A few years ago showrooming was one of retailers perceived biggest threats. Since then many retailers have figured out how to make consumers’ in-store access of online information work to their benefit by enhancing the shopping experience…enter endless aisles, price comparisons, consumer reviews, and more.
As consumer behaviors continually shift, so has their approach to showrooming. In fact, it’s reversed. More consumers are now purchasing in-store after researching a product online. The percentage of in-store sales influenced by digital has more than doubled. Increasing from just 14% in 2012 to 36% or more than one third of purchases in 2013, and was projected to reach 50% by the end of last year (Source: Deloitte Digital).
And don’t expect for it to stop there. Forrester, VP and Principal Analyst, Sucharita Mulpuru estimates that webrooming will result in $1.8 trillion in sales by 2017, versus $1.2 trillion in 2012. That’s a stark contrast to the estimated $370 billion e-commerce sales should reach in 2017.
Most would think that’s a good thing, right? Retailers should rejoice that consumers are coming in-store to make their purchase rather than online. But now there’s a new fear. One that consumers’ minds are often made up before they shop.
Without a doubt the consumer shopping cycle is dynamic and continuous. The bottom line is that brands and retailers need to accept that both showrooming and webrooming are behaviors in today’s consumer shopping experience. Forget the fear of a single channel’s influence and figure out to increase engagement with your consumer regardless of the channel. Retailers who are able to weave a brand story that appeals to consumer lifestyles and transcends channels opens the door for long-term brand loyalty.
Read more about the future beyond channels in our report: The Post Omnichannel World.
Photo credit: Tim Raftery