Why Retailers Need To Relax About "Showrooming"

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webroomingPhotographed by Guang Xu.
Turns out that retailers' fears about "showrooming" — that is, when customers browse in brick-and-mortar stores, then buy for less online — may be have been unfounded. Adweek reports that, according to a new study, there's another retail trend that might reassure anxious shop owners: "webrooming." That's when consumers research a product online, then buy it IRL. And, it's even more common than showrooming.

The report states that, among 18- to 48-year-olds with smartphones, about 70% of people have webroomed, while only about 50% have showroomed. Their reasons for doing so are partially price-motivated, with 36% of webroomers stating that they'll scan online for a cheaper price, then ask a local shopkeep to match it — a good technique to remember next time the boots you want are just a touch out of range. Another 37% of webroomers state that they appreciate the relative ease of returning items to a store, rather than dealing with the hassle of shipping. And, 46% of webroomers simply say that they want to be able to inspect, touch, and try on an item before they buy it — an experience that no amount of technology can replace.

So, mall merchants can sleep a little easier tonight, knowing that the internet probably won't actually be the ruination of their business. As long as they're still willing to price match, chances are, we'll keep coming back for the instant gratification even overnight shipping can't match. (Adweek )