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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : June 03, 2014

More consumers 'webroom' than 'showroom'

New research reveals that while retailers have been obsessing over the impact of showrooming there's another phenomenon that is rather more widespread - webrooming.

by Helen Leggatt

The opposite of showrooming is webrooming and, according to a new report from Merchant Warehouse, webrooming is a lot more prevalent than showrooming, particularly among younger shoppers.

While showrooming is the practice of visiting a store to view and test products and then going on to make a purchase online, webrooming refers to the practice of researching products online and then visiting a physical store to make a purchase.

Merchant Warehouse's research found that webrooming appears to be trumping showrooming and that is equally true among men and women. While three-quarters of men (75%) webroom, just over half (53%) showroom. Similarly, women are more likely to webroom (63%) than showroom (40%).

Furthermore, while 9 out of 10 showroomers have also webroomed, just 6 out of 10 webroomers have showroomed.

One reason webrooming is popular is that consumers find it easier to return an unwanted item to a store and, of course, many just like to be able to get touchy-feely with an item before making a purchase. Similarly, almost half (47%) wanted to avoid shipping costs associated with online purchases and 23% didn't want to have to wait for delivery of a product.

"Although many physical retail stores are suffering due to Internet-focused buying tendencies, it's not too late to turn things around," writes Merchant Warehouse in a company blog post. "By improving the in-store shopping process, retailers can convert showroomers into real customers and take advantage of the webrooming effect. When making these changes, it's best to unify all the relevant store, mobile and Web channels. This will create a continuity and flow for each customer experience."

Tags: ecommerce, retail, showrooming, trends, webrooming

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