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The University of Alabama

UA Researchers’ Award-Winning Book Shares Strategies for Transforming Shoppers into Buyers

Dan Bachrach

Dr. Dan Bachrach

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Two Culverhouse College of Commerce faculty members and a student at The University of Alabama were recently awarded the 2016 Axiom Book Award for their collaboration on a business book that explores how in-store and online shopping can meld to create the ultimate shopping experience for consumers.

The annual Axiom Awards honor the best business books, their authors and publishers.

Dr. Dan Bachrach, UA professor of management; Joe Calamusa IV, UA marketing lecturer; and Jessica Ogilvie, marketing doctoral student in UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce, combined efforts with Adam Rapp at Ohio University to research and write a book about online retail and brick-and-mortar stores titled, “More than a Showroom: Strategies for Winning Back Online Shoppers.”

The book won bronze in the sales category.

“It’s another great example of how collaboration between Culverhouse departments has led to high-impact work,” said Dr. Jonathon Halbesleben, senior associate dean and associate dean for research at Culverhouse.

The book explores the explosion of online shopping and smartphones and what that means for retail sales. The team’s research reveals that blending online with brick-and-mortar is the way to attract today’s shoppers who desire a seamless consistency between online and physical stores.

In essence, retailers should provide an experience that combines in-store with an easy-to-navigate, online website that is mobile friendly; then create ways to creatively engage the customer using both.

“Because customers’ experiences can easily and harmoniously flow from in-store experiences to online purchases (often called showrooming), and also from online research to in-store purchases (reverse showrooming), financial incentives to purchase from another business dissolves,” explained Bachrach.

“However it can spell lost sales if the customer experience flow is disrupted when loyalty programs issue points that are redeemable only on in-store purchases.”

More Than A Showroom book cover

The cover of the award-winning book is shown.

Bachrach writes in the synopsis of the book, “In the past few years online shopping has exploded, and smartphones are the norm for most customers. As a result of this changing environment, retailers have seen the rise of the showrooming phenomenon – consumers using their phones to comparison shop.

“Recently there have been more studies and experimentation among retailers to find a way to embrace their savvy customers’ shopping patterns.”

The book further reveals that retailers have begun to identify the reverse showrooming trend and are now working to actively capture those sales. It also offers retailers creative methods to drive attention to their brick and mortar stores, without cannibalizing their online efforts.

“More Than a Showroom” offers retailers creative methods, strategies, tools and approaches that can help transform showrooming customers into in-store sales.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.