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Is Showrooming Still a Problem for Retailers?

Is Showrooming Still a Problem for Retailers?


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New research suggests many in-store shoppers are still turning to Amazon, but the threat is greater for Amazon’s online competitors.
Showrooming refers to shoppers viewing items in retail stores, before checking prices online, using their mobiles. (There’s also the reverse, webrooming, but that’s an awful term).

It became an issue for retailers a few years ago, and invariably involved Amazon, thanks to the retail giant’s mobile apps and website.

It’s an issue that’s been talked about a lot less recently, and recent stats are hard to find, but the use of mobile in store hasn’t stopped.

InReality stats from 2015 show that 75% of shoppers use their mobile devices while in store. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are comparing prices – they may also be checking product information.

25% do use their mobile to purchase items while in stores. This could be buying an out of stock item from the same retailer, or a cheaper product from a competitor.

Stats from a Kenshoo survey of 3,100 consumers (in the US, UK, France & Germany) show the threat retailers face from Amazon.

This is mainly due to the fact that Amazon is deeply embedded in online shopper’s mind, to the extent that it is the starting point for many online purchase journeys.

Indeed, Bloomreach stats show that more product searches begin on Amazon than search engines, which presents a real challenge for competitors.
amazon vs google
Kenshoo’s survey also shows consumer’s reliance on Amazon:

  • 72% use Amazon to find information on products before making a purchase.
  • 22% won’t look anywhere else if they see a product they like on Amazon.
  • 26% will check prices and information on Amazon if they are about to buy something in a store.

So showrooming is still a thing, but the bigger problem for retailers is the amount of price and product comparison which takes place using Amazon.

Some sectors face a greater challenge from Amazon than others, with electronics retailers facing the greatest threat.

Q: For which of these areas are you most likely to use Amazon when looking for products and information? 

What Can Retailers Do About the Amazon Threat?

Well, Amazon is here to stay for some time, but retailers online and offline can minimize the chances of losing customers to Amazon.
Here are just a few suggestions…

Provide Detailed Product Information

If customers can find the detail they need in your store or website, then they’re less likely to need Amazon.

Detailed product information, images and video can all help, while features such as product comparison tools can reduce the need to find information from Amazon.

Price Matching

Not every retailer can match Amazon’s prices all the time, but price matching is one way to keep customers in store or on-site.
Besides, while Amazon has a reputation for cheap prices, this isn’t always the case.

Here, Curry’s serves up this message when customers copy product titles (ready to paste into Google), showing how its prices compare to Amazon and other rivals.

Offer Convenience

Services like click and collect, especially when customers can collect items quickly, provide retailers with a slight advantage over Amazon.


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Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.