The practice of “showrooming,” or viewing an item in a retail store and then buying it online, has brought the e-commerce threat directly to bricks-and-mortar retailers.
Mobile raises the showrooming threat to a new level since price comparisons are available to shoppers immediately, as they make decisions and browse e-commerce websites in stores.
We also look at what the big retailers are doing to combat showrooming, including trying to use online strategies to drive “reverse showrooming,” or the practice of browsing on social media and e-commerce sites but then buying in physical stores. And, finally, we identify the five broad strategies that will help brick-and-mortar retailers win business from showroomers. This is all part of our ongoing coverage of mobile commerce and retail.
Take a look at this chart from our report:
Estimates of how much retail volume is influenced by smartphones vary wildly, but here are some numbers that gauge mobile showrooming’s influence:
- IDC predicted that smartphone use would influence between $US700 million and $US1.7 billion in U.S. holiday season retail sales in 2012. 50-nine million U.S. shoppers will use their smartphones to showroom in 2013.
- Deloitte Digital believes smartphones influenced $US159 billion in U.S. store sales over the course of 2012 or 5 per cent of the total, and will influence $US689 billion of store sales in 2016.
- A recent study revealed that JC Penney — which just announced a disastrous 32 per cent decline in same-store sales for the fourth quarter of 2012 — is at risk from showrooming because showroomers visited its locations 14 per cent more frequently than the average U.S. shopper did in January 2013.
In one dramatic effort to combat showrooming, U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy announced earlier this year that its stores would match the prices of 19 major online competitors, including Apple, Amazon, and Buy.com. Target also has a price-matching policy in effect.