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]