Showrooming at Best Buy started a few years ago, when I took a job as a sales representative for a business supply distributor. It was an interesting position, where I was able to talk to actual customers and see the product firsthand. We discussed products, such as computer memory modules, displays, speakers, and software; we even reviewed video game systems.

Unfortunately, some of the product I saw could not be sold in the U.S., because the supplier did not meet the company’s benefits of local ownership and control. I saw other employees’ products that were being sold to customers, but that company had a very narrow product range and therefore could not sell to the largest number of customers. The company was on a strict “presence” and needed to stay with one or two products – not to be too “plushy.”

I noticed that the company was expanding the customer base that they had. It was becoming a much more international company, and there were new distributors who were coming in from China and South America. One of my coworkers (one of the cases in the HBR Case Solutions case study) was trained to showroom in Latin America.

When I walked into the showroom, I could tell immediately by the look on the customer’s face how they felt about a product or even a product line. I have to admit, this was quite a thrill and a little unnerving, but also quite exciting.

One of the things I discovered when showing a product or even a store to a customer is how the client reacted to the showroom appearance. They do not know your company, or how they felt about your company before, so it is a little tricky to get them to accept what you are trying to sell them. You have to focus on the brand name you are promoting.

Now, let us assume that they accept the showroom appearance as being true, and they will make a purchase. What happens next?

The next step is to contact the sales representative to ask for a few details about the product. Is the product well known, well made, or will it fit my budget?

Once I knew what to ask, I would meet the customer in person, and I would also get an estimate of price. This is important, because if I am going to convince the customer to buy the product, then I want to be as sure about it as possible.

Then, based on price, I would bring the product in for demonstration. In this case, the customer would actually see the product, and they would make the final decision, not me.

If the customer was pleased with the price, then they would make the purchase. If they were not, then I would take notes on their reaction and how to get them to accept the price. Even though they saw the product, I still had to find a way to convince them that the price was fair.

Of course, the question “What did I learn about showing a product at a showroom appearance?” is definitely going to be on my mind. I have to say, it was a lot of fun and exciting, and if you ask me now, it is one of the things I am most proud of.

Please consider all this in 2020, and join me in thanking the HBR Case Study Solution. It is one of the Best!

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