Webrooming: New Addition to the Retail Marketing Language

We set the clocks back on Sunday, and while I enjoyed an extra hour of sleep, it didn’t last long as the sounds of glee came from my kids when they saw all the big toy books in the newspaper. They still hadn’t eaten all their Halloween candy yet, but Christmas lists are hot on their minds. It’s not just the kids, holiday marketing is in full force. Decorations were up in stores, while last minute candy was bought on October 31st.

The fourth quarter has always been the biggest time for retailers. This is the time of the year when many will pull out all the stops to get you to buy from them, as they all make their play for their “unfair share” of your wallet. For many retailers, this is the time to go from being in the red to the black – hence the term Black Friday.

As consumers experiences are always evolving with new technology, our vocabulary expands to describe their activities. The latest addition to the retail marketing vernacular: showrooming and webrooming.

Showrooming: Consumers compare products and prices via mobile device while in-store and go home to buy online. Most popular items showroomed are electronics

Webrooming: Consumers initially research multiple retailers online at home to compare prices and products and then visit the brick-and-mortar store to make their purchase. Most popular items for webrooming is clothing, furniture, and beauty products.

It is estimated that showrooming impacted brick-and-mortar stores by approximately $217 billion in 2012. [Source: 360pi]

The key difference is where consumers browse, compare, and ultimately purchase –webrooming consumers buy in store; showrooming consumers buy elsewhere. The act of browsing for the best price or investigating the quality of items is nothing new, just the speed in which we can browse, compare, scan and purchase them has. Thanks to the mobile device.

Mobile technology has changed the retail game. 50 percent of mobile users begin their retail shopping on a mobile device and 25% of mobile shoppers rely on their devices throughout the entire purchase process. Consumers have more access to product and pricing information – literally at their fingertips – than ever before.

Today’s customer relies on not just product quality and price but convenience and overall experience, which has no doubt been heightened with the upsurge of mobile technology. Consumers want an enhanced mobile-assisted customer experience that’s quick and easy. IDC projects showrooming shoppers’ growth to increase from 60 million in 2013 to 70 million in 2014 which signifies showrooming is not just a technology fad.

In-store conversion is possible. Consumers are more likely to buy from retailers who provide an overall positive customer experience, which can be a combination of omnichannel convenience across stores and online, full-featured mobile Web sites, smartphone apps, loyalty program benefits, and the ability to price match. And never to be undervalued is the power of a positive customer experience which begins from web search or view of an advertisement, mobile search for store hours, to in-store customer service.

Learn more on how to offset showrooming in our whitepaper, Combat Showrooming: How Retailers Can Use Mobile to Enhance the Shopper Experience or watch our webinar OnDemand, Five Ways Retailers Can Beat Showrooming.

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