COUNTER INSURGENT: Showroom Gloom

Our anonymous Counter Insurgent columnist warns that showrooming customers could cost you more than just a sale…
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Our anonymous Counter Insurgent columnist warns that showrooming customers could cost you more than just a sale…

So, we enter a year where ‘selfie’ is the latest word to join the Oxford English Dictionary, beating off competition to be included in the 2014 edition of the world-famous book.

Coming close behind, it seems, was the term ‘showrooming’ – and it’s already being tipped for addition in the 2015 release. The word should be of grave concern to all High Street retailers and the cause of a shudder down your spine.

“But what is showrooming – and why should we worry?” I hear the naïve among you ask.

Showrooming is when somebody comes in your store, gets all the information from your carefully designed displays and a half-hour demo from you – and then goes and buys the product online. Yes, it makes my blood boil as well. These days the showroomers don’t bother to hide – they come in with a smartphone and stand there checking prices online.

Even more infuriating is when showroomers buy online and then come to you for help (which they never expect to pay for) or ring up and ask for help because ‘KnowHow’ unfortunately didn’t ‘know how’.

So, we are left to pick up the pieces of an online sale and the customer cannot understand why we don’t want to do it for free. Nowadays the complaint I hear the most is that the High Street is just becoming banks, building societies and charity shops – and apparently we come in the latter.

It’s a simple equation folks: if you want to keep your High Street interesting, then simply visit it and spend money in it. Otherwise in a few years time you will all be sat at home staring at a screen, unable to speak to anyone and wondering where those ever-so-helpful people from the High Street disappeared to.

I just got off the phone with a lady who needs help with her tablet. I asked if she purchased it from us – she said no, but added that she did once buy a cartridge from us in 1997, and apparently this entitles her to free tablet support.

I seem to remember offering free lifetime support with every cartridge we sold back in the day, and seemingly this covers everything from cartridges to tablets – and probably delivery drones if Amazon has its way.

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