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Yet Feinberg isn't a naysayer. "Retailers should not ignore it, but they shouldn't lose sleep over it, either," he said. He added that efforts by retailers to enhance store loyalty and customer relationships will go a long way toward stemming the scourge of showrooming.
Target's customer service effort on the beauty concierge front provides an interesting peek into consumer behavior. Some patrons reacted with surprise or blank stares when Mathison approached them one recent afternoon -- after all, such personalized service has long been relegated to department stores.
"Most people say they're doing fine on their own, and then 30 seconds later they ask for help," she said.
Stephanie Bauman of Brooklyn Park, Minn., was searching for grapeseed oil moisturizer last week when Mathison asked if she needed advice. The product wasn't on the shelf, but Mathison whipped out her iPad to show Bauman where she could order it on Target.com. (The beauty concierges are brand-agnostic.)
"I thought I'd have to go to Macy's, and that it would be really expensive," Bauman said, obviously pleased.
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