Last Christmas, brick and mortar retailers were worried that showrooming would cut into their bottom line. This is when a customer visits a store but then uses their smartphone to find the same item for a lower price online. I swear this is why some of my favorite stores have the worst cell phone reception inside their walls. No problem, I’ll just step outside to search.
This Christmas it’s the online retailers who need to worry thanks to a new trend called webrooming. (That’s web – rooming, not we-brooming.)
According to a new Harris Poll, more customers will be doing their initial research online before running out to buy at the store.
Let’s start with a clearer definition of terms. Here’s the way Harris phrased the question:
Have you ever gone online to examine or research a product before purchasing it in person, at a brick and mortar store?
Here’s the answer:
Around 7 out of 10 Americans said they have engaged in webrooming. But I’d disagree – slightly. I don’t think that doing research online prior to buying is necessarily webrooming. For example, reading reviews of an HD TV online that I fully intend to purchase at Best Buy isn’t webrooming.
What is webrooming is what I did earlier today. I wanted to buy some pop culture stocking stuffers for Christmas. I found some fun items online but I don’t want to pay shipping on these little items, so later today I’m going to the mall to buy the same toys I could have bought online. That’s webrooming. Normally, I’d rather buy from an online retailer but I’m not going to fill in forms and spend $7.00 to ship a $6.00 poster.
Where’d They Go?
The majority of webroomers headed to Walmart (24%), Best Buy (21%) and Target (9%) after doing their online research.
Going the other way around, 59% of showroomers ended up buying what they want from Amazon after scoping it out at a store.
48% of webroomers begin a Amazon before they drive to the store to make the final purchase. So I guess Amazon has nothing to worry about because it pretty much balances out in the end.
Walmart is the biggest winner because 67% of people who webroom at Walmart.com end up buying at Walmart the store.
What’s the bottom line?
Showroomers say that the last time they purchased a product online after checking it out in-store they spent an average of $174.00. That’s a pretty penny, but it’s down in comparison to both the average showrooming expenditure from last holiday season ($211.80) and webroomers’ average spending this year ($203.90).