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Just Browsing in our Store? $5.00 "Just Looking" Fee Please!

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A specialty food store in Brisbane Australia has a new policy,

justlookingfee.png

A store in Australia is apparently taking an extreme approach to eliminating showrooming, alerting would-be customers that they'll be charged $5 if they come in to browse but don't buy anything.

Reddit user BarrettFox posted a snapshot of a sign warning shoppers that the store would impose a $5 fee for people who are "just looking." The fee, the sign explains, will be deducted from the final purchase price, ensuring that people who actually buy something won't be charged. It notes that it's pursuing this strategy because of "a high volume of people who use this store as a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere."

The user identified the store as a specialty food retailer based in Brisbane, Australia; we've reached out to the store to confirm that they posted the sign, but because it's currently the middle of the night in Australia, we haven't heard back yet.

But if this store is actually charging people just for walking in the door, it has to be the most misguided strategy we've seen for dealing with showrooming. While it's undoubtedly frustrating to have people use your store as a showroom just so they can buy the same goods online, imposing a cover charge is hardly the ideal solution. The goal of any retailer should be to impress customers with competitive pricing and great customer service -- not treat their customers with suspicion and hostility from the moment they walk in the door.

That approach won't just keep the showroomers away, either -- it's inevitably going to turn off a lot of potential customers who had no intention of showrooming, but aren't about to step into a store that forces them to pay an entrance fee if they don't find anything they like.

It's not the first time we've seen a store take this approach. A couple of years ago, a shoe store got fed up with people who tried on their shoes and then bought them online, and decided to impose a $20 "fitting fee." In both cases, we're struggling to understand how the store would even enforce such a charge; if we hear back on how it's going, we'll let you know.

But in the meantime, this store and other retailers considering a similar scheme might instead want to explore a more consumer-friendly approach. Target and Best Buy were likewise stung by shoppers who came in, tried out their products and then went home to buy on Amazon. But instead of banning phones or trying to charge an entrance fee, they instead extended their price-matching policy to Amazon and other online retailers.

Obviously doing so might cut into those retailers' profit margins, and that will also be true for this small business owner. But if, as the sign claims, the store's prices "are almost the same as the other stores," it shouldn't be much of a problem.

http://www.dailyfinance.com/on/just-looking-fee-customers-showrooming/

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ahah, pathetic. i hope they lose all of their business.

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So I don't go into that store then.

Makes sense.

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When the bookstore chain Borders filed for bankruptcy protection citing erosion of business and profits by Amazon's online business model this sign was posted at a Chicago store:

4d98ea907ee97.jpg

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When the bookstore chain Borders filed for bankruptcy protection citing erosion of business and profits by Amazon's online business model this sign was posted at a Chicago store:

4d98ea907ee97.jpg

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This does make sense for some retailers. I heard about this story on another site and there was a lot more information about the store and why they did it.

Apparently they don't have an issue with people coming in to look, then going to buy elsewhere. The issue is people come in and spend 30 minutes with a sales rep asking about what foods are good for what, what goes together well etc. They take up the person's time and expertise, then don't buy there. The $5 fee is more of a sales consultation fee.

I've heard of this happening at hardware stores too, where people spend an hour or more with a sales rep, planning out materials, tools, quantities etc, then the customer just leaves and buys it all online.

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Haha what a bunch of idiots. Who's even gonna want to come in their store now? Sometimes people who are "just looking" end up seeing something they like and buy it. Now they won't even enter the store. Same thing with people who actually might want to buy something, they will just stay out of the store just in case they can't find what they were looking for, or the item is out of stock. Maybe they could help solve the problem with an online catalogue that shows everything they have, but they're still gonna lose a lot of foot traffic.

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Good.

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Might as well post as sign saying "We don't want your business. Please go elsewhere."

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Wouldn't you just say this is like a membership.

Such as Costco and Mountain Equipement CO-OP.

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Haha what a bunch of idiots. Who's even gonna want to come in their store now? Sometimes people who are "just looking" end up seeing something they like and buy it. Now they won't even enter the store. Same thing with people who actually might want to buy something, they will just stay out of the store just in case they can't find what they were looking for, or the item is out of stock. Maybe they could help solve the problem with an online catalogue that shows everything they have, but they're still gonna lose a lot of foot traffic.

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This post makes no sense.

What the store is doing is actually pretty smart. You pay $5 to go in and if you buy something the $5 is deducted out of the product's price. If customer goes in and the item they want is out of stock then they can just go up to customer service or whatever, explain the situation and get their $5 back. However if people are going in talking to the employee about a product then leave and buy it online, then they should be charged $5.

Other stores should really try this out, places like Future Shop and Best Buy should make this a policy of theirs. It can really help them out since a lot of people go in and talk up the Sales Associates, and leave.

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This post makes no sense.

What the store is doing is actually pretty smart. You pay $5 to go in and if you buy something the $5 is deducted out of the product's price. If customer goes in and the item they want is out of stock then they can just go up to customer service or whatever, explain the situation and get their $5 back. However if people are going in talking to the employee about a product then leave and buy it online, then they should be charged $5.

Other stores should really try this out, places like Future Shop and Best Buy should make this a policy of theirs. It can really help them out since a lot of people go in and talk up the Sales Associates, and leave.

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the thing with Future shop and the like is they have less knowledge on the products i am looking for then i have.

I have never asked for help from a sales person.. they all come running as soon as i start looking at semi pricy goods like TV's stereo's etc.

it is next to impossible to get them off your back unless you say just looking. then as your walking out of the store to go pay for said big money product they see you and stop you trying to get you to say they helped you...

i hate sale people. esp if they spit out BS just to try and make a sale.

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I'm a little surprised that many people are having a negative reaction this policy. It's a private enterprise so why does it concern you? If you don't like it shop elsewhere. Aside from that though there are many instances (e.g. high end shops, specialty stores) where random foot traffic isn't welcome because the prices are prohibitively high or the products are aimed for a narrow audience where a random customer is not going to make a purchase.

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What they should be doing having a price-match guarantee. If indeed they claim to be the same price as other places/online retailers then do the right thing. They apparently want to maximize profit(which is what businesses are for) but if you are going to operate a storefront you need to have enough business sense to know you have to take a hit in the profit margin compared to the online retailers.

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What they should be doing having a price-match guarantee. If indeed they claim to be the same price as other places/online retailers then do the right thing. They apparently want to maximize profit(which is what businesses are for) but if you are going to operate a storefront you need to have enough business sense to know you have to take a hit in the profit margin compared to the online retailers.

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This is a reason why Best Buiy has bit the dust. idiots come in the store to see the item they want, then buy it online. The onlien industry has wrecked a lot of retailers

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This is a reason why Best Buiy has bit the dust. idiots come in the store to see the item they want, then buy it online. The onlien industry has wrecked a lot of retailers

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