Mobile Showrooming Leads To In-Store Sales

Shopping-Electronics-Shutterstock-BWhen 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"

3 comments about "Mobile Showrooming Leads To In-Store Sales".
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  1. Evan Davis from Continuum, February 27, 2013 at 10:44 a.m.

    When traditional retailers utilize the benefits of mobile and heighten customer experience they can curb the negative impacts of showrooming. I work for Continuum, a global design and innovation consultancy, and my colleague Craig LaRosa wrote a blog post entitled “The Showrooming Scramble.” This post touches on how brick and mortar stores are battling online retailers for a share of customers’ wallets. You can read more here:

  2. Raquel Hirsch from Hirsch Strategies Inc. , February 27, 2013 at 1:15 p.m.

    Spurius data or oversight?

    "While 42% of people who were using their phones while shopping ultimately made their purchase online, a full 30% did so in the store" - but who did they buy from??

  3. Kate Hyslop from BookingBug, February 28, 2013 at 1:22 p.m.

    Bricks-and-mortar retailing needs a desperate shake-up, but it isn’t going away. It's interesting to read an article like this looking at the possible up-side of show rooming, rather than the doom and gloom. If retailers are to turn the “show rooming” phenomenon to their advantage they need to identify and focus on where they can add value to the customer above and beyond what can ever be achieved online. This comes down to services – whether that be sports equipment fittings (see Golfsmith) or pet nutrition consultations (see Pats at Home in the UK) - there are brands that are already doing this successfully.

    But it’s not going to be enough to passively offer these services in store; services need to become core to the retail operation across all channels. In order to restore the value of offline retail brands need to utilize their hard-fought online presence and assets to promote and drive uptake of these in‐store services. By promoting unique services alongside products in store brands can dramatically increase footfall, improve the in-store customer experience, initiate new opportunities to upsell and, crucially, generate increased revenue.

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