The act of showrooming is seeing a growth that cuts across a variety of demographic segments, according to the Holidays Retail Trends study by CFI Group. This is due in part to mobile technology, and practiced by a majority of consumers whether they intend to or not.
The behavior has helped online retailers such as Amazon, but has decreased revenue for bricks-and-mortar retailers. Retailers can combat this by enhancing both their in-store and online businesses, according to the study.
The study found that more than 75% of consumers showroom, but a majority (60%) do not actually plan to showroom when they are shopping. The study suggests that this is an unconscious and reflexive behavior.
Shopper engagement with showrooming indicates there is also a desire, as well as an unconscious need, to engage in savings. The study found that a driver of showrooming was that consumers (11%) wanted to avoid checkout lines.
So what is being showroomed exactly? The study found that electronics and apparel are the two most frequently showroomed types of goods. Consumer expectations vary regarding showrooming and how much money will be saved.
According to the study, the largest segment of those polled (44%) indicated that showrooming would result in 11% to 25% savings with the second largest segment of those polled (34%) expect to save 25% to 50%.
In response to showrooming, retailers should call attention to the in-store advantages such as impulse purchasing ability, the ability “to take it home” and the absence of shipping costs, according to the study.
If bricks-and-mortar retailers provide a high level of consumer engagement with competitive pricing and their own online shopping option there is a chance to steal sales from their competitors, according to the study.
The study found that the smartphone plays a huge part in the act of showrooming. Roughly 55% of smartphone owners use them while shopping, of those 60% use the device to check prices and 45% use them to check reviews and get product recommendations.
Shoppers will then use their phone to go directly to retail websites whether it is optimized for mobile or not (85%) versus 62% who use specific apps developed for their smartphones, according to the study.
The study revealed that smartphone purchasing will only increase. Of the respondents that use their phone while shopping, a full 59% indicated having made a purchase on their phone in the past six months and half of these indicated that purchasing via a smartphone is increasing.
What is stopping consumers from purchasing on their smartphones? Well, security is a big concern for many, according to the study. Further advances in encryption and security technology will help ease those concerns.
The second and third reason consumers aren’t purchasing on their smartphones is screen size and browser speed, according to the study. However, with the advent of big-screen phones in 2012, could change that in the coming years.
Over one-fourth of respondents indicated that written peer reviews weigh heavily on purchasing decisions, according to the study.
The study suggests that retailers have a big opportunity to leverage social media to their benefit. According to the study, 13% of consumers queried indicated that they respond to retailer messages that reach them through social media.
Twenty-one percent of respondents to the study indicated their intention to buy something that they would have never thought of until it reached them on social media.
With the ease of use in technology, greater strides in mobile technology, and the human desire to obtain the highest quality of product for the best price all translate into the fact that showrooming will continue to grow as a behavioral approach to purchasing.