Retailers can rejoice that consumers increasingly are heading to local stores to purchase items they've researched online, or "Webrooming," (as opposed to "Showrooming," where customers research in-store and then buy online). In a recent study, 88% of shoppers said they regularly research online before ultimately purchasing in a brick-and-mortar store, while 76% of shoppers said they regularly research products in a brick-and-mortar store before ultimately buying online.
More good news for store retailers is that "80% of local searches on mobile devices turn into purchases"; and "about 75% of those purchases happen in-store and same day."
Our press release last week titled: "Yes, Retailers Can Do Something About Amazon Firefly (Shopping App)," said: "Multi-channel retailers have a strong advantage over Amazon in retail competition and should continue blurring the lines between store and web by tightening the connections between the two channels," because stores can accommodate webrooming and store pickup (things that Amazon CAN'T do). Today I want to discuss the essence of webrooming in the battle for consumers' minds, bodies, and wallets.
Shopper Reasons For Webrooming & Showrooming
Webrooming: Customers said the reasons they browsed online and bought in-store were to find the lowest price, compare products, and do product research.
Showrooming: Customers said they shop in stores and buy online for the personal experience, to find the lowest price, to ask store associates questions, and to avoid a checkout line.
A different report by merchant services provider Merchant Warehouse (Source: Business News Daily) found:
* About 60 percent of webroomers have showroomed.
* Nearly 90 percent of showroomers have webroomed.
* Nearly 75% said they will visit a store to buy an item they've researched online (because they don't want to pay for shipping or don't want to wait for delivery).
* 37% said they liked the option of returning the item in-store (rather than having to ship it back).
* Another reason mentioned for webrooming is to identify products and stores that are close to them and they make their decision based on convenience.
Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line
"Window shopping is an intrinsic dynamic of retail sales, whether you’re talking about window shoppers in a physical store location or virtual window shoppers browsing online," Chris Morran of the Consumerist is quoted in "Webrooming on the Rise," in money.msn.com
Shopping and buying in brick and mortar stores is important to customers because they can get advice from salespeople, try items on, touch and feel items to know the quality of what they intend to buy, and buy and take them home immediately.
Other ways brick and mortar can compete with online retailers like Amazon is by providing in-store pick-up for online orders; keeping in-store inventory up to date with your online catalog; and overall, ensuring a consistent customer service experience both on the web and in your store.
In Part 2 on this subject, I will tell you several ways today's leading retailers are optimizing blurred channels, webrooming, customer visits to the store, and, thereby, increasing purchases and profit.