Oh how retailers hate "showrooming" — people who come to a store, look at products (sometimes using an app) and then buy the item they want online. Consumerist even found one store in Australia that was charging people $5 for "just looking."
But now retailers are probably rejoicing at a new trend called "webrooming."
Donna Freedman at MSN/Money explains how webrooming is "browsing online but buying in-store."
Freedman quotes a study by Accenture finding that 73 percent of shoppers admit showrooming, but even more, 88 percent, admit they found what they wanted online and then bought it at a store.
Consumers want a seamless experience, Freedman says: "Consumers indicated they want an easy, consistent retail experience, from initial discovery of a product through research (reliability, price) and the decision to buy — and, if need be, to return. Shoppers want this journey to be hassle-free, whether it's done via smartphone, laptop or face-to-face."
Part of the reason webrooming is on the rise is that retailers have been fighting back, a Marketplace article by Gigi Douban says: "Big box retailers give incentives like price matching. And they offer same-day pickup for items ordered on their websites."
Gary Edwards gives advice on Retail TouchPoints blog for retailers: "Consumers drive today's retail marketplace. This means that retailers need to adapt their business models to the constantly changing needs of consumers — not vice versa."Comment on this story
On ZDNet, Larry Dignan looked at a Harris poll that found similar trends in the last holiday shopping season. Forty-six percent of Americans showroomed this holiday, up from 43 percent a year ago. But 69 percent of Americans webroomed — browsing Amazon and then picking up their purchases at a big box store like Wal-Mart or Best Buy.
Dignan says, "Now we'll skip through all the mumbo jumbo and just declare the obvious that it's all shopping no matter what sales channel you use."