Store Charges $5 Browsing Fee to Combat Showrooming

    March 26, 2013
    Josh Wolford

In order to combat showrooming, one Brisbane, Australia store is taking to some rather extreme measures.

The store is now charging people a $5 “just looking” fee in the hopes of deterring them from using the store as a physical showroom, and then running off to buy the same products online.

If the customer ends up buying something, the $5 fee is waived.

“There has been high volume of people who use this store as a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere. These people are unaware our prices are almost the same as the other stores plus we have products simply not available anywhere else. This policy is in line with many other clothing, shoe, and electronic stores who are also facing the same issue.”

The sign went viral on reddit, as user BarrettFox said that “when they open tomorrow I’m going to see how many times I can walk in and out without paying the toll.”

AdelaideNow tracked down the specific store, which happens to be a Celiac supplies store in Coorparoo, a suburb of Brisbane. The owner of the store, which sells gluten-free products, says that she was tired of “spending hours each week giving advice to people who leave empty-handed.”

She claims that around 60 people a week would come in, browse, ask her questions, and then leave to buy the product online (she assumes).

“I can tell straight away who are the rat bags who are going to come in here and pick my brain and disappear,” she said.

Many business owners, from companies as large as Best Buy to small businesses like this one, can surely relate to the frustrations of seeing people use their store as a testing ground for Amazon. But on the other hand, if you have competitive prices and hard-to-find products, do you really need to be charging a $5-a-head browsing fee?

Pissed off at people for showrooming or not, it simply seems like bad business any way you look at it.

[h/t BoingBoing]