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Research quantifies threat of ‘showrooming’

By Retail Technology | Tuesday September 17 2013

Latest results reveal trend, where 10% of shoppers admit to buying from competitors online when in another retailer’s store

The latest results released from a survey of 1,344 UK consumers has found that 1 in 10 have used their smartphone to buy a product from another retailer’s website while instore.

Loyalty is in even shorter supply among 16-24 year-olds, with 15% of shoppers in this age group admitting to buying elsewhere via their smartphones.

The survey confirms the trend known as ‘showrooming,’ where shoppers use their smartphones while in a retail store. While it has led some in the industry to ask if offering consumers free Wi-Fi instore is a good thing, Omnico – the retail IT provider conducting the survey – said retailers need to accept showrooming is here to stay and embrace omnichannel retail to defend from online threats.

Price comparison and review search

In addition to lost sales, the research found almost a third (29%) of shoppers used their smartphone to compare prices with other retailers’ websites, while almost a quarter (23%) of shoppers said that they look at product reviews while they are shopping to help with decision making. A further 15% of consumers use their smartphone to check the retailer’s own website to compare prices or check stock availability.
 
“Showrooming is here to stay, whether retailers like it or not,” stated Steve Thomas, Omnico chief technology officer. He observed that some retailers try to stop it, by ignoring consumers’ desire for free Wi-Fi or even blocking mobile signals, but this was short sighted. 

“This means, that because channels aren’t joined up properly, consumers are using their smartphones to join up channels their own way – and this means often going to retailers’ competitors to get advice and find the best deal,” he said. “Instead, it can be embraced, by offering assisted selling and integrating their mobile and web channels to offer genuine omnichannel retail.”

Other recently released results from the Omnico survey also found that Brits will on average wait just under six minutes in a shop queue before walking out.

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