Indochino, Other Mobile Payments Friendly Brands Embrace Showrooming

August 8, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

When we heard about showrooming in the past, it was often in the most negative of senses. We heard about how it took business from stores, how it was crippling the brick-and-mortar market by forcing it to absorb expenses with little recompense, and so on. Now, some online-focused stores are actually taking this tactic and turning it into opportunity, making the showrooming concept a boon for their operations where it was a curse for the brick-and-mortar set.

Indochino, for example, was one of the biggest such movers on this front. It started life as a digital-only operation, but subsequently decided to go omnichannel. In the process, it created what it called showrooms, which gave customers the option to buy formal wear on a made-to-order basis. That meant a personalized experience, and allowed customers several options to make their formal wear their own.

Such a move, according to Indochino’s CEO Drew Green, not only gave customers new options but also gave Indochino new options as well. Since it didn’t need much in the way of inventory, it could readily open up new stores without having to stock these first. Given that Indochino plans to open 20 to 25 such showrooms in the US during 2019, it’s clear that Indochino is taking this concept as far as it can.

This represents a serious opportunity for online businesses in general. The concept that worked against the brick-and-mortar can actually work well for the online business, basically by cutting out the middleman. Instead of online businesses having to offer excellent deals and hoping to lure away customers from the brick-and-mortar outlets where they’re trying things on or looking things over, they can just offer the same things right there. This should improve the chances that customers will make the call for that business immediately, and possibly even preserve some jobs as those showrooms will need customer service reps. It’s likely to continue to sock the brick-and-mortar arm in the bottom line, however, and they’ll need to find a way to work around this latest hit.

It’s one more problem for brick-and-mortar to handle, however, but the mobile payments-friendly online shops moving in to stores nearby should be a useful development for customers.