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BrandSource mobile app update embraces showrooming

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Furniture, electronics and appliance buying group BrandSource said a recent update to its mobile application will enable retailers to fight so-called showrooming by welcoming it.

When a customer expresses interest in a specific product, she can use the BrandSource app's new price comparison chart to instantly see pricing at nearby stores and online retailers, according to a release.

"Many shoppers today participate in the practice of showrooming, or checking out products in-store and then buying them elsewhere or online for a lower price," the buying group said.

"Showrooming is a very controversial issue in this business, but we encourage members to embrace it rather than combat it," said BrandSource CEO Bob Lawrence. "The BrandSource app gives members a very strategic and timely opportunity to do something while the customer is with them, like meeting the competitive price, providing free delivery or offering an extended warranty."

The app "lets everyone make an informed decision, on the spot," he said. "It's much better than losing the customer and having no chance at all."

In addition to the comparison pricing feature, a new "Push To" notification feature allows group members to instantly send messages to app holders nearby in order to drive store traffic.

Members and shoppers can also gain instant access to products and quantities available in stock.

And an email collection feature enables retailers to offer special buys, new products or information on upcoming sales events, even after the consumer leaves the store.

Also featured are 15 new price tag templates and a feature that allows members to read BrandSource internal weekly news updates, market reports and promotions and rebate information.

"We want our members and their salespeople to provide a customer with meaningful information without ever having to leave their side," Lawrence said. "We're working on even more exciting new features and will preview them in August at our annual convention in Las Vegas."

While the update is new, the app initially launched last year has had more than 100,000 downloads to date. BrandSource has nearly 4,500 independent dealer members in North America and almost 3,000 branded stores in the U.S.

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