Amazon announced it is offering up to a $5 incentive for someone to walk out of a brick & mortar retailer this Saturday and shop online.
Facebook and blogs are lighting up on this topic.
Retailers are obviously outraged by Amazon's blatant attempt to use their stores as free showrooms.
Before you get your panties in a bind, however, here are two different ways to look at this...
IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER
Statistics show that about 35% of the US population uses a smart phone. And only a quarter of those people use it for primary browsing purposes.
So now we are down to only 8.75% of the population are likely to use their mobile phone for this purpose. Now figure out how many of those have that Amazon price check app. Let's be generous and say that 80% of those people have the app. Now we are down to 7% of the population.
It has been shown before that only about half the population are price shoppers, which gets us down to 3.5%. Then figure out your share of the market. 5%? 10%?
Assuming you are rocking it in your market and have 10% market share, then you can expect about 0.35% of your customers to be using such an app.
But wait, you say. Many of your customers are early adopters. They make up a higher percentage of the smart phone owners. Yes, but at the same time, a larger percentage of your customers are not price shoppers. So it is a wash.
Bottom line? Do the math and you will see that about 1 out of every 225 customers in your store this Saturday will take advantage of this offer.
KILL 'EM WITH KINDNESS
And when that customer does pull out her phone and zap an item, you get a unique opportunity. You get the chance to show her how wonderful and helpful your store is.
As long as you approach it the right way.
She is zapping for information. Not just price but also product specs and reviews. You can win her over by also being a knowledgeable font of information.
Help her understand if the item is right for her needs by asking important questions like, "What are you hoping this item will do for you? What problem are you trying to solve?"
Embrace the information she finds online. Ask her to share what she reads. Quite often you will find that the information is either faulty or useless. Then you have the opportunity to engage with her and steer her straight.
It is all about winning the customer's trust. You do that by being friendly, honest and open. You do that by acknowledging the downside to a product. You do that by showing the upside, too, the benefits of shopping with you and keeping your purchases local. You do that by understanding the customer is a person with needs and fears just like you. Find out what is her fear and you know how to build her trust.
Heck, you don't need to wait for them to use a smart phone app before you do all that.
PS If you feel the need, you can always play the Amazon-doesn't-care-about-the-local-community card. Just ask your customers how much Amazon contributed to the fire and police departments in your town. But the best approach is to not worry at all. Just do what you do so well that your customers want to support you.