April 2, 2013

Store charges a ‘just looking’ fee

I find this situation absolutely ridiculous and just demonstrates how the digital explosion in recent months (that is only just beginning) is not being understood or embraced by all brands.

Take this Australian bricks and mortar store, for example, called Celiac Supplies, “Brisbane’s only gluten and wheat free store.”

celiac storefront

They have started charging customers a $5 ‘Just looking fee’ that is deducted from your final bill if you buy something in the bricks and mortar store! This to prevent the estimated 60 people a week from getting advice from the owner about products in store and then buying elsewhere, often online.

Here is the note they posted in store, informing of the Just looking fee:

justlookingfee !!

This is a  fantastic example of how commerce is evolving in 2013 and beyond and how some businesses are simply not adjusting to the new reality of consumers having more control than ever these days.


With the internet, consumers have so much information and choice available to them when selecting products, that bricks and mortar stores are becoming a place to physically see and feel products after having Googled online. Often purchases are completed online in this scenario, not in store.

Brands have to find new ways to provide value with their bricks and mortar stores, as well as improve and facilitate the e-commerce experience.

Australian glasses company, Eyehub, for example, is doing just that by offering the following in their stores to create user value :

  • Playback mirrors – an interactive mirror, that allows you to record yourself wearing different glasses and compare them.
  • Simulator zones – they simulate real world situations via a wind tunnel room for cyclists, and a glare simulator for skiers
  • Children’s education zone – teaching kids about the importance of protecting eyes etc

So the key is to not be afraid of the new world of interactivity with regards to commerce, but rather adjust your existing business models to provide usefulness or entertainment to consumers in their purchase process, and test, test, test.

But charging a ‘Just looking fee’ is not the solution ! Perhaps the scenario could be flipped so that Australian consumers could start charging Celiac Supplies an ‘online time wasting fee’ when they discover they can’t buy any of their products online.


It would make about as much sense!


Posted by Rob Booth | Filed under: All, Media, Useful | No comments yet - be the first

Leave a comment


Stay in touch

design by vclever