Is The Showrooming Threat All Hype? | RetailNext

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Is The Showrooming Threat All Hype?

Suzanne Tran
Suzanne Tran
Director of Marketing Communications

New Research Indicates E-Commerce Sites Actually At Risk of “Webrooming”

Based on recent studies, Showrooming is up 156%! This phenomenon is impacting retailers in ways that are raising questions like:

By now, especially if you’re in retail, you’ve heard the alarm bells ringing about the threat of Showrooming, or buying online after inspecting products in physical stores. But just last week, brick-and-mortar retailers everywhere heard new sounds of encouragement: Look out, Amazon? Yes, it’s true. More shoppers are doing research online, and then buying in the physical store.

A new study conducted by Accenture revealed that 65% of consumers said they would partake in Webrooming – the exact opposite of Showrooming – where “they would browse holiday purchases online that they would ultimately buy in person at the store.” A somewhat smaller 62% said they would participate in Showrooming. Moreover, in another study by the Urban Land Institute, 50% of Millennials said they prefer Webrooming, as opposed to only 11% who said they prefer Showrooming.

In fact, e-commerce still only accounts for a mere 5% of all retail sales. The bottom line is even if consumers are browsing products online, many still prefer to buy products in brick-and-mortar stores (in which 95% of retail sales materialize!), where they can touch and check out products in person, dodge shipping costs, and experience immediate gratification.

In a recent interview with Street Fight Mag, CEO of RetailNext Alexei Agratchev said, “I don’t think brick-and-mortar as an industry is under threat at all. There are individual retailers under threat because they need to change the way they think of their stores. If the purpose of a brick-and-mortar retailer is to provide product availability at price, they’re probably not going to survive because those things are done better online. There are retailers, like Warby Parker and Bonobos, that started online and are opening physical stores.”

So, what’s hype and what’s not? Are shoppers Showrooming or Webrooming? The truth is it’s all happening at once. Today’s shopper is an omniconsumer: one who browses the web and buys in store, AND browses physical stores and buys online. Either way, they will eventually be walking into your stores, so be wary of the hype, and make sure you are making data-driven decisions to offer the omniconsumer the best possible experience wherever they choose to shop.