Retailers are striking back against the practice of “showrooming” — when a customer browses for an item in a store, but then buys it online, often at a cheaper price.
“It’s very critical for the retailer to have the customer actually walk into the store… They can then come across other products in the store that they end up buying,” says Pradeep Chintagunta, who teaches marketing at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
Which is why JC Penney has sent out a $10 coupon to customers, and why Neiman Marcus and Target are offering an exclusive line of products in store. They’re both ways to get customers, not just into, but shopping at their stores.
Yet, retailers don’t think all e-commerce is bad. Retail historian and Harvard professor Nancy Koehn says the future of marketing will be blended like a martini: “Where the vodka is the ecommerce and the vermouth is the brick and mortar commerce…It is by no means clear that it’s about a big dark line between online commerce and brick and mortar commerce.”