A growing number of consumers are effectively using their mobile phones and tablets to “check out the competition” even while they are in the store. By using a simple Amazon App, they can do in-store comparative shopping. And it’s not just the teenagers and young adults doing it. The mature adults and grandparents are getting into the act thanks in part to Apple and their extensive customer training programs.

There is in fact a real revolution taking place in retailing, and it’s called internet and mobile marketing. Tackle stores of all sizes are not immune to this seismic shift in how consumers shop for products. It’s efficient, consumer-friendly and spreading rapidly.

Thus, the question becomes will this new technology hurt your business or will you adapt, change and use this phenomenon to enhance and grow your business?

Doing nothing is not a prudent move. To take the position that “my customers are loyal and are not that price sensitive,” is naive. It’s happening right now. As of January 2014, Amazon is the 16th largest retailer in the entire world. And, yes, you can purchase fishing tackle through Amazon.

Recently, I was in a major electronics retailer shopping for a specific item. While I was contemplating purchasing the same item online, the salesman said, “let’s check Amazon.” He found the same item for less money and he met that price on the spot. What a great marketing move on their part!

So how can a tackle retailer use the internet and mobile marketing to their advantage? There are many ways; let’s take a look.

  • Get ahead of the customers who are showrooming and trying to make up their minds. Check online for a better price for the customer and extend that price to the customer right then and there. You will make the sale, earn their loyalty and have a chance to sell all the associated accessories.
  • Gravitate to mobile check-out wherein any sales person can scan the customer’s items and collect payment. This speeds up checkout time, increases employee productivity and reduces space for dedicated registers.
  • Consider creating tablet kiosks in your story. Customers who have tablets in hand (their’s or the store’s) can shop the retailer’s website while in the store, order online and drop-ship the purchase to themselves or a gift recipient. Sales staff equipped with tablets can search the internet for more product information and/or options on behalf of the consumer.
  • Use scannable QR (Quick Response) codes on in-store signs for special deals, information or related discounts which can be accessed via the customer’s mobile device.
  • List your specials on retailmenot.com‘s app to offer your customers special discount coupons to facilitate in-store sales. At the same, you will be capturing their email address for future email offerings. With those addresses, you can send notification alerts to customers, while in the store or otherwise, of special sale offerings.

With computers, tablets or smart phones, a retailer can quickly keep track of their competitors and therefore respond immediately and decisively to competitive conditions. Failure to be informed or quickly respond will cost you sales.

With competition for consumer spending increasing, using integrated internet-based technology to improve the customer shopping experience not only gives you a leg up on your competition, it also garners new customers and increased store consciousness. Let’s face it, your customers are becoming more tech savvy.

Like it or not, this shift in consumer shopping patterns is here to stay and will ultimately affect smaller and more specialized retailers. While showrooming may just be starting for tackle stores, I assure you that it’s happening and at an increasing rate.

So instead of lamenting over consumer showrooming in your store, use this mobile technology to win over more customers and ring the registers more consistently. Get your arms around this retailing change; it pays dividends!

About The Author

Robbie Brown

Robbie Brown is the President & Principal of R.L. Brown & Associates, a Chicago based consulting form serving the fishing tackle and sporting goods industry. Mr. Brown has served as CEO for a national, retail sporting goods chain, a wholesale distribution company and an international consulting company. He has published over 400 business articles in national and international trade magazines and served as a business motivator and advisor to many industry CEO's.

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