Retailer Focus on Showrooming? Not So Much

For many retailers looking at commerce, more focus is on mobile websites and less on apps.

And based on a new study, showrooming is not at the top of retailers’ hit lists.

The survey by EpiServer was conducted at the annual Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition and included responses from CEOs, vice presidents, directors and e-commerce managers from 100 attending organizations including retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, catalogers, online-only merchants and local retailers.

While the data may not be totally projectable, it is yet another indicator of the state of some mobile commerce thinking at retail.

In terms of investment in commerce, the majority (60%) plan to spend on their website with about a third (35%) investing in mobile apps.

A majority (78%) say less than 20% of their sales come through the mobile app.



In this particular case, retailers and consumers seem to be more or less on the same page.

A separate study from mobile software firm Netbiscuits this week found that most (79%) consumers prefer to have the option of using a mobile website while fewer (18%) were happy just using native apps.

In the EpiServer study, the majority (61%) say they have a mobile strategy and of those, most of the emphasis seems to be on mobile websites, with a relatively small number (22%) having an app.

What strikes me as more interesting is where the future direction is for this group.

It turns out there is less focus on using mobile for sales and more for customer loyalty. For current primary uses of mobile, more of the retail group (32%) targets customer loyalty while fewer (14%) focus on price comparison.

And then there is the showrroming issue. The idea that mobile shoppers are visiting stores and then either leaving to buy elsewhere or online doesn’t’ seem to faze this group.

As a primary mobile use, only 2% list showrooming and 8% list price comparison at the top of their lists.

Showrooming in the future also does not seem to be a major concern. Of those who plan to embrace mobile in the coming year, only 2% look to combat showrooming.

This is not to say showrooming is not happening or impacting retail, but it’s at the bottom of the list of current and future mobile issues for retailers.

What I find more striking is that a large number (39%) do not have a mobile strategy.

And of those who don’t have a strategy, almost half (45%) are either unsure or do not plan to embrace mobile in the coming year.

That group has a lot more to worry about than showrooming.


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8 comments about "Retailer Focus on Showrooming? Not So Much".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, July 1, 2013 at 4:30 a.m.

    Still never seen anyone showrooming, despite being on the lookout for it. Not even one person. What I do see if a lot of people using a cellphone to get instructions from their partner as they shop. I suggest therefore that shops are right to pay little attention to showrooming, but they do need to consider what one might call "hands and eyes" shoppers and make products easy to find and identify.

  2. Kevin Horne from Verizon, July 1, 2013 at 8:55 p.m.

    Excellent - the showrooming evangelistas can now step back from the tablet ;-)

  3. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, July 1, 2013 at 9:01 p.m.

    Thanks Pete, though some studies do show it is happening nationally, to a degree.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, July 1, 2013 at 9:03 p.m.

    Well stated, Kevin (back in January, no less!)

  5. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, July 3, 2013 at 1:42 p.m.

    Showrooming is a myth created by some companies who wished it would happen abetted by the press who always love a good drama. Reverse showrooming seems to be a more interesting threat - when consumers check out something online, read the reviews on Amazon, then drive to Best Buy and pick it up THIS AFTERNOON. And if brick & mortar search, they can leverage this to their advantage with efforts like the one at Lowe's for online ordering and instant in-store pickup.

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, July 3, 2013 at 2:54 p.m.

    Good point about reverse showrooming, Doug (I wrote about that in my latest book, Mobile Influence) and research does show the overwhelming majority of consumers shop in stores.

  7. David Koder from D Koder Marketing, July 3, 2013 at 11:38 p.m.

    Great the facts...this is a no brainier especially with Googles mobile algorithm changes, these companies should be putting more time into mobile sites. If you build the mobile site with the option for the customer to add it to the iPhone or iPad home screen and its functional is there a need for an this point I do not see a need

  8. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, July 5, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.

    Thank you, David. Will be interesting which approach wins out over the long term.

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