Changes in customer buying behavior

Over the last decade, changes in customer buying behavior have been greatly influenced by the advances in mobile technologies to improve customer experience. The shift has presented a real challenge to brick-and-mortar retail stores whose main focus has been on offline sales, mostly with customers having to walk to the stores and purchase products of their choice. Competing with eCommerce retailers that can offer the same products as those sold by the physical stores at low prices is the marketing challenge in this case study. Showrooming, where customers use the brick-and-mortar stores o identity their most preferred products and then make the purchase from a cheaper online store, has presented a real challenge to most retailers, as brought out by Mehra et al. (par 1).

Marketing aims to increase the number of sales of a business which entails overcoming all the challenges impeding a business from achieving this goal. Best buy had started experiencing large traffics that did not match the number of sales at the end of the day and this presented a real challenge. As seen on paragraph three, around twenty-seven percent of the customers used a mobile app while in a store to look for lower prices from online retailers. With the  emergence and fast expansion of e-commerce retailers like Amazon and eBay, Best buy had to compete with online retailers who had the ability to set the product’s’ prices very low and attract large number of customers with tight shopping budgets and price sensitive. As observed from the case study, Best buy experienced a drop in sales as Amazon, one of the online retailers experienced a continued growth in its sales and market share.

Embracing technology in the customer experience management process was a good move. Best buy creating its’ own website and enhancing online transactions was the right way to go in response to the changing customer buying behavior. However, a heavy focus on price-match strategy; matching prices with other in-store retailers online retailers was not the move for the institution.  This can be observed from the fact that online retailers have lower costs especially the operations costs relating to the maintenance of stores and the large number of employees who have to be paid.

Price matching strategy may help drive traffic toward the business and prevent a business from losing its customers to competitors but has a bearing on the business’ profit margins. “The cost effectiveness and profitability of a business is heavily depended on it pricing strategy” Tony , 131). A focus of price matching can be made on the products that customers mostly buy from online retailers instead of price-matching all the products. Setting competitive prices on products that online retailers mostly offer and adding unique experiences that online retailers may fail to offer can be more effective than heavily focusing on price-matching. Apart from the price-matching strategy, the brick-and-mortar stores can capitalize on in-store experiences, loyalty programs and discounts meant to increases offline and online purchases. e-commerce retailers  may not be in a position to offer making it the only for customers seeking more than just products.

Another way to convert Showrooming to actual purchases would be through enhancing access and delivery of products through different stores in different regions and availing all the information to the customers thought the company’s website and mobile application. The business may capitalize on making it easier for customers to easily acquire all its products from their nearest stores thereby cutting on costs of having to ship from far regions which only increase the cost and price of products. “Product delivery delays are one of the factors leading to customers choosing fast online retailers” (Brown et al., 86).  For the products not available on the store, the company may opt buying them and shipping them to the customers without necessarily having to stock them in the stores as brought out by Wertz (par4). This may help in reducing costs related to physical storage of all the products’ in the company’s product lines. In addition to this, capitalizing on customer service strategies like offering consultations and installations services or guidance to customers can lead to a competitive advantage. Delivery of products can go hand in hand with installation services for electronic gadgets like TV sets making it easy for customers to opt for best buy products. Offering a place for customers to look out for new products, selling the products at competitive prices and offering after-sale services that most online retailers are unable to offer appears to be the best way to go.

In conclusion, Showrooming is a serious marketing challenge that modern brick-and-mortar retailers have to deal with. Best Buy case study changed my view on dealing with marketing challenges. Adopting an approach that would entail application of different strategies through careful examination of the effects the strategies may have on the business’ success in the long run forms the main lesson learned for instance overreliance on price matching strategy may shrink the business’s profit margins.

Works cited

Brown, Terence A., et al. “Showrooming and the Small Retailer Qualitative Consumer Research Article Information” : no. November 2019, 2017, doi:10.1108/S1548-643520170000014007

Mehra, A., Kumar, S., & Raju, J.S. (2018). Competitive Strategies for Brick-and-Mortar Stores to Counter “Showrooming”. Manag. Sci., 64, 3076-3090.

Wertz J. How Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Compete with E-Commerce Giants. Forbes. May 17 2018.  Accessed 4 Nov 2021.

Toni, D. De, Sperandio, G., Busata, E., & Larentis, F. (2017) Revista de Administração. Revista de Administração, 52(2), 120–133.




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