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Retailers must restrategise as ‘showrooming’ trend set to explode

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20th Nov 2012
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One in five consumers is now ‘showrooming’ – the practice of visiting retail stores to try products, but then using a mobile device to get the best price online – according to the latest research into the trend.

The new report by Aprimo in collaboration with Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulupuru found of those consumers currently shopping in such a way, 33% admitted that they used the information to buy elsewhere once a cheaper deal was found.

And the trend is set to continue with a staggering 96% of the 2,025 US adults surveyed claiming they plan to use their smartphone in the future to research prices the same way.  A third of those that haven’t used their mobile device to ‘showroom’ before is simply because the idea hasn’t yet occurred to them, said the report.  

The research also revealed that showrooming isn’t just for big ticket item. Whilst electronic goods are the most popular items price-checked in store (39%), this is closely followed by groceries (37%) and apparel/footear (33%).

Sucharita Mulpuru said of the findings: “This research confirms what many in the retail industry have suspected: Showrooming is here to stay,. Retailers must seriously consider ways to avoid losing sales this way by using strategies such as price matching, personalised in-store service and loyalty programmes.”

“Retailers are eager to see data like this because it helps them shape strategies to compete as mobile devices continue to disrupt the status quo,” added Marc Schroeder from Aprimo. “The opportunity here is to leverage technology and common sense and shift to a customer-centric value proposition through better service, smarter timing and relevant offers.  Retailers need new ways to build loyalty and brand value; physical-store retailers will not win in the long run by focusing only on price matching.” 

IDC recently forecasted that ‘showrooming’ will influence $1.7bn of this year’s Christmas shopping – a 134% increase from 2011.

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