Show Rooming Is Our Fault


Show Rooming Is Our Fault

Target got all a tither last week firing off letters to their suppliers demanding they either reduce their costs or focus on giving Target more unique and exclusive products to sell in their stores.

Problem is that folks go to Target, look at a product, touch it, hold it, feel it, ask questions about it and then turn around and go online and buy the same thing cheaper from some online company that doesn’t have the costs to bear for the brick and mortar, the labor and all the rest.

They call it Show Rooming and brick and mortar retailers like Target are getting sick of it. 

But Target is mad at the wrong people.  It’s not the supplier that’s the problem – it’s us. 

Maybe it was the way I was brought up or where I’ve worked but there’s something wrong about using one company to learn and see everything about a product and then going out and buying it online ( or anywhere else for that matter.)   And it happens a lot.

There’s something wrong with walking into the local hardware store, getting that advice on which paint to use to cover paneling, spending some time at the color wheel and then saying “Thanks man!” while jumping in the car to speed off to the superstore to get the exact same paint a little cheaper.

There’s something wrong when the Veterinarian examines your dog, hands you the product she needs to stay healthy and you put it down sheepishly saying “gee I can’t get that right now” only to go on line, look for the same product and order it there for 3 bucks cheaper.

There’s something wrong with going to a car dealer, working the sales rep for 2 days, getting all the answers, taking that test drive and getting all of it down on paper  to then neatly fold it, slip it into your back pocket and then shopping around with all this new knowledge to get better price from some other dealer who sells the same model car.

And it happens to you too.

It’s not real different in sales either when you spend 3 weeks educating a prospect about a solution, prepare a proposal and that prospect takes your proposal and their new education, then turns it over to a competitor and says “Beat that”.  That happens, that’s life but that’s Show Rooming a Sales Rep and that ain’t right.

It’s a lot like stealing I think.  For too many people it’s not a problem to take insight, or time, or commitment, or ideas only to use them against the very people and places that were so skilled or gracious in giving them to you in the first place by going somewhere else to buy.

That’s called Show Rooming and nope, even though its rampant and even a source of pride for some, I don’t like it one bit. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.



6 thoughts on “Show Rooming Is Our Fault

  1. Brian Switzer

    Awesome post Mark, about a practice that is a pet peeve of mine.

    When someone show rooms they are taking money out of the local community, putting local jobs at risk, and making it less likely that the local business or hometown big box store will still be in business the next time you need to make a purchase.

    Apple has an app that allows you to stand in a place of business, scan a bar code, and get a price on the same product from Amazon. That seems particularly heinous to me, but is just a sign of how wide-spread show rooming has become.

  2. Joe Ramsey

    I asked Big River Running about this. In their industy, it’s a little bit different. Specialty Running Retailer. They recognize that hard-core runners who know what they want will buy their shoes online cheaper. But, people who are just starting out as runner come to them for advice — ongoing advice, which turns into a relationship. So… either Target needs to recognize that they really, truly are a discount merchandiser, or they need to add a little value to the relationship. Best Buy tries to do both, and I think they do ok with it. They’re still my first choice for electronics, despite Wal-mart being cheaper.

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