Will customers get the ‘social proof’ they need from Fomo Storefront?

Discussion
Photo: Fomo
Oct 24, 2019
Matthew Stern

Being able to see what other customers (sometimes even customers “like us”) have recently purchased has become a familiar part of the e-commerce shopping experience. Now one vendor is using in-store touchscreens to bring this functionality to brick-and-mortar retail. 

Fomo Storefront is an interactive display that allows physical stores to provide what the company calls “social proof” to in-store shoppers to help drive purchases. Locations equipped with Fomo Storefront feature screens — tablets, smart TVs or computer monitors — which display a running list of what other shoppers are buying from the brand at that particular moment. The solution can be integrated with either an online store, so that data about what is being purchased on the web can be streamed to the screens, or with a point-of-sale solution so that people see what people physically shopping around them are buying.

Whether displaying this type of recommendation leads to conversions in brick-and-mortar stores adds a new, physical twist to longstanding questions about how online customers respond to recommendations and what separates an effective one from one that gets ignored.

Delivering relevant recommendations that actually result in a conversion, rather than annoying an online shopper, has been difficult for retailers. Despite the frequency with which we see recommended products online, a study by SAP last year found that three-fourths of shoppers polled globally failed to see recommendations for products that actually interested them.

While there may be a way to go on personalized recommendations, the fear of missing out (from which Fomo’s solution gets its name) does appear to push sales, at least under some circumstances. For instance, limited-time deals were part of the appeal of the once popular daily deals site, Woot.com, which was acquired by Amazon.com in 2010. 

It is also not uncommon to see “hot sellers” or items anticipated to sell out soon listed in online flash sales, meant to inspire customers to purchase what their fellow shoppers have before the sale ends.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will an in-store solution like Fomo Storefront play into shoppers’ desire for “social proof” on what to purchase? Will it drive conversions on items that wouldn’t otherwise have been purchased? In what circumstances might utilizing such a solution deliver the most meaningful ROI?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I don’t think this will do any harm and it may help drive some purchases – especially of more unusual items that shoppers may not otherwise have looked at or considered."
"Getting the data foundation right is essential to delivering the product information to the consumers on the screen in the most engaging way."
"Instead of it being the fear of missing out, it sounds like it is more the fear of missing a deal."

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9 Comments on "Will customers get the ‘social proof’ they need from Fomo Storefront?"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

I don’t think this will do any harm and it may help drive some purchases – especially of more unusual items that shoppers may not otherwise have looked at or considered. However, I also believe that this will remain on the periphery. The purpose of a store is to act as a showcase in and of itself, using merchandising and visual prompts to help customers discover what is on offer. Standing looking at a digital device is not particularly exciting, and it’s something that can be done at home.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust
I do not see Fomo Storefront doing much to drive sales for the following reasons. 1.) People don’t typically spend much time on store kiosks. Kiosks can be slow, uninteresting, and customers like looking for themselves. 2.) Well-trained associates who know how to engage customers should have the ability to help the customer by asking the right questions and then making good recommendations. That will have more value than looking at a kiosk. 3.) Too often, in-store technology is not kept current and has issues causing it not to work correctly. This frustrates the customers who attempt to use in-store kiosks and, once they are discouraged, they typically stop using the device. 4.) Customers shopping stores prefer service. I can imagine how the customer will feel when they ask an associate a question about a product, and the associate says. “You should log onto the kiosk to see what other customers are buying.” I’m sure that will not be received well. This is no different than when a customer asks an associate if they have… Read more »
Doug Garnett
BrainTrust
3 months 18 hours ago

Some digital things should remain in the online shopping outlets. Like this one.

Online shopping carts are never as full as physical shopping carts. No one should bring to their store a weak online approach thinking it will make in-store sales stronger.

Instead, stick with the basics which are the really hard parts of retail. Curate good merchandise, display it well and effectively, and keep your store filled with good help. That’s the way to success and strong sales and profits.

Brian Cluster
BrainTrust

The Fomo Storefront display is a novel innovation that will help bring awareness of the popularity of certain items to customers. This merchandising monitor may not appeal to all customers or all generations but I think that it will have strong relevance to Millennials. Last year, an Adweek study said that 69 percent of millennials have the fear of missing out.

Many customer trips are very focused with a goal of finding just a few items. I think that the Fomo Storefront display can be used by consumers to quickly see what else is hot and trending in the store without having to peruse all the endcaps or special displays.

Driving ROI on this display is highly dependent on high quality mastered data and rich, accurate, visibly appealing imagery to fuel it. Getting the data foundation right is essential to delivering the product information to the consumers on the screen in the most engaging way.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

Anyone remember the original FOMO tool, “We have a Blue Light special for the next 20 minutes in Aisle Nine?” The Fomo Storefront may help some retailers in some categories, but it’s hard to see how it gains traction in others. Calling attention to a “hot deal” is an ancient technique going all the way back to street vendors yelling out to potential customers. If I am a so-hip-it-hurts fashionista, maybe I do need to be updated in real time about what other fashion victims are buying. But if I’m out shopping for Spam, not so much.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

Instead of it being the fear of missing out, it sounds like it is more the fear of missing a deal. As the items fly by (you would hope) is it a one-time curiosity or sales maker? It would only be interesting to see what people like me were buying. I would think social proof using a company like a Podium would be much more valuable – and not dependent on the old canard of deals.

Paco Underhill
BrainTrust

Our research shows that customers will interact with screens only in specific places in the store – and that in-aisle placement often doesn’t work. Where they do work is where people are waiting – a cashwrap line or outside/inside a dressing room. The danger in the U.S. is that screens in other places are play spots for bored kids and that the info they collect is flawed. We have been hired often to test interactive in-store systems and arrived to find the systems down. For the record, U.S. kids are interactive terrorists – European and Japanese kids are not as destructive …

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

As has been piloted for decades, the more you integrate the in-store experience with the benefits of online shopping, the better. I still remember the first tablet mounted on a shopping cart, some 20+ years ago.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

Those shoppers who strive to belong and be part of the group will gravitate to this feature. Those shoppers who are not concerned about being part of a group will not be interested in this tool. Those in the second group may want to know which product or brand worked better but are not motivated by what others are buying. So Fomo Storefront will have some success but will not encourage sales for everyone.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I don’t think this will do any harm and it may help drive some purchases – especially of more unusual items that shoppers may not otherwise have looked at or considered."
"Getting the data foundation right is essential to delivering the product information to the consumers on the screen in the most engaging way."
"Instead of it being the fear of missing out, it sounds like it is more the fear of missing a deal."

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