Showrooming: Changing the retail landscape
Showrooming is the term used when shoppers visit a store to check out merchandise they are going to buy online. It is a new fact of life for retailers and many are looking for ways to adapt to this new reality. While much of the discussion has been focused on the "race to the bottom" as customers look for the best price, that is not always the full story.
When I check a price online, I have to balance the online deal, with the instant gratification of getting the item today. I have gotten off the sofa and into a store. Do I want to go home empty handed just to save $5 or $10? Probably not. I have to also include the cost of shipping if the item I am looking at is under the free shipping threshold.
Sometimes I am checking availability. Maybe of the two shirts I like, the one I like best is not in stock at the store I am in. Can I find another outlet near by? Or maybe I am willing to order online to get my first choice or maybe I can special order it from the store.
Sometimes I am trying to get more details or read reviews to confirm my decision. How does this item compare to the one I saw online the other day? Are other customers happy with it?
Showrooming is not going to go away but neither are brick and mortar stores. Retailers who embrace showrooming with well trained staff and sites optimized for mobile shoppers will continue to thrive in the new reality.