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Webrooming and Showrooming: What Exactly Is It?

This is an archived post from OrderDynamics, now Tecsys retail division.
Webrooming | Showrooming: What Exactly Is It? A new study with over 2000 participants, by BookingBug shows that 55% of US respondents prefer in-store shopping for their retail purchases. That leaves a wide margin for other alternatives, or other options which are not exclusively in-store experiences. In fact, the research found that 57% of respondents prefer a blend of in-store and online purchasing. Despite all the media attention and focus on online retail, only 16% of participants use it exclusively. Three highlights in the evolution of retailing are click & collect, webrooming and showrooming. In this regard, what are the latter two shopping methods and are they important to retailers?


You probably have been doing webrooming, but might not have known what it was called. Webrooming is when a shopper starts by researching a product on the web, but goes in to a physical store for their final evaluation and purchase. A Harris poll finds that 69% of shoppers webroom.  BookingBug finds that among 72% of US shoppers often and 71% of UK shoppers occasionally webroom, Electronic goods are the most commonly webroomed products. 27% of US shoppers webroom electronic goods, with 29% of UK shoppers doing so. Other highly webroomed retail categories are clothing and furniture for both UK and US shoppers. For retailers webrooming stresses the importance of making sure your website is continually updated with your latest goods, promotions, and service offerings. The fact that shoppers are webrooming also stresses the importance of highlighting your brand’s omni-channel service offering. If you are executing an omni-channel strategy, then entice the shoppers who webroom to buy online, and pickup the product in-store. This way the consumer can make sure they don’t lose the product out to another shopper, and still have the opportunity to evaluate it in-store before their final choice. In the electronics category, reserving online – could be an important technique to lower the big ticket item purchase risk, and get shoppers to quasi-commit before finalizing their choice.


Showrooming is the direct opposite of webrooming. In showrooming, the shopper goes to the physical store to research and evaluate the product of interest. Then they make their final decision and purchase online. Typically, the online shopper will seek out the competitor offering the lowest price. For showroomers, price is invariably the most important buying behavior. Among US shoppers 48% often or occasionally showroom, with 52% of UK shoppers doing so. Interestingly, electronic products, again, are the most commonly showroomed category of products. In the US 24% of participants admitted to showrooming electronic goods, because it's popular with 29% of UK shoppers. The next two most showroomed categories here too were clothing and home furnishings, for both the US and UK markets.    

Working Showroomers

From a retailers’ perspective showroomers are not a favored class of shoppers. In effect, they are a resource drain on the in-store staff’s time, and use your facility, display and demonstrations purely for research purposes. Here too, omni-channel retail can be a saving grace. Showroomers are not always obvious. However, retailers which have deployed an omni-channel strategy need to train their associates on trying to lock in the customer sale, while in-store. Using a very helpful, and friendly approach, an in-store associate can highlight in-store promotions to sell the item in question, or direct the customer to an in-store click & collect kiosk. As with a click & collect kiosk, the associate might guide their online purchase search, and even overcome price considerations. Perhaps emphasizing the: Immediate gratification of having it right now, Automatic extended warranties, Easy return in-store with no questions asked, Less hassle of returning the item in-store, Limited time in-store promotional offering, No fee for shipping, Price matching (for certain products and times), Training service (Genius Bar, or Geek Squad – like service), or Quick questions answered by knowledgeable in-store staff Each of these additional considerations are value added to the product, service and experience. Keeping the customer engaged with an in-store kiosk to make their online purchase (silly as it may seem), might be the element that keeps them engaged long enough to just choose to avoid further hassles, and purchase right then and there.

Key Takeaways

Webrooming and showrooming are both elements of modern retailing. Both emphasize the need to have a strong web presence, supported by a solid ecommerce platform. Equally important is that retailers leverage their omni-channel retail capabilities to lock in webrooming customers as early as possible with click and collect. Alternatively, click and collect capabilities in an in-store kiosk can help retailers keep showroomers engaged with their brand, providing more time to overcome pure price considerations, and emphasize immediacy, convenience and various other service and experiential components. Ultimately, it is about presenting a strong value proposition for the retail brand. Omni-channel retail can help achieve this, and convert more prospects into buying customers.   Author: Charles Dimov is Director of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 21+ years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, and Director Sales. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.       Related:     
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