Everybody's 'showrooming' now

Interior of the the Majed by Alexa Chung SS13 in store event last month in New York City.

Interior of the the Majed by Alexa Chung SS13 in store event last month in New York City. Photo: Andrew H. Walker

Showrooming. The phenomenon of trying on those jeans or testing that e-reader in-store before going home and buying it for cheaper online. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t doing it these days. And, according to this infographic, it’s saving us a lot of money. Duh!

With 25% of showroomers saving anything in-between $50 and $100 and 57% of discount-savvy shoppers heading to Amazon, where a whopping 75% of products are cheaper, it makes perfect sense. The downside, however, is that that it’s putting indie brands and boutiques without e-commerce in a pinch.

Could showrooming be the future of retail? Well, it sure looks that way, and the change in consumer behaviour is forcing retailers to adapt. A number of stores have begun to charge a fitting fee, while others are offering specialist advice and “diagnoses” by sales assistants to induce sales and price matching.

Customer shops in store for the Majed by Alexa Chung line (also available online).

Customer shops in store for the Majed by Alexa Chung line (also available online). Photo: Andrew H. Walker

Like handing over a fistful of coupons to the cashier, there’s still an element of guilt and embarrassment that goes along with showrooming. With such immense savings to be made, however, the only way retailers can really beat the problem is by offering a personal experience one can’t get online.

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How do you think the shopping experience can be enhanced?

4 comments

  • Shopfronts could earn money by providing a showroom service for the online shops. In my view, there are two reasons why the shopper showrooms. The first is to obviously try it on , size it up etc, something you just can do online (not that well anyway) but the second is that it is (sometimes) easier to browse and find or get ideas on the street or in the shopping centre. In other words the physical shopping experience gives you the "inspiration" to buy an item. So, if it's cheaper online to buy, but it's better in the real world to browse first, then why not combine the two methods to provide a wholistic and complete shopping experience for today's modern consumer? Surely there's a way.

    Commenter
    James
    Date and time
    May 02, 2013, 10:30PM
    • While I may spend a lot of time browsing in stores, the closest to showrooming I've ever come is intending on buying something only to be so disgusted with terrible service that I went and bought it $100 cheaper online.

      If I ever walked into a store and they asked me to pay a fitting fee for their overpriced product, I'd tell them how stupid they are and walk out. I find it insulting that somewhere charging $50-$100 MORE would ask for a fitting fee for you to even inspect the goods. I can get the same products online usually with free exchange if they don't fit for less money.

      Retailers, dig up stupid.

      Commenter
      Daniel
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 06, 2013, 3:53PM
      • I guess they'll hate me now as a "Showroomer" when i can't get any of their clothes to fit me or look OK. Since most times I find nothing that works for me, not only can i be disappointed and waste my time, but I'll be hated for it as well! One more reason to stay home and wear my old stuff!

        Commenter
        Spender
        Date and time
        May 06, 2013, 5:32PM
        • Ok - sudden idea... you know how you get really tired feet if you spend too long shopping? Suggest they have one of those amazing foot massage machines (I once tried it at the store where they sell them when my feet were giving me trouble) - and it could be - once you've made your purchase have a foot massage. Or perhaps the centre could subsidise a proper massage service which shoppers who actually spend get free (there are some therapeutic massage places springing up in Brisbane shopping centres). After all, that is one reason people are giving up on shopping at centres - the places are huge and you just get exhausted!

          Commenter
          Ms H
          Location
          Brisbane
          Date and time
          May 16, 2013, 8:25AM
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