The Evolving Showroom – MessHall

Going online or staying offline? This has been a question looming over every business attempting to sell a product in today’s marketplace. On one side is the new option of selling one’s carpet product online, and on the other keeping one’s brick-and-mortar business and all the taxes, rental and utility costs that come with it and continue relying on selling face-to-face.

The New Shopping Experience

Technology is modifying the way we shop — some argue it is doing away with the old methods and even destroying them, killing the brick-and-mortar business. One way this is happening is through what collectively is known as ‘showrooming’: people are shopping for products in stores and then check their smart devices to see if there are cheaper offers to be found online. The design agency Foolproof made a survey in this regard and found out that one in five consumers admits to only visiting physical stores to check out a product in order to then buy it cheaper online.

Transforming Negative To Positive

However, while this new trend is worrying for those with physical showrooms and shops, it can be turned to the positive. Remember, people still need a showroom to be able to physically see the product before they buy it. With products such as fabrics that rely on their colors and feel to give the potential customers a good impression of what it is they are wanting to buy, showrooms are a must. No picture in the world will be able to transmit the sense of how a material will look and feel in the real world. So let’s take the above study and flip it on its head: four in five may buy online later, but it can also mean that four in five will buy in the shop.

All Markets Are Being Served

It is very important to remember that online retailing is here to stay and that a business needs to be able to deliver both to online shopper as well as the walk-in clientele. At the same time technology that helps visualizing a product is certainly on the rise. 3D technology for example will make it possible for clients to play around with a virtual version of the product to see how it would look and feel on them or in their environment, before coming into the store to actually buy it.

The Winning Combination

The merging of online tech with the old-fashioned brick-and-mortar shopping experience can mean that a retailer can serve both a local as well as a global shopping community. For clients it’s a reassuring feeling to know that there is both a physical as well as an online presence. Especially with costlier products a client may do his initial online research, but then will want to go the extra mile and come into the shop for the final decision.

The Landscape Is Changing

Despite its infancy, online retailing is certainly changing the world of shopping in dramatic ways. It is important to remember that a business needs to evolve in order to attract and best serve a brand-new generation of shoppers and their expectations. These shoppers may come into the showroom to get a hands-on experience of the product, but may then change their minds or the order or even go elsewhere to make the final purchase. Alternately they may do online research first and then show up at the shop for the final decision.

No matter which method clients prefer to use, both the physical showroom as well as the practice of showrooming will be around for a while.

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