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Webrooming: How will it impact retail?

strategic retail group, retail trends blog, matt milinovich, webrooming

webrooming - the process of researching products online, then buying them in a store

A recent study conducted by Interactions determined that 88% of shoppers regularly webroom [view online and then buy in stores], while only 76% showroom [view in stores and then buy online].

Why are shoppers webrooming in such large numbers?

The main reason consumers are webrooming is that they believe that their research online regarding pricing will be helpful, but ultimately they will get the best pricing by going to the store and purchasing the item in person. They utilize the web for product research and comparison in a similar way that people now shop for new cars prior to heading into the dealership to negotiate their car purchase. Not wanting to wait for product delivery, or saving on shipping costs, can also be factors for consumers desiring to go to the store to make the purchase.

What other reasons do customers have for ultimately purchasing in store vs. online?

Many shoppers still believe that they need to purchase in the store in order to get advice and help from retail salespeople regarding product choice and features. Shoppers often like to go to stores in order to touch and feel a product before they commit to buying. Certain product types tend to be more frequently purchased in person vs. online – those categories are usually apparel, groceries and appliances.

Are there retail categories that are more often purchased online?

Many consumers feel very comfortable purchasing computers, electronics and mobile phones online, and those categories lead the way in online shopping. However, there are risks with online shopping that are starting to weigh heavily on the consumer - many feel like providing payment information online is now unsafe with revelations of consumer payment & login information being stolen by hackers occuringly seemingly on a daily basis.

In a recent study by Forrester Research, it was estimated that webrooming would result in $1.8 trillion in sales by 2017 vs. $1.2 trillion in 2012. Compare those figures to e-commerce sales, estimated to reach $370 billion in 2017, and you'll see where the most lucrative trend is.

For more information, consult this great infographic on webrooming that provides some interesting stats on the subject from Merchant Warehouse


By: Matt Milinovich

Partner, Strategic Retail Group

Email Matt:

Phone: 602-778-3830

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