Showrooming is a phenomenon that will not go away. Target thinks they can somehow stem the tide of technological progress with the proverbial finger in the dyke. But this is not a dyke that is pluggable. The power is shifting to the consumer faster than the retailer can stop it. How dow Walmart and Target compare?

Showrooming: Walmart vs Target

Target sent a shot across the bow in early January focused on the concept of showrooming — where customers walk into stores, price compare the store’s products with online vendors and buy what’s best for them.

Target has taken the tack of protecting their turf, regardless of the impact on the customer experience. Putting up a moat around their stores penalizes the customer in the long term.

By contrast, Walmart is approaching the issue of showrooming very differently. Walmart Labs looks at all experiences from the customer’s point of view. The enclosed video via the WSJ highlights the open minded, customer-centric model that Walmart Labs is pursuing.

To summarize for those who need the synthesized version:

  • A new Walmart Facebook app called shopycat released for the holidays actually drove traffic to other retailer sites when the customer sought product that Walmart did not carry
  • Walmart Labs is embracing notions of showrooming, understanding that the customer experience always comes first. They are embracing the concept especially for certain use cases. One such example revolves around heavy merchandise. Rather than picking up the large TV at store, the customer can place the order and have it drop shipped to their house. Of course, other examples may not be as accretive to Walmart, but they are pushing hard to follow the customer instead of having the customer follow them.

Target has had an incredible run to the top with great merchandising and pricing. If they take their eye off of the customer and force them to conform to Target’s way of doing business, we all know what the outcome will be.