Webrooming: A Retail Challenge Or Opportunity?

  • May 13, 2014 at 1:30 PM EDT
  • By Retail TouchPoints Team
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New research released today from Interactions concludes that showrooming is so yesterday! Well, sort of…

Nowadays, shoppers are webrooming, which is the practice of researching products before purchasing them in-store. Talk about reverse psychology! 

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While 88% of shoppers are now participating in webrooming, showrooming is only popular among 76% of consumers. Sure, that’s a lot, but I think this research is testament to the fact that in reality, the store is still the star of the retail stage! 

The top reasons why consumers prefer to look at or purchase a product in-store is very logical. 

Consumers surveyed said they prefer to research online before buying in-store because they: 

  • Believe they can find the lowest price in-store (75%);
  • Prefer the online process for product comparisons (72%); and
  • Prefer the online researching experience (71%).

However, consumers who showroom said they prefer to research in-store before buying online because they: 

  • Like to experience the product in person first (68%); 
  • Believe they can find the lowest price online (48%); and
  • Prefer to seek help from in-store associates during their research process (41%). 

Although there is discrepancy in terms of which channel offers the best prices, these results verify that e-Commerce and brick-and-mortar both are valuable for their own reasons. For example, users can compare products from a variety of brands quickly and easily online, however, brick-and-mortar retailers can stand out by offering exemplary service and making the product discovery experience fun and compelling. 

Consumers surveyed for the research report were asked to share what types of products they preferred to buy online versus in-store. And if shoppers did not shop online, they were asked to share why. Take the time to check out the complete report. It’s interesting to see spending thresholds and buying behaviors across categories. 

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