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Have You Been 'Showroomed'?

It's not a secret that with the rise of e-commerce and, increasingly, mobile commerce, brick-and-mortar retailers, both large and small, are vulnerable to a new phenomenon known as "showrooming" – the process by which customers come in, check out products and look to their smartphone to price-check and/or buy the product online somewhere else.

We turn to a mobile commerce expert for some suggestions for countering this now – most of which underscore the need to re-communicate and emphasize strong merchandising and service. Her suggestions also involve being more aggressive with your own online marketing for your store or practice.

What's your opinion on this? Tell us about it and we'll try to develop this subject for future stories in CLICK and VM.

Remember to check into the easy-to-access CLICK Archive located under the CLICK button at, which features dozens of Cool Tools, Sites to See and other resources for building your web image and your office's connection to patients.

Have you tried something new on your website or launched a successful social media campaign? Tell us about that, too and we'll consider it for an upcoming feature in CLICK.

—The Editors





4 Ways Retailers Can Fight 'Showrooming' – Is Your Optical Dispensary A Victim Of This Trend?

By Suzy Sandberg, PM Digital

As Mobile Commerce Daily reports, "The use of smartphones is proliferating at a rapid pace. In turn, 'showrooming' – the practice of researching merchandise in a retail store and then purchasing it elsewhere – is also increasingly common. It is, understandably, a thorn in the retailer's side. Whereas the Internet has engendered huge shifts in the way media is consumed, mobile technology is causing big changes in retail shopping behavior.

Comparison shopping applications, the mobile Web and QR codes enable the consumer to be more informed and savvy when they are in a retail location. Unless retailers can compete with online prices for the same product, they will lose the consumer to an online retailer at a better price somewhere on the mobile Web.

Although online price comparisons are nothing new, mobile is enabling consumers to physically view and handle merchandise, to "kick the tires," so to speak, and then order products directly from their device from whichever merchant offers the best price. As shopping becomes better optimized on mobile devices, showrooming will continue to emerge as a bigger problem for brick-and-mortar retailers.

ComScore reports that the leading mobile retail activities among people using smartphones are to find a store (33 percent), compare prices (21 percent) and look for deals (20 percent). Consequently, brick-and-mortar retailers who suspect that their stores may be serving as showrooms need to develop better conversion tactics in their stores or they will be at risk of losing sales.

Here are four tactics that retailers may employ to fight showrooming:

1. Merchandising: Merchandising becomes critical when fighting back against showrooming since it is nearly impossible to replicate online and through mobile devices.

2. Ensure that your prices and offerings are competitive: In a world where low prices are just a few clicks away, it is crucial for brick-and-mortar retailers to offer attractive prices that offset the shipping delays that accompany online and mobile shopping.

3. Pushed coupons: In my opinion, this is the best, most practical option to encourage shoppers to buy from a retailer rather than to compare prices online. When mobile users are searching for a store location on their mobile device, retailers could take advantage of Google's new enhancement by providing a link on the paid ad to download their mobile app. [See Google's Business Services info.]

4. Bid by location: Google has another enhancement that lets retailers bid by location, so advertisers can run unique search ads based on proximity to a particular retail location. In the search copy, they could offer discounts or coupons for brands if a purchase is made in the store.

While these tips may help brick-and-mortar stores fend off showrooming, what is really important in all this is the lesson: Shopping today is digital, wherever it occurs. Brands must therefore align in-store merchandising and promotions with mobile and Web ecommerce strategies if they want to keep foot traffic and sales alive and well.

Suzy Sandberg is president of PM Digital, New York. This piece was adapted from its original posting, with permission, from Mobile Commerce Daily.



How to Get People Talking Online About Your Business Via Google Places

By Alan Glazier, OD, FAAO

ROCKVILLE, Md.—What is the "feel" of your practice? Does it reflect your vision? Do you offer high level customer service? A spa-like experience? A more medical feel or optical feel when patients walk into your practice?

You likely have a strategy you've evolved that reflects how you wish people to perceive your practice, products and services. Your online strategy should be no different. It should take into consideration how the public will view your business when they land on your pages or content. Many people are out there trying to land "likes", run contests and be creative, but they often lack such a strategy and as such, weaken their core strategy in the process, as it reflects differently than what the public perceives to be the case from their internet marketing.

Business marketing is now social business marketing, and people's first impression isn't at the front desk anymore. It's on your Google Places page, your Yelp page, your Facebook page or one of the many other "links" they find you through.

The most important place to "get" found online is Google, and the easiest way to ensure you are found is Google Places. Google Places is a free "phone book" like listing offered by Google. You might be familiar with the seven red balloons that show up towards the top of the page when you do your own Google searches. This is known as the Google "7 Pack." These seven cherished spots are important to be found within, as they have literally replaced the phone book for over 85 percent of people searching for the products and services you offer.

But you don't just want to have a Google Places listing – you want your listing to reflect your vision for your practice. I want you to find your Google Places listing, look at it and ask yourself how someone might perceive your listing. Is it barren or is it blossoming with yellow stars that indicate ratings? Are there an average of four or more yellow stars attached to your listing or less? Would you patronize your business or the business of a competitor based on how your "red balloon" listing compares to the other nearby competitors? These are all important questions you should consider and take action to change if things don't appear the way they should for your listing.

When someone clicks through to get to your actual places page, is it filled with information including photos and videos? Have you selected these photos and videos carefully to convey your marketing message? Have you posted all your hours and filled out all the payment options you take? Each item you complete makes it easier to capture people who find your listing, and a completed places page ranks higher in the 7 Pack than an incomplete page, increasing the likelihood people will click on your listing.

I check my Google Places listing every few days from my desktop, from my mobile device and occasionally from other desktops and friends' mobile devices to see how my listing appears. I check it on iPhones and Droids to make sure it looks good across different platforms. I have a system in place that encourages (without rewarding) patients to post a review directly on my Google Places. I search for articles on the latest Google Places changes and regularly check out other peoples Google Places pages to see if there are new tricks and tools they are using that I might benefit from.

In today's world, you can do without the Yellow Pages – but you cannot do without a Google Places Page.

Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO is the founder/CEO of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care in Rockville, Md. A search and social optimization consultant, he is now a regular contributor to CLICK and also writes a regular blog for Glazier is at and his regular posts can be found via his Twitter handle: @EyeInfo, his blog: and his website: Author: Searchial Marketing: How Social Media Drives Search Optimization in Web 3.0.



Signet Armorlite (SA) is debuting its new corporate website. With the new site, the lens maker expands its message of Kodak Lenses as "Vivid Solutions for Life" for optical patients and eyecare professionals. The Kodak Lens subsite gives in-depth information about Kodak Lenses including Kodak Unique Progressive Lenses. Patients can learn about the wearing experience for all Kodak Progressive Lenses. Eyecare professionals may visit this section to discover the features and benefits of Kodak Lenses as well as view product literature and videos. The Professionals subsite is divided into two sections: Eyecare Professionals (ECPs) and Optical Lab Professionals (LabTech Pros). To continue Signet Armorlite's dedication to the independent practitioner, the ECPs section offers information regarding the various programs, tools and resources to help ECPs grow their practices. The LabTech Pros section focuses on providing technical tools and resources to optical lab and technical professionals. Among the resources, is the online product catalog where optical lab professionals can easily search for up-to-date lens specifications, barcodes and base curve selection charts. Information regarding material processing and optical supply offerings is also available. "Signet Armorlite recognizes that many of our customers and their patients rely on the Internet for optical information," stated Brad Staley, SA president. "The new website allows Signet Armorlite to communicate up-to-date information about our company and its products."


The new Landon Lens website enables visitors to find information about the New York City-based company's entire lens product line, including semi-finished progressives in standard index plastic, mid-index plastic and polycarbonate, regular channel and short channel designs, and clear and photochromatic (gray and brown).


Kowa Optimed has redesigned its website and added some user-friendly tools and features. With the new layout and design, viewers will discover clearly labeled tabs which help navigation and allow for information to be accessed much quicker and easier. For example, up to date press releases and summaries of each release are now presented by title. A new section informs users of upcoming events where Kowa Optimed will be exhibiting its new products. The new website also includes a contact page where buyers, clients, job seekers and others can leave their information and comments and expect a timely response. Also, viewers will soon have the ability to chat directly online with a support specialist. Another new feature allows viewers to sign up for Kowa Optimed's webinars. The new site also makes it simple to find links to Kowa Optimed's Twitter, Facebook and blogs on the homepage.



Wordnik describes itself as "a new way to discover meaning" and this site is a designed for a community that is fascinated by words – but it goes way beyond the boundaries of the traditional dictionary or thesaurus. Users can search for what individual words can mean based on 'definitions' and 'examples' but also by Lists, Comments, Images, Audio and Comments. The site features a Word of the Day, a Random Word and an opportunity for users to contribute their own explanations. Wordnik says it is "billions of words, 984,433,066 example sentences, 6,898,870 unique words, 232,414 comments, 179,268 tags, 121,454 pronunciations, 79,170 favorites and 1,044,091 words in 33,387 lists created by 84,667 Wordniks."



Wordsmith is a worldwide online community of nearly a million readers who share a love for words, wordplay, language, and literature. They hail from Australia to Zimbabwe and almost all other places in between. The site is the home of A.Word.A.Day, a newsletter that provides insights into specific words. It's also the home for Internet Anagram Server, The Wordserver lookup services and Wordsmith Books, which features such titles as "The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two."

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