Remember when retailers were in a panic about a new trend called showrooming? The showrooming concept where consumers come into your store to look at, touch and try on products, but then search for lower prices and buy them online from your competition struck fear into retailers’ hearts.
However, this year, it seems the concept is flipped around. A recent study by GfK  found that showrooming is actually on the decline. Instead, “webrooming” is on the rise. We’ve addressed this before: Webrooming , the opposite of showrooming, is when consumers research products online, then head into a physical store to make the purchase.
According to the study, 28 percent of consumers used showrooming in 2014, down from 37 percent last year—while webrooming was reported by 41 percent of respondents. Generation X and Y customers (aged 25 to 49) were most likely to webroom.
While webrooming used to be reserved mostly for big purchases like furniture or appliances, GfK says it’s now becoming common even with small purchases like health and beauty products.
What prompts shoppers to head into a store instead of just buying online? Nearly six in 10 want to “see and feel before buying,” 53 percent want to get the products instantly and 35 percent appreciate the ease of being able to return products in-store if they aren’t satisfied.
So how can your retail store benefit from webrooming even if you don’t sell products online? Here are three tactics.
Use the Power of Local Search
Make sure your store is listed in online local search directories like Local.com . Provide as much detail as possible in your listings and use relevant keywords.
For instance, if you’ve got some hot children’s toys on your shelves, use those keywords in your listings so shoppers searching for that item will be driven to your listings and your website. (You do have a website, right?)
Try Online Advertising
Pay-per-click ads can be worth your while in this case. As above, use keywords relevant to popular products you’re selling to attract consumers to your store, as well as to your specific location. This will help attract local shoppers.
The great thing about online adverting is you can easily see what’s working and what isn’t and adjust your ads accordingly, so you’re not wasting money.
Consumers researching products online often ask their social media contacts for advice or recommendations. (I know I do.) It’s getting harder to get traction organically on social media, so now may be the time to try paid ads. Social media advertising is incredibly niche, allowing you to get in front of very specific target markets.
For example, you can deliver your ad only to moms of 1-year-old girls within 3 miles of your store, if that’s your goal.
Webrooming can mean great things for your physical retail store. Just be sure to use these three tactics to bring online shoppers to you.
Store Display  Photo via Shutterstock