Don’t Showroom in the Showroom

GameStop wants to stop shoppers from “showrooming” by bombarding customers’ phones with annoying advertisements. I can’t imagine how this brilliant plan could fail.

Ever since the widespread availability of smartphones has made it easy for people to connect to the internet anywhere and everywhere they go, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like GameStop and Best Buy have expressed concern and anguish about the phenomenon of showrooming – wherein shoppers walk into a store to browse products, but then search and buy the same items online for cheaper, and walk out of the store empty-handed.

In an attempt to discourage this insidious practice, GameStop has partnered with a company called Shelfbucks, which will use Beacon technology to track when customers walk into GameStop stores and immediately target them for GameStop advertising.

From the press release:

Shelfbucks uses unique Beacon devices, installed on retailers’ store shelves, to provide an enhanced shopping experience for customers. A shopper browsing a product area interacts with Shelfbucks Beacons using a smartphone, and can immediately access expert content, promotional offers, ratings and reviews, and relevant data on nearby products. Shelfbucks helps eliminate the need for additional online research and showrooming, while saving shoppers time and delivering a superior shopping experience.

You see? They’re totally just trying to be helpful and enhance the GameStop shopping experience. How completely selfless of them!

How exactly this will work is a little unclear to me, but the announcement also mentions a “consumer facing app.” If this requires a customer to willfully download a GameStop app in order to receive GameStop coupons and offers, that wouldn’t seem too invasive to me. However, I fail to see why tracking Beacons would be needed for that. More likely, any web page that a shopper pulls up while inside a GameStop store will have a GameStop advertisement on it.

It seems to me that this will inevitably lead to a ‘Minority Report’-style future, where everyone is tracked and harassed by targeted advertisements everywhere they go.

If stores like GameStop want to convince shoppers to buy products in stores rather than online, shouldn’t the first step be to lower prices and match the competition?

Be honest. Tell us in the Comments if you’ve ever showroomed.

[Source: Market Wired]

10 comments

  1. William Henley

    I have actually started shopping at Best Buy again, and that is because they match internet prices. I got the Amazon app loaded on my phone. Just go down to Best Buy, scan the barcode, and show it to them at the registar.

    Gamestop I usually go to for used products anyways. If I am buying a new game, chances are I am pulling the digital download. Over the past year, I have really come to appreciate digital downloads.

  2. Are we talking electronics and blurays or everything in general? For a little over a year I have gone to Best Buy to match Amazon prices, I love that because I don’t have to wait and I get my reward points. I guess you could say that I do it, but I usually ask if they would price match before I leave empty handed. A lot of times a retailer’s own website has a better price than their own store does so why not check?

  3. Maybe Gamestop is not such a good example as well, Game system is $399.99 in this store and may be found cheapest online at $399.96. Wow, what a discount. No competition.
    Newest hot release video game? $69.99 at Gamestop, $69.99 @ Amazon, $69.99 on ebay, $69.96 @ Walmart.
    Do we see a pattern emerging here?

    But Best Buy … Latest hot shit tv set for $1899.99 at Best Buy may be as low as $1349.99 somewhere else with a little searching.

  4. Lone_gunmen

    I tend to use most physical stores as showrooms. I buy almost all of my groceries, games, electronics and essentials online. I work in retail/customer service, but I still prefer to shop online.

    • Bill

      So basically you do things that may put you and people like you out of a job? Seems kind of self-defeating don’t you think?

      • Whats the point if you have to spend more and more money at a retail store? Almost everything can be had cheaper online if you go to the right places and take some time to look. I dont even have a Best Buy close to me and even if I did, I wouldnt shop there because I hate their store, their employees and customer service, I still have no idea why they are still around with the shit they pull on people, their online support forums are riddled with customer problems that constantly get laughed at by current and former Best Buy employees.

        I do most of my shopping online as well and I’ve certainly “showroomed” before too and I will continue to do so as long as it saves me money on what I want/need to buy.

        How this is legal though is beyond me, if I walk into a Gamestop store and look up something on the internet using my own 4G signal through Verizon, Gamestop shouldnt be able to send me adds and hack into my phone to do so. Hopefully this isnt whats going to happen but I wouldnt put it past them for trying…..I’ve also quit using Gamestop for anything too, just let my Game Informer run out and I dont plan to use their store for much anymore either, no point when I get the same stuff and better deals through Amazon and now I can trade just about anything in at Walmart and get better trade values and I dont have to buy just games with that credit either 🙂

      • Lone_gunmen

        A lot of physical retail stores and chains have online stores to make money, and not everyone in retail is a sales clerk or cashier, so your comment is a bit shortsighted. These companies need to adapt or die, just like any other business.

  5. Frankie

    I always check online before going to a store to make a purchase. Other than researching the price, it helps to see if an item may be in stock but we all know that doesn’t always work. I actually do a lot of online purchases with store pick-up to save on shipping costs.

  6. Torrlisand67

    I think it’s extremely intrusive and disrespectful to the customers. It’s our own fault by giving away all our info. Always just excepting there terms mostly without question. Makes me not want to shop there or anywhere they use this technology.

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