A major component of the firm’s strategy is “winning in e-commerce”. Wal-Mart is committed to delivering a multichannel experience in all of its core markets, including China, U.K., and Brazil. It added a Technology and eCommerce Committee, aiming to bring intensive company focus on global internet, social and mobile retailing. It has invested in new talent and technology and has launched a series of mobile applications trying to be a part of the showrooming trend, not fight against it.
Last year, Walmart increased its ownership stake in Yihaodian to approximately 51%. The leading Chinese e-commerce grocer made a significant market breakthrough by opening 1,000 3D virtual stores that integrate GPS technology and offer a unique customer experience. Wal-Mart is well-positioned to benefit from this strategic partnership.
On the same page, consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) wants to turn the tables and embrace showrooming. The firm replaced product barcodes with Best Buy-only codes to prevent shoppers from comparing prices online. Meanwhile, it bet on restructuring activities and enhancing customer satisfaction in order to improve its profitability and sales performance.
The firm has been harshly hit by buyers’ preference for Amazon. A recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive presents Best Buy as the “biggest showroom victim,” with 71% of its showroomers being snapped up by Amazon. At the moment, all eyes are focused on the chain’s founder, Richard Schulze, who is expected to make a second buyout bid by the end of this month. Schulze aims to take the company private while implementing plans for revitalizing its operations.
Online shopping has traditionally been limited to products like books and consumer electronics. However, the success of firms like ASOS, is pointing to the immense growth opportunities for mainstream retailers. The online fashion giant managed to speed up its domestic and international sales growth and become a fashion powerhouse by allowing its customers to shop in their bathrobes.
The emergence of mobile commerce and the act of showrooming are steadily leading to the end of an era for conventional retailers. If you can shop your groceries while waiting in the subway, then visiting a store will be just a waste of time; and as we all know, “time is money.” The future of companies like Best Buy relies largely on their ability to cope with the transformation dynamics of the fast growing global “virtual marketplace”.
The article What Happens When you Can Shop in your Bathrobe? originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Fani Kelesidou.