When Everyone Knows Where To Get It Cheaper


What are the two scariest words in the world for brands and retailers?

Price transparency.  And for retailers, the result is showrooming.

You used to be able to count on the fact that people didn’t have enough information to know where to get the best price for your products.  But it’s becoming clearer and clearer to more and more people that it’s right at their fingertips.  Whether it’s a Google search that delivers price comparison engines or apps like Amazon’s Price Check or Red Laser, pricing at virtually every place you can purchase a product is becoming crystal clear.

So what can a brand or a retailer do?  One frustrated CEO of a major retailer chain openly considered blocking phones access to the internet in his chain.  Talk about a potential P.R. nightmare.

If you are a brand, you are competing not only against knock-offs but you must deal with retailers who are willing to slash prices of your products and hurt your other retailers (and your own direct sales).  If you are a retailer you a competing against Amazon, every online retailer and any store in your neighborhood that carries similar products.

So the question becomes, “what takes price out of the equation?”

1.        The shopping and buying experience – Whether it is in a physical store or on a website, if the shopping and buying experience is extraordinary, price is not as critical.  Is it easy to find what you want; to check out; to keep track of your wish list; to get a real sense of the product; to get the help you need? If someone personally walks you through the buying process for your purchase you may be less likely to scan and leave the store.

2.       The owning experience – What comes with the product?  Is it support that you can’t get elsewhere? Ideas for using it in a more informed way? The opportunity to communicate with others and share ideas? A guarantee that you will be completely satisfied?

3.       Does your brand mean something to people that makes it more than a commodity? – When you buy a pair of Tom’s shoes you know that a pair is also donated to someone in need. When you buy your favorite luxury brands, you are buying into an exclusive club. When you shop at Whole Foods you know that the selection has been curated to meet your lifestyle.

When retailers like Best Buy, Wal Mart and Target are openly struggling with showrooming, you know there is a lot at stake. They are trying a variety of tactics but so far no clear solution has emerged.

What does it take to be “enough” of the extra value to make you not go “down the street” for the next cheapest product?  What brands or retail experiences are not commodities to you?



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2 Responses to When Everyone Knows Where To Get It Cheaper
  1. Anthony
    April 16, 2020 | 12:23 pm

    Hi Ilana,

    Nice article…please check out the grammar in the title…unless that was your intention…it did cause me to click on it…on second thought, don’t change it.

  2. Ilana Rabinowitz
    April 16, 2020 | 1:24 pm

    Thanks. Took me several times of reading it to see the mistake!

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