Depending on who you ask, showrooming either stokes a sense of foreboding or presents another opportunity to tap into a consumer’s shopping journey.
Last year seemed like a turning point for the retail industry where, rather than fear the arguably negative impact on brick and mortar sales that smartphones brought, brands were researching ways to tap into consumers’ mobile phones in store.
So how prevalent is showrooming in 2014? Research undertaken for VoucherCodes.co.uk by retail intelligence business, IMRG, in January this year found that there is still only a small minority who indulge in this particular path to a purchase, 13% of UK shoppers to be exact.
Females alluded to being slightly more budget conscious when they were surveyed for the Digital Promotions in A Physical World report, with 14% being actively involved in showrooming compared to only 10% of men.
Many of the age ranges involved had similar feelings towards showrooming, ranging from 19% of 35-44 year olds to 8% of the over 55s who admitted they liked to have a dabble.
Interestingly, IRMG discovered that 51% of the entire dataset said they researched online before shopping in the high street. What’s more, a significant volume of this research is leading to immediate in-store retail purchases.
The report states how 16% of those aged between 18 and 24 are making a purchase at a brick and mortar store after researching items on their mobile. As the age brackets increases, the percentage tails off.
A warm embrace
These insights show that campaigns targeting showrooming are effective on the younger generation. Indeed, according to Marina McKeever, senior sales director at VoucherCodes.co.uk, consumers are coming to expect a certain amount of cross-channel targeting.
“Mobile is essentially enabling brands to stay in contact and cross promote to customers in a more meaningful way than ever before,” McKeever said.
“The upshot for retailers is that consumers now expect a coherent and consistent brand experience across all channels, so brands need to make sure they are delivering a seamless customer journey if they are hoping to convert showroomers into in-store shoppers.”
As if to confirm how showrooming is on the cusp of being embraced, half of respondents falling into the ABC1 demographic of middle class consumers felt that online offers better choice, but 69% also revealed they enjoy taking their product home with them.