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."
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.Comment on this story
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."