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Scan and Scram Tactics for Retailers

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The Internet is making it increasingly hard for retailers to combat the "Scan and Scram" tactics used by shoppers. Scan and Scram is when shoppers use their mobile smart phones in the store to scan bar codes, compare prices online and then leave the store if they find it cheaper online, using the store as a showroom rather than shopping there. An article from ClickZ offers up[URL="http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2140398/retailers-combat-scan-scram"] 7 Ways Retailers Can Combat Scan and Scram[/URL], make a sale and/or keep a customer long term. At first thought, a retailer might think to be confrontational about smart phone shoppers, but they might find that if they embrace the technology in a "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" sort of mentality, that the store might benefit in the long run.

Here are the 7 techniques for retailers to keep a smart phone scanner/shopper in the store as a customer rather than losing them for life:

[COLOR=#000000][B]1. Do no harm.[/B] Mistakes handling smartphone shoppers are still far more common than positive steps forward. So our first piece of advice is really a set of "don'ts."[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]Don't obstruct the mobile research process. [/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]Don't create new restrictions.

Don't slap down new rules preventing smartphone use in stores. [/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000][B]2. Go native.[/B] Become knowledgeable about mobile apps and sites that consumers are using to price check goods in stores. Use them, and get staff to use them, too. When talking with customers, know what they have in mind.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000][B]3. Be clear about your value.[/B] What are the benefits of doing business with the retailer, in the store, on a given occasion versus with a competitor elsewhere? Unless the retailer is specifically in the volume-discount business, there have to be some benefits beyond price, or its doors actually should close. Identify those benefits, articulate them, and share them with customers. Then reinforce them through simple mobile tools and services that can be built and monitored.[/COLOR]
[LIST][*]Do social causes matter to your customers? A more humanized transaction with people they know and trust? A smaller carbon footprint? A better quality of life that comes from a diverse business community? Then remind them of that value wherever they're considering the price - whether on the shelf or through the mobile experience you've created. They're doing more than buying something in a store; they're supporting the community it's connected with.[*]Is there anything about the product or line that is unique, or that a customer won't be able to find elsewhere? Limited editions, specific qualities of materials or workmanship, unusual accessories? If so, make sure the customer knows about them. If not, create distinctions that will add value and communicate them both at the shelf and through the mobile experience.[*]What about buying local? Regionalism both conveys a social value (supporting the community) and suggests uniqueness. Identify whatever authentic stories exist about how products are made, serviced, or designed locally. Reinforce these messages through the mobile app or site so that these stories become part of customers' value equation.[*]Product support is almost universally recognized as having cash value. While traditionally included for free as a part of the purchase experience, expert advice on product usage, trouble-shooting and feature optimization, must now be brought to customers' attention. Make a point of telling them it's included in the price of the product. Consider positioning it as a product feature to be described in the mobile experience, too.[/LIST][COLOR=#000000][B]4. Talk about price.[/B] Ask customers to share their best price. (At least one large electronics retailer we know of, Fry's, is actually promising to match online prices; but not everyone can do this.) At the worst, doing this will produce two sources of valuable information: (a) where customers are getting the price information, and (b) the price you need to match or beat.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000]It may be that the source is inaccurate. Or more likely - we've seen this all the time in in-store ethnographic research - the price the customer's found doesn't consider "total savings". What are all the cost savings that customers enjoy by buying at the physical store that they might be forgetting by looking only at the price tags? Rewards or year-end dividends from your loyalty program? Occasion-based discounts? Free returns? Gas money and travel time to get to the next store? Shipping costs? [/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000][B]5. Deliver a mobile experience.[/B] Retailers that fail to provide a mobile site or app for customers to use in-store are simply ceding the conversation about their products to competitors (and to price-checking services) already delivering mobile experiences. But those that do provide them can build value that will keep them involved in the online conversations occurring in their aisles and better compete for mobile customers' business. [/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000][B]6. Design the mobile experience to compete.[/B] The mobile experience does not have to be complex. But it must (a) give people a reason to download it (or click on the site); (b) a path to quickly consider the products; and (c) a means to correctly appreciate total value.[/COLOR]
[LIST][*]Asking customers to download your app or click on your site works astonishingly well as an incentive. (Simple but true.) Customers are curious and will view your mobile experience as another product worth exploring.[*]Once they activate the mobile experience in the store, engage customers by providing them with a new angle on the products: use the mobile screen to display available backroom stock; show a calendar of upcoming sales; provide ratings and product comparisons.[*]When they identify a specific product of interest and look at the price, customers will also see the reminders placed there of the cost savings they'll accrue by buying the time in the store that day: year-end dividends, rewards points, the cash value of product support services included, or other values that frontline sales staff will have previously identified as often decisive.[*]Before the customer clicks away, she should get a message to show the person at the cash register the price to beat, with a promise they will do the best possible to keep that customer's business in the store.[/LIST][COLOR=#000000][B]7. Talk about mobile.[/B] Engage customers in conversation about ways they can use their smartphones to help them find what they need in the store. Do they know the retailer has an app or mobile web site? Do they know how they can benefit from using it? According to our research, consumers feel awkward using their phones in stores right now. Make them feel more welcome by telling them it's okay to use their phones to help them shop.[/COLOR]

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