Last updated: Retailers, let go of your fear and learn to love showrooming

Retailers, let go of your fear and learn to love showrooming


Two weeks ago my husband suggested we go to Best Buy to look at Bluetooth speakers.

When we got to the store we split up for a bit, and when I wandered back to the speaker aisle I found him staring at his phone. I asked him what he was doing and showed me his screen: He was looking at an image of the speaker we wanted to buy—on Amazon.

“Ha!” I said. “You’re showrooming!”

He looked at me like I was crazy, and asked me to help him flag down an associate. When we found one, she noticed the photo on my husband’s phone and said, “If you find a lower price online, we’ll match it.”

All’s well that ends well for Best Buy. We bought the speaker right then. But that isn’t the tale that comes to mind when you use the word “showrooming” in front of a group of retailers. No, that’s akin to yelling, “Fire!” in a crowded room.

But a recent Holiday Retail Spending Study by CFI Group shows that while 75 percent of respondents said they “sometimes” engage in showrooming, only 40 percent actually commit the dirty deed. That sounds pretty dire, but reseach from BizRate reveals that in reality, only 1.32 percent of in-store sales are lost to showrooming on mobile devices—and half of those sales went to the e-commerce site of the retailers where the showrooming took place.

Just like we did. Huh, go figure.

Retailers who see showrooming as part of the omnichannel experience and not as a threat will be able to break down the walls between e-commerce and physical stores and help shoppers move through the buying process seamlessly by giving them the information they need and want—when they need and want it.

“Retailers who follow a few best practices for omnichannel selling will embrace comparison shoppers rather than dread them,” asserts Cliff Conneighton, senior vice president of marketing for hybris software. “They may buy from you online or in-store, but they’ll buy from you.”

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