I didn’t know this practice had a formal name, but I definitely do it.
It’s called showrooming, and it’s when you take to the internet for a cheaper price after checking out merchandise in-store. Whether you buy a specific product from the official retailer, Amazon, eBay, or a department store, you’re motivated to do so online for as cheaply as possible. And you’re not alone.
Target (that well known and extremely large American retailer that’s making its way to Canada) has implemented a price matching strategy that they hope will curb this problematic habit. They’ll match any price found online, especially if it’s found on a big competitor site.
That’s all well and good, I suppose. But the problem with these price-matching policies is that Target is still making CUSTOMERS do the work. If you read the fine print, it’s all very complicated. And in my opinion, not worth it.
In fact, we recently had the pleasure of writing an article for The Canadian Franchise Association about digital strategy and this sort of thing. What people are doing today from their mobile devices is incredible, but companies still aren’t catching on.
It’s no wonder why the likes of third parties are giving big retailers like Target a run for their money. For Target, it might be too little too late.
(Image politely borrowed from photographer Sannah Kvist)
I recently stumbled upon an article written by a CEO that didn’t even own a car.
That’s not a typo. This woman intentionally avoided purchasing one despite the fact that she could easily afford it (well, presumably). She attributed this to the cultural shift of “dis-ownership,” arguing that we now get more value by owning fewer physical things.
I think it might also be attributed to the fact that transit is just plain efficient in big cities, but hey. Let’s entertain this idea, why don’t we?
While we’re not motivated by any good samaritan status, we DO enjoy the liberation of holding onto less at times. It’s more convenient. Granted, there’s still that appreciation for physical items (like our beloved phones, par example), but is there more to it than that?
I’m inclined to think so. I don’t necessarily believe we consciously “dis-own” per se, but the nature of things to be owned is what’s changing. What do we assign value to, and how is that different from what our parents valued? What our children will value?
Quite simply, I think we’re seeing a shift in paying for access, not objects.
- Government bodies don’t need to buy full computers with moving parts. They can rely on cloud computing and ditch the hardware.
- I’ve never paid for cable TV in my life. Not because I’m a criminal, but because I’ve got YouTube (15 subscriptions and counting) and Netflix.
- We can attend university/college for basic education, and then further ourselves with Lynda.com. Or hell, even the google toolbar in our browsers.
- We turn to MP3s for music instead of having it be etched onto not-so-compact discs.
- Even public libraries are catching on with e-books in the footsteps of Google.
The value has shifted because the media has shifted. And all that’s been made possible by the democratization of information. The internet makes it easy for anyone to create, access, and exhibit almost everything.
Good luck to any poor sap who tries to control it.