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Jul 03

IN THE NEWS: The effects of “showrooming”

Photo Credit: Osde8info (flickr.com)

I’m definitely guilty of showrooming. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked into a store, checked out the price of a product, nearly keel over after seeing the price tag, then whip out my smart phone to buy it cheaper online.

Showrooming has become common practice to many consumers. Showrooming occurs when consumers check out a product at a brick-and-mortar store, then buy it online for a cheaper price, sometimes right on the spot using their phone. This has been a big boon for online retailers. Obviously, it is significantly hurting some brick-and-mortar stores. Best Buy is hurting from the effects of showrooming and has been seeing declining sales. Attributing some of its losses to the impact of showrooming, Best Buy has been trying to curtail the practice.

Best Buy is not the only one that’s trying to combat showrooming. Stores such as Target have asked vendors for products not found online. Price matching is another tactic. In extreme cases, stores have installed lasers that break up handheld scanning apps from reading.

How else can you combat the effects of showrooming? Michael Fox, president of M&M Paper says that it’s good customer service and staff training.

“Human interaction will always prevail over ordering online,” he says, adding that salespeople should point out online shipping fees and the hassles buyers often face on long-distance returns or exchanges that they wouldn’t face in the store.

35% of respondents engage in showrooming. 72% of those respondents found a better price online. But this is not the end for brick-and-mortar stores. If they play it smart, they can reduce the effects of showrooming. How else do you think stores can combat showrooming? Have you noticed this practice in your own store?