Brick and mortar retailers are increasingly the subject of "showrooming", the instance when consumers use their mobile phones inside the store to compare prices with other, competing retailers.
A new research study from Edgell Knowledge Network (in partnership with Ebay Local) reveals that 80 percent of retailers are affected (average loss of sales is 5%), yet only 10 percent have strategies in place to limit the effects of the activity.
"Showrooming is a phenomenon that's here to stay. One in four shoppers used their mobile phones to compare prices while in the store during the 2011 holiday season, and those numbers will only grow," said Gaurav Pant, Research Director, EKN. "But the good news is that retailers can put strategies in place to help counter the effects of showrooming by engaging showroomers actively, integrating their online and offline channels, and prioritizing their investments to counter showrooming."
The report, which indicates that 63 percent of merchant respondents expect 2012 holiday season sales to show an increase over 2011, includes some practical guidance for retailers, namely that price-matching and improved cross-channel integration are the most effective strategies to counter showrooming. Yet merchants remain unprepared. Only 25 percent of respondents reported full integration between their store and online channels, and only 15 percent share their inventory online – two reliable methods for retailers to lessen showrooming's impact for retailers.