways to be competitive and win sales online without having to resort to price-matching, including innovative products/ services/ business models, and superior Customer Experience Management strategies that lead to loyalty, across both offline and online channels.
If you’ve successfully implemented such innovation in your Canadian eCommerce operation, send us an email, or let us know how you’ve met the challenge by participating in our 2012 Canadian eCommerce/ eBusiness Management Survey. The rest of Canada needs to hear about it.