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What is Webrooming? Boost Your Retail Sales

what is webrooming

Are you a small retailer in a cold sweat about showrooming? This trend where customers browse in-store but then buy products online, began striking fear into retailers’ hearts a few years ago.

Who wants customers coming in, trying on or feeling the products you offer, and then buying them at a deep discount from Amazon or some other site?

The trend was especially unsettling for small, independent retailers. While big national chains with huge volume may be able to afford to price-match online sellers, independents are less likely to be able to do so without losing their shirts.

But a new report [1] from Merchant Warehouse suggests that instead of stressing about showrooming, small retailers should welcome “webrooming.”

What is Webrooming?

The reverse of showrooming, webrooming is when consumers research products online, then come into a physical store to buy them.

Webrooming is even hotter than showrooming – and it’s creating new opportunities for brick-and-mortar retail stores.

What You Need to Know About Webrooming

It’s more popular than showrooming.

Some 75 percent of men and 63 percent of women webroom, compared to 53 percent of men and 40 percent of women who showroom. By other demographic measures, such as age, consumers are also more likely to webroom than to showroom.

What might surprise you is to learn that consumers aged 18 to 36 are equally avid webroomers as those aged 49 to 67. Sixty-nine percent of both groups webroom, but only 50 and 44 percent respectively showroom. And while 90 percent of showroomers have also webroomed, just 60 percent of webroomers have showroomed.

Why Do Consumers Webroom?

Particularly when they could just as easily order a product online – why add that extra step?

The bad news is that 36 percent of consumers will ask you to price match online prices – so should you?

That’s up to you. Merchant Warehouse suggests doing it during especially competitive times, like the holidays. However, be aware that information spreads rapidly on social media today and if you price match for one person, he or she is likely to tell friends who will then expect the same treatment (and may badmouth you if they don’t get it).

If you do price match, you may want to set limits such as price matching one item per customer or deduct a certain percentage from the price without actually matching. That way, the customer is still getting a deal while also getting the product quickly.

Check out the graphic below for more.

what is webrooming [2]

[Click graphic above for larger version [2]]

Images: Merchant Warehouse