How can retailers protect themselves from “showrooming,” where customers come into our store to find products they want to buy, but then walk out or stand right there and purchase them online from someone else?
Seeing customers turn on their smartphones—and then pass on buying your merchandise—hurts. “It’s like being at the high school dance and watching your date leave with someone better-looking than you,” says retail consultant Bob Phibbs.
You can try to stop the pain by posting signs encouraging people to shop local, or even fight technology with technology. “In the extreme, retailers will implement lasers in the store to break up handheld scanning apps from reading,” Wes Shepherd, the chief executive of online retail intelligence provider Channel IQ, writes in an e-mail.