The concern of many retailers that large numbers of their customers would use their stores as a showrooms and then buy online from competitors has not proved to as big a problem as they feared.
According to GfK’s 2014 FutureBuy global study of shopping habits and preferences incidents of smartphone “showrooming” dropped from 37 percent in 2013 to 28 percent in 2014. Frequent showroomers — those that did it 20 or more times in that period — made up less than 2 percent of the group.
The growth area is “webrooming,” where shoppers buy in a store after researching products online. This was reported by an even higher proportion of respondents, 41 percent. Webrooming has increased across all age groups. Only the 18-24 age group prefer showrooming and that’s just by a narrow margin.
Action that retailers need to take
This is all good news for retailers but there is no place for complacency just because a risk has been reduced. To capitalise on this trend the signage in stores has to make it easy to find exactly the same product that shoppers have researched and chosen online. If shoppers can’t find it easily they are very likely to go to another store. Many retailers have realised that as webrooming increases just showing a price on a ticket is not enough. Products need more information to uniquely identify them from other similar items.
Retailers are increasingly talking to us because they’ve discovered that their existing signage system would not allow them to easily provide and change this type of product information on their price tickets and signage. We’d be happy to tell you more about how they are solving this problem.