A consumer walks into a store. He scans the bar code on a product to see where else he or she may purchase it, either online or in another store for a lesser cost. The consumer then leaves the store, presumably to purchase the item in another location. Or, the consumer purchases the product in store. In either case, the act described above is called showrooming, a common practice at brick and mortar retailers.
Showrooming has a lengthy history. It has long been common for retailers to pose as inquisitive customers in their competitor’s stores to siphon information about products, sales or deals. Now it is the consumers with the advantage thanks to smartphone technology and apps such as Amazon Price Check, ShopSavvy and ShopAdvisor, which have turned the practice of showrooming on its head. E-commerce continues to grow in the U.S. and seemingly everywhere else. Showrooming is an inevitable reality for merchants.
Spotting Showrooming Consumers
According to a recent ConversionConference.com blog by Charles Nicholls, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of SeeWhy.com, the most likely consumers showrooming are men aged anywhere between 25-50, from urban or suburban areas who earn at least $50,000 per year in salary.
Why do affluent men showroom, particularly those who have the means but do not necessarily need to? To do the research, to find the best deal, even to successfully negotiate, gives a consumer an enormous sense of satisfaction. Simply, it is a thrill.
Why Merchants Should Embrace Showrooming
It is true that online retail stores are far less expensive to operate than brick and mortars – the overhead costs incurred with physical stores are far less expensive. Conversely, the area in which a brick and mortar wins over an online store is the absence of shipping. The multichannel merchant – one with a physical and online store – is the best suited to handle showrooming, particularly those which offer the buy-online, pickup in-store option.
Additionally, according to Nichols’ s report, consumers who showroom are nearly twice as likely to buy from the same retailer in-store or online – 38 percent more likely – than take the time to buy elsewhere (21.6 percent). This suggests that all but the ultra-cost-conscious consumers ignore small price differences. A word of caution, however: These are the same shrewd shoppers who check reviews and search for special offers online before making a purchase.
Let Instabill Co-Pilot Your Online Business
Instabill is a global credit card processor for e-commerce, MOTO and retail businesses. When partnering with Instabill, our merchant account managers remain as consultants throughout the life of the merchant account. Speak one-on-one with a merchant account manager today at 1-800-318-2713.