As online shopping has surged, traditional retailers have lost millions in sales to so-called showrooming — when shoppers check out products in stores that they then buy from Web sites like Amazon. It has gotten so bad that Best Buy even replaces standard bar codes with special Best Buy-only codes on big ticket items so they cannot be scanned and compared online.
随着网络购物的飞速发展，所谓的“展厅现象” (showrooming)让传统零售商损失了千百万美元的销售额。这种现象是指购物者在商店里看好商品，然后在类似亚马逊(Amazon)的网站上购买。情势十分严峻，百思买(Best Buy)甚至将贵重商品上的标准条形码换成了特制的百思买独家条码，这样顾客就不能扫描条码，然后再上网比对。
Now some big retailers are taking a new approach to the dreaded showrooming by transforming their stores into extensions of their own online operations. Walmart, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sears, the Container Store and other retailers are stepping up efforts to add Web return centers, pickup locations, free shipping outlets, payment booths and even drive-through customer service centers for online sales to their brick-and-mortar buildings.
现在一些大的零售商采用了一种新手段，来应对猖獗的“展厅现象”。他们将商店变成了自家网上业务的延伸。沃尔玛(Walmart)、梅西百货(Macy’s)、百思买、西尔斯(Sears)、康泰纳商店(the Container Store)，以及其他零售商纷纷加快步伐，在他们的实体售货大楼里增加网络退货中心、取货地点、免费送货店铺、支付点，甚至专门为网络销售而设的驱车通过的客户服务中心。
“We are living in the age of the customer, and you can either fight these trends that are happening — showrooming is one — or you can embrace them,” said Joel Anderson, the chief executive of Walmart.com for the United States. “We have a lot of assets, but they’re only assets if you embrace the trends of the customers.”
“我们生活在买方市场的年代，你既可以对抗像‘展厅现象’这种正在发生的趋势，也可以因势利导，”美国沃尔玛官网(Walmart.com) 的首席执行官乔尔·安德森(Joel Anderson)说。“我们有很多资产，但是只有当你紧随顾客的潮流时，它们能真正发挥作用。”
Fiona Dias, the chief strategy officer at ShopRunner, which coordinates shipping for retailers, called the trend “really an offensive strategy against Amazon and pure-play online retailers.”
Shop Runner是一家为零售商协调货物运输的企业。该公司的首席战略官菲奥娜·迪亚斯(Fiona Dias)表示，这种趋势“其实是一种针对亚马逊和纯粹的网络零售商的攻击策略。”
“Unfortunately, stores have been portrayed as the ugly stepsister here,” she said. “They do have disadvantages, but the advantages of having a physical footprint are many.”
One advantage is the ability to reach customers who pay with cash.
In April, Walmart began allowing shoppers to order merchandise online and pay for it with cash at a store when they picked it up.
Even without the cash option, in the six years since Walmart has allowed online items to be picked up in stores, customer demand has been high. More than half of the sales from Walmart.com are now picked up at Walmart stores, Mr. Anderson said.
With the cash option, Walmart was trying to appeal to customers who did not have bank accounts or credit cards. Walmart says the majority of in-store purchases are made with cash or debit cards, and that about 15 percent are made with credit cards.
In the first weeks of the cash option, Walmart noticed that a different set of customers also found the service appealing. About 40 percent of the customers who paid with cash when ordering online ended up using noncash options, like a credit card or check, when they arrived at the store. They simply had not wanted to provide that financial information online. “There’s still a large segment of people out there afraid of identity theft or just plain putting their credit card online,” Mr. Anderson said. The service already accounts for 2 percent of Walmart.com’s sales.
Another advantage traditional retailers hold over their online-only counterparts is same-day delivery and returns. Sears, which has long offered store pickup for items bought on the Web, added a drive-through service a few months ago that allows customers to return or exchange purchases without leaving their cars.
Customers meet a clerk waiting outside the Sears, provide a mobile phone receipt or printout, and the merchandise is swapped. “People have a certain need for immediacy — they want something that same day,” said Tom Aiello, a company spokesman. “They want to have their hands on it; they don’t want to wait.”
顾客可以和西尔斯的工作人员在商店外会面，只要他们可以提供手机收据或者实体发票，就可以退换商品。“人们对即时性有一定的要求——某些东西他们当天就想得到，” 公司发言人汤姆·阿耶洛(Tom Aiello)说。“他们想得到这个东西，而且他们不愿等待。”
The Container Store has also been pushing a drive-through service, a reflection of its altered approach to online shopping. Initially, executives viewed the pick-up-in-store feature as a way to draw consumers into stores and encourage customers to buy more. Now, they would rather close the deal on an online order as soon as possible so shoppers do not go elsewhere or forgo the merchandise altogether.
“Especially for that mom that’s got kids in the car and is trying to run five errands today, this allows her to put us on her list with no additional pressure,” said John Thrailkill, a vice president of stores for the Container Store.
康泰纳商店零售副总裁约翰·思雷基尔(John Thrailkill)说： “特别是对于车里载着孩子，一天要办五件杂事的妈妈们来说，这种服务能让她在没有增添额外压力的情况下，把我们放到她的日程单上。”
He said that the online orders for in-store pickup also tended to be much larger than typical in-store purchases, and that customers who picked up orders in the store visited about 50 percent more often than customers who shopped only in the stores.
Many major stores, including Apple, Nordstrom and Best Buy, let people place orders online and pick up items within a day at a selected location, forgoing shipping charges. The retailers say this option is especially popular with bulky items that do not qualify for free shipping, and for people in a rush. Other places, like Cabela’s and J. C. Penney, offer in-store pickup for online orders, though with a delay of several days.
包括苹果、诺德斯特姆(Nordstrom)和百思买在内的很多大公司，都允许人们在网上下订单，然后一天之内到指定地点领取货物，并免除运费。零售商说， 对于不享有免费运输的大件物品以及时间紧张者来说，这种方式特别受欢迎。坎贝拉(Cabela’s) 和杰西佩尼(J. C. Penney) 等其他公司也会提供网上订购后到实体店取货的服务，只不过中间要间隔几天。
Macy’s and Nordstrom are going even further by integrating the physical and online merchandise selections.
Nordstrom last year added a feature allowing customers to search an individual store’s inventory via the Web. That follows the company’s decision three years ago to combine its online and offline inventories, so that if nordstrom.com was sold out of a size 8 Nicole Miller shift but a store in Los Angeles had the item in stock, the store would ship the item to the e-commerce customer. Macy’s recently integrated inventory, too. It has 202 branches that can send items to online customers, and will expand that to 292 by the end of the year.