STUDY: Showrooming Realities – An Opportunity, Not Threat


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Showrooming (when consumers check online prices when in store) used to be considered a potential threat for retailers, but new research shows that showroomers are almost twice as likely to purchase in store than from an online competitor.

How many mobile purchases are actually taking place while consumers are in stores? Who is showrooming? When? What are they doing?  And, how can retailers capitalize on the behavior?

The SeeWhy Conversion Academy surveyed more than 60,000 U.S. consumers about online and mobile shopping behaviors. We’ve published findings from the study in two Digital Commerce Reports that reveal how men and women, spanning incomes and locations, browse and buy when considering a purchase. One of the reports, Showrooming Realities: When Worlds Collide, which includes key takeaways for retailers, can be found here.

Here are some study highlights:

Showrooming Chart#1 – Showroomers are almost two times as likely to purchase from the retailer in store or online (38%) than to buy elsewhere (21.6%). It’s not so scary after all, particularly for omnichannel retailers.

#2 – Most shoppers are checking prices and reading reviews.  One third of shoppers with mobile devices have used them for showrooming. The most common uses are to check prices online and read reviews online.

#3 – The demographics are important. The typical showroomer is a young, affluent, urban, male who will check reviews using his iPhone and then proceed with purchasing the item in store. Most often, women are looking for coupons or promo codes online. The least affluent shoppers are most likely to purchase from an online competitor and more affluent are more likely to purchase in store.

Four key learnings for retailers include:

  • Get ‘close enough’ on price to online competitors. Customers want to touch, feel, smell or try on many products before purchasing and the instant gratification of getting the product instantly is highly compelling. This means that if in-store prices are close enough to online competitors (including shipping), customers will buy in store.
  • Make sure you have products in stock or available to ship to home from store. Out-of-stock products can easily trigger online purchases, and retailers with omnichannel capabilities have a distinct advantage where the order can still be take in store but shipped directly to the customer, either from the Distribution Center or from a nearby store.
  • Deliver great face-to-face service. When consumers are choosing products from a selection, great customer service can have a significant impact on customer loyalty, clinching the sale in the store. Unfortunately, much customer service at the point of sale is a long way from great.
  • Provide easy access to online product reviews. Shoppers are used to researching online and want to leverage the benefit of online reviews ─ so much so, that it has become an essential part of the shopping process for many consumers. Take a leaf out of Best Buy’s playbook and provide shelf edge labeling that makes it easy for customers to find product reviews online using free in-store Wi-Fi.

Physical stores continue to have some significant advantages over online-only merchants:  instant gratification, no shipping costs and easier returns, to name a few.  Showroomers are ready to buy, so make sure your own mobile website is intuitive, in line with store inventory, and helps to keep the sale within your store or brand.

You can download the complementary report  here to learn more.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Charles Nicholls
Charles Nicholls is a social commerce expert and board advisor to several e-commerce startups. He founded SeeWhy, a real-time personalization and machine learning platform, which was sold to SAP. Serving as SVP of product, he built SAP Upscale Commerce, an e-commerce platform for direct-to-consumer brands and the mid-market. Today, Charles serves as chief strategy officer for SimplicityDX, a commerce experience company. He has worked on strategy and projects for leading ecommerce companies worldwide, including Amazon, eBay, Google and many others.


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