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What is showrooming and webrooming?

Showrooming is essentially the act of entering a brick and mortar store to see a product, touch and feel it, maybe even hear or smell it before heading online to purchase that exact product. The main issue is that after visiting the physical store and evaluating the product in person, these shoppers go online and buy the product from a competitor, especially due to lower prices.

In such a situation, the retail stores move from being stores to acting (involuntarily) as showrooms in which people examine the product but don’t actually buy it there, rather, they make their purchases online.

Showrooming has become particularly widespread in recent years and causes retailers in physical stores to lose out of a large chunk of their revenue. 

Webrooming, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of showrooming. It refers to the phenomenon in which consumers look products up online beforeo they visit a physical store to carry out a final evaluation and then purchase it. 

Retailers can take advantage of webrooming by going multichannel, offering them the information they are looking for online like reviews, pricing, product information, and then letting them know that they can visit the brick and mortar store for a final evaluation before making the purchase. It gives retailers the opportunity to create a better, seamless customer journey, and thus increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Source: ResearchGate

What is mobile showrooming?

Mobile showrooming is essentially showrooming that takes place in-store, via mobile devices. In mobile showrooming, you see consumers evaluating the products in store and then looking them up on their mobile phones to compare prices and find the best deal. This phenomenon is becoming widespread due to the increasing speed of mobile browsing and the presence of shopping apps that make it easier for shoppers to find exactly what they are looking for with minimum effort. One of the main reasons why customers engage in mobile showrooming while they are in stores is that it makes them feel better about themselves to feel like they got themselves the best deal. It gives them a sense of achievement, even if the savings they got from buying the product are not particularly large or significant.

What is reverse showrooming in marketing?

Reverse showrooming is essentially the same as webrooming. It’s the phenomenon in which consumers look products up online before they visit a physical store, see what the product actually looks and feels like in person, and then purchase it. 

Studies and surveys have shown that 69% of shoppers engage in webrooming or reverse showrooming, while 46% of people engage in showrooming.

Here are some of the common reasons because of which people engage in webrooming:

  • 47% of shoppers that engage in webrooming do that because they do not want to pay shipping costs.
  • 23% of them do it because they don’t want to sit around waiting for the product to be delivered.
  • 46% of webroomers engage in this activity because they prefer going to stores to touch and feel a product before they actually purchase it.
  • 37% do it because they enjoy having the ability to return a product to the store if they need to.

37% of the people who take part in webrooming also ask the physical store if it would be possible for them to match the price at which they found the product online or do better than it.

How can I stop showrooming?

There isn’t a magical way for brick and motar stores to stop showrooming all together. But there are things that you can do to slow it down and reduce it to some extent. Here are a few of the things that you could do:

Acknowledge it head-on

If you see a shopper whipping out their phone, looking products up online, and comparing the prices, you don’t have to just sit around feeling bad and annoyed about it. All you have to do is go up to them politely and say something like “If you find that at a better price than ours, just let me know, we’ll match it right here, right now.”

Now your customers know that they’re getting the best deal they could get aand they won’t even have to wait for the product to be shipped to them.

Get personal

People like to shop at local stores because of the relationship they have with the storekeepers. The storekeepers know you, understand your preferences, and quite often even a bit about what’s going on in your life, they’ve pretty much become your friends at this point.

You need to get your customers start looking at you as a helpful buddy that offers great advice about they’re looking to buy and other things in their niche. When you make that happen, they’ll stop looking in other places and you’ll become their go-to store.

Get them before they start looking things up

If you know your customers’ preferences and when they’ll need to buy new ones, you can reach out to them using email or, even better, a WhatsApp chatbot. Let them know that you could send them an order of the items they bought last time or even suggest other products that you think they’d like. If it aligns with their tastes, they might just make an impulse purchase without bothering to look for better deals.

How is showrooming detrimental to retailers?

Retailers have a legitimate concern that showrooming could potentially make them nothing more than a step in the customer journey where they just learn about the products but don’t actually make a purchase. With the overhead costs involved in running brick and mortar stores, it becomes harder for them to match the prices that online stores could offer. This means that showrooming ends up costing them quite a bit in sales revenue, letting those sales flow to their competitors.

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