Quick thoughts on how to deal with ROBO (Research Offline Buy Online):
- PRICE CHECK WITH THEM
Remove the need to go home and price search online…price check with them on the spot. When the order is fully picked out, do online price-matching WITH your customers in the showroom. Control the sale and push to confirm while they’re still in the showroom.
It surprises customers (positively) and most items will be at IMAP online anyway. Often, after you’ve looked up a few items the customer will get the idea that you offer the best value.
- VENDOR 50
Negotiate with top vendors an auto “50% below any online price” policy. Get into writing that you can attach a screen-capture of any online price to a PO and then drop that item price – right on the PO – down to 50% of the online price.
A number of vendors are already doing this and that is a HUGE benefit to us showrooms.
- PRICE MATCH
Have a creative price-match policy. If you can’t confirm the order on the spot – which we should always try to do – tell customers that if they find a cheaper price, come back in and you’ll match that price AND enter them into a drawing for a $200 gift card or similar (do the drawing once per year and advertise the winner on social media as proof that you offer the best value in lighting).
- INTERNAL NUMBERS
Only print estimates out with internal item numbers. Make sure your website and hang-tags only display your own internal item numbers, but make sure that your site can search by vendor item numbers as well so if someone has already found an item they can still easily find it.
- LIFETIME WARRANTY
(I was nervous about this at first, but it’s worked out well for my showrooms)
Tell customers that if they buy from you they get automatically upgraded to a lifetime warranty. If something goes wrong with the fixture for any reason – kid takes a hammer to the glass…aliens invade and you bend a fan downrod fighting them off – doesn’t matter. Bring the item back and get full credit to use on a replacement.
This adds extra value and if you price-match there’s no downside to the customer. Even if a customer takes you up on the warranty (we’ve only had one that I can remember in over a decade) they are so pleased with the experience that they go around telling EVERYONE to come buy from you. Great advertising!
Jason Petersen owns Hansen Lighting Inc. a lighting company with multiple showrooms in Utah.
Jason acquired Hansen Lighting out of near-bankruptcy in 2004 and turned the company around by implementing outside-the-box systems and ideas. The company is now one of the fastest growing companies in America (#3087 on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list) and has been recognized as one of the most profitable privately-owned retailers in North America.
Jason is also the co-founder of XOLogic and Lit Living Inc.