Impact of showrooming on eCommerce

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showrooming on eCommerceA word that is buzzing in this holiday eCommerce sales season is ‘showrooming’. Showrooming sis a phenomenon where customers visit physical stores, search for the desired items, examine the merchandise, get a look and feel of it and finally buy it from eCommerce companies.

Customers, nowadays, visit retail stores just to get the feeling of tangibility of the products and finally order them online via their mobiles/ tablets or PCs. Retailers find it hard to deal with this situation as it gives them a sense that the physical retail stores are operating just as an information gathering centers.

A recent study done by a leading market research firm, Harris Interactive, states that 43% of the Americans using the internet have visited a traditional physical retail store just to purchase products online. Additionally, 80% of the retailers surveyed by the eBay Local said that their sales get declined by approx. 5% because of showrooming. This survey also reveals that at least half of the retailers don’t know how to handle this situation.

There are various factors that resulted in consumers’ involvement in showrooming such as higher usage of smartphones, lower prices of online products, free shipping, discount/ rewards offered while purchasing online, unavailability of sufficient product information and pre-panned online purchasing.

According to the survey, more than 60% of the online customers showroomed consumer electronics goods and more than 40% of them showroomed apparel, clothing and accessories. Additionally, 45% of the online customers using smartphones use it for checking product reviews and 44% of them use them for comparing prices.

To deal with this aspect of showrooming, retailers operating physical stores have started offering different services such as complete product information, same day delivery, improved customer service and customization services. However, higher overhead and product costs are driving customers to opt for online vertical.

The following ways will help online retailers to attract customers to purchase through their online stores:

  • Display multiple product images.
  • Provide detailed description.
  • Using product videos.
  • Permission in writing reviews, and
  • Using social media to engaging customers.
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