Webrooming: What is it?

Jan 3, 2017 | Web Design

Learn more about the hottest trend in retail marketing.

Webrooming: What is it?

There’s a new pair of expensive shoes out that you desperately want. You want those shoes to fit and live up to your expectations so do you: a) quickly buy them online in hopes that they’ll be a perfect fit, b) try them on in store and then purchase them, or c) try them on in store and then order them online? About 69% of people choose to conduct the research first and do what’s called “webrooming”. Gary Edwards from Empathica explains, "Webrooming is the opposite behavior to 'showrooming.' With showrooming, retailers are faced with the challenge of customers coming into the store to browse and test products, only to subsequently go home and actually complete their purchase online (often through a competitor.) Webrooming, on the other hand, is when consumers research products online before going into the store for a final evaluation and purchase." There are three major reasons consumers choose webrooming:

1. They are able to see, touch and try the product.

2. It has no shipping costs.

3. They can get the product immediately.

According to Douglas Karr (Founder of The Marketing Technology Blog), Baby boomers tend to shop in-store primarily but will often check product availability online first before making a trip. It is also found that Gen X consumers are the ones who will conduct thorough research online before buying products. Millennials and Gen Y will shop online mainly but when they do purchase in-store they are relying heavily on devices during their shopping experience. Retailers are embracing this new concept of webrooming by allowing consumers online access to further information about their products so that they can conduct their own research. This type of information includes reviews of the product, its price and even research on the store as a whole.

The rapid development of online shopping has scared many retailers. However, webrooming is a primary example of how the desire to go in-store still exists. Retailers should take note of how to encourage unique in-store experiences that consumers can’t possibly have online. Great customer service along with online browsing capabilities will give retailers results based on the advantages of webrooming.

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