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Shoppers who showroom spend more, study finds

12th May 2013
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The rising showrooming trend may be causing feelings of anxiety but new research has revealed that shoppers who use their mobile in-store actually spend more.

A new report out from Google Shopper Council and M.A.R.C. Research, Mobile In-Store Research: How in-store shoppers are using mobile devices, surveyed 1,500 consumers who use their mobile to shop and found that 84% do so when shopping in physical stores.

But while the definition of showrooming assumes that shoppers use their mobile whilst in-store to browse for the same product cheaper online, the research showed that the opposite is true. The research compared the in-store purchases of moderate and frequent smartphone users and found that basket sizes of frequent mobile shoppers were 25-50% higher.

Marketers shouldn’t shy away from the showrooming challenge, and should instead, meet it head on, said Google Shopper Council.

So how exactly are shoppers using their mobile when in-store? According to the findings, a whopping 82% of smartphone shoppers use mobile search to help make purchase decision, followed by price comparison (53%), finding offers and promotions (39%), finding locations of others stores (36%) and finding hours (35%).

Retailers must understand how mobile is impacting the entire business, from the products on shelves to how employees are trained; the research showed that one in three smartphone shoppers would rather find information on their phone when in-store than ask a sales assistant.

Adam Grunewald, mobile marketing manager for Google, said in a blog post: “Some stores promote their expanded inventory online or implement a price match guarantee to retain savings-hungry shoppers. Others are putting smartphones to use with QR codes that share more information about products, or apps with store maps and real-time inventory.

“Whatever tactics marketers choose, it’s clear that smartphones are changing the in-store experience, and that winning the key decision moments at the physical shelves mean owning the digital shelves too.”

Showrooming has recently become a major headache for retailers. According to recent research, showrooming has negated footfall as an indicator of retail success and retailer optimism has reportedly hit rock bottom with retailers forecasting poor sales and the decline of physical stores as a result of the trend.

But just like Grunewald, Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru warned retailers that they must “seriously consider ways to avoid losing sales this way by using strategies such as price matching, personalised in-store service and loyalty programmes.”

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