'Showrooming' a growing concern

'Showrooming' a growing concern

Content Writer: Marc Hawk Marc Hawk Chief Executive Officer

Shoppers are comparison-shopping more than ever on their smartphones, meaning that even though a customer may be in your store, they might end up buying the product they came in for elsewhere, a recent Leo J. Shapiro and Associates study concluded.

Researchers found that mobile has become a fairly significant part of the entire purchasing process - from pre-store research to in-store comparison and post-purchase reviewing.

Specifically, 54 percent of those polled said they researched products on their smartphones before arriving at a brick-and-mortar location to determine if the trip is even worth it. Thirty-eight percent of people searched for products in the actual physical store, while 15 percent stated they checked to see if they got the best price on their phones after the purchase was made.

In-store shopping aids came in the form of various functions, such as looking up facts or features (47 percent), reading product reviews (36 percent), calling friends or family for information (28 percent), emailing a friend or family member about a product (22 percent), reading reviews on social sites (17 percent) and posting a question about the item on these sites (11 percent).

This practice of in-store comparison-shopping - also known as "showrooming" - is a growing practice among consumers because, well, who wouldn't want to find the best deal if the research is available?

In some scenarios, this may not directly hurt you because the end-game might be the consumer finding a cheaper deal at your ecommerce storefront, due to either a lower online price or the use of a digital coupon. Offering such deals is a mobile marketing effort you may want to consider to ensure that consumer showrooming doesn't come back to bite you.

EMarketer explains that you can also curtail showrooming by ensuring your prices are consistent across channels. What's more, better customer service from well-informed sales associates can help convince shoppers that the in-store purchase is worth it.

The news source cites the example of Nordstrom, which recently started offering perks such as free shipping on in-store purchases. Target has taken a more "bull-by-the-horns" approach by offering more items made exclusively for the store, making comparison-shopping more difficult.

EMarketer projects that by the end of 2012, there will be 115.8 million smartphone users, and by 2015 that figure will swell to 176.3 million.

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