In the old days of e-commerce, the Web was a great place to conduct a little product research before driving to the store to make a purchase. Now the opposite holds true, and it's driving retailers batty. Whether with intent or completely unaware, consumers are participating in a new phenomenon called "showrooming." More than three quarters of shoppers have examined merchandise in a brick-and-mortar store and ultimately purchased that merchandise at a lower price, online. According to new data from CFI Group's Holiday Retail Spending Survey, more consumers showroom all or most of the time than those who don't at all, and 40% acknowledge that showrooming will be a go-to strategy for holiday deal-finding this season.
Among shoppers who intend to spend more than half of their holiday gift budgets online, three quarters are confirmed "showroomers." But, showrooming intent and trends are even more alarming—and more valuable—when examined along the lines of age, gender, price consciousness, and tech savvy. Which shoppers are most likely to showroom? What motivates consumers to do it, and how can retailers de-motivate them from searching online for lower prices on competing websites? While there's really nothing a retailer can do to altogether stop consumers from showrooming, a thorough understanding of the practice can contribute to proactive strategies that help thwart the loss of customers and sales to online competition.
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