When Best Buy announced a new price-matching guarantee, it highlighted brick-and-mortar retailers’ efforts to discourage showrooming -- the practice of checking out products in stores before buying them for less online.
A new study by Ipsos MediaCT and the IAB suggests shoppers are clearly showrooming when it comes to consumer electronics, but that use of mobile phones in stores also leads to in-store sales. While 42% of people who were using their phones while shopping ultimately made their purchase online, a full 30% did so in the store.
Based on an online survey of 482 consumer electronics shoppers in February, Ipsos researchers found that mobile-equipped shoppers were also more likely to make an unplanned purchase: 32% in-store compared to 22% online.
Nearly a third (31%) overall used mobile phones for shopping-related activity in stores. Three-quarters of consumer electronics shoppers went to a retail store to sample a product, with half planning to buy there, and a quarter intending to showroom.
The study also showed a correlation between mobile use and spending. Among mobile-wielding shoppers, 42% spent over $1,000 while in stores in the last six months, compared to only 21% of those who didn’t use their devices in-store. And 65% of in-store mobile users said consulting their device made them more likely to buy a product.
“Mobile is the connective tissue in showrooming that is driving a more integrated shopping experience in the consumer electronics space,” said Anna Bager, VP and GM, of the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence.
Digital advertising also played a role in showrooming. Over a third of shoppers (35%) recalled seeing ads for electronic products they were shopping for. Half said that digital ads made them visit an online store, while 28% said digital ads led them to shop at a brick-and-mortar retail location. The rest were not influenced either way.
Among other key findings:
*Three-quarters of shoppers did some form of online research before going to a store, while six in 10 did so after.
*Smartphones, flat-screen TVs and tablets were the top three consumer electronics shopped for in the last six months.
*Mobile-equipped shoppers on average spent $1,539 versus $929 for those who didn’t use mobile devices while in stores.
"Shopping for Electronics photo from Shutterstock"