There is no dispute that shoppers showroom. This passive form of engagement, where they use physical brick-and-mortar stores to see items in person and buy online, leeches money from retail storefronts with pricey overhead. Meanwhile, shoppers just come in to touch items, maybe try them on, and many then hop on their mobile phones to find that same item elsewhere, most likely at a cheaper price online.
Deloitte even suggests that over the 2014 holiday season, as many as half of shoppers will go to a store to look at an item and then purchase that item online. Most do so to chase down more competitive price they know they can find online; others showroom for convenience, which becomes essential during the hectic holiday season.
Data from CFI Group's "2014 Holiday Retail Spending" report found that as many as seven out of 10 retail shoppers who own smartphones are actively using them to shop the competition while they're physically standing in your stores.
Electronics retailers are at the highest risk of suffering lost sales to showrooming, the study said. The study, which surveyed 1,000 US consumers, revealed that 70% of consumers who have engaged in the practice viewed electronics in-store but ultimately purchased online. Apparel and accessories (47%) and toys (43%) trailed distantly behind.
Computer and consumer electronics are expected to occupy a larger share of total retail ecommerce sales in coming years. eMarketer estimates that the product category will grow to 22.1% of US retail ecommerce sales share by 2018, up from 21.8% in 2013 and 2014, and occupying a larger slice of the pie than apparel and accessories or any other category.
Though electronics can often carry expensive price tags, cost doesn't necessarily drive behavior. CFI Group showed that the likelihood of showrooming is virtually the same after the $25 mark. That is, items that cost $30 or $300 induce roughly the same drive to showroom among electronics buyers.
Still, half of showrooming shoppers expect they can save between 11% and 25% by just comparing prices among competitors. Until the in-store experience—prices, convenience, customer service—close that price gap or justify the extra expense, shoppers will continue to spend their dollars elsewhere.