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Showrooming Threat Subsides for Retailers

Posted by admin on 1/13/14 10:00 PM
Topics: digital content, college retail, showrooming, eCommerce, price comparison

The following excerpt is from an article written by , Content Editor, and published on CNBC.com. To read more about holiday showrooming and it's predicted impact on the new year, read her full article.

According to a new study, efforts to eliminate showrooming from shoppers' behavior paid off in 2013, as a significantly smaller dollar amount was spent by shoppers who visited a store to test or try on a product, only to go online and purchase it, usually for a cheaper price.The IBM study released Monday at the National Retail Federation convention found that showrooming, an issue that has particularly plagued brick-and-mortar retailers in recent years, is no longer a top threat to physical stores. The study included data from more than 30,000 global consumers.

Although the number of shoppers who showroomed last year ticked slightly higher—to 8 percent from 6 percent in 2012—the spending attributed to the practice was drastically lower. While nearly 50 percent of online purchases in 2012 came as a result of the practice, that number fell to 30 percent in 2013.

"It's really an interesting point here, where people are just more comfortable to go direct to online versus having to go to a store first," said Jill Puleri, IBM Retail Consulting leader.

Brick-and-mortar stores made a proactive effort to eliminate showrooming during the holidays by attempting to make their in-store experiences more unique, improving customer service and offering product giveaways to attract shoppers. But more importantly, Puleri said, traditional retailers did a better job of integrating their online and in-store offerings, with more stores showing the same prices and products across both platforms—two of shoppers' top demands.

One example of this was Best Buy, which tried to combat showrooming by embracing it. Ahead of the season, executives from the electronics chain said that it would be competitive on price with discounter Wal-Mart and online shopping mecca Amazon, in an effort to regain market share. To underline the fact that it offered the latest technologies at the lowest price, the retailer used the tagline of your "Ultimate Holiday Showroom" as a "fun way to embrace showrooming," said Amy von Walter, senior director of communications at Best Buy.

"Thanks to our Low Price Guarantee [price match], customers can shop with us with confidence that they received a great deal," von Walter said.

What's your store's stance on showrooming? Do you encourage it or avoid it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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