Luring Online Shoppers Offline. (The New York Times, 7/5/2012)
Excerpt: As online shopping has surged, traditional retailers have lost millions in sales to so-called showrooming — when shoppers check out products in stores that they then buy from Web sites like Amazon. It has gotten so bad that Best Buy even replaces standard bar codes with special Best Buy-only codes on big ticket items so they cannot be scanned and compared online.
Now some big retailers are taking a new approach to the dreaded showrooming by transforming their stores into extensions of their own online operations. Walmart, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sears, the Container Store and other retailers are stepping up efforts to add
- Web return centers,
- pickup locations,
- free shipping outlets,
- payment booths and even
- drive-through customer service centers