The rise of online retail has certainly forced physical retailers to both rethink their business models and compete with companies that do not have to deal with store overhead. In addition to competing on convenience and price, physical retailers are susceptible to the phenomenon of ‘showrooming’ – the consumer practice of using retail stores as showrooms for products they intend to buy online.
Today a new Gallup poll has revealed that at least 40% of Americans have engaged in showrooming. The survey also found that more wealthy Americans (those who make over $90,000 per year) were more likely to be showroomers, with over half of those surveyed (53%) saying they had showroomed at least once.
Though these numbers may look dismal for physical retailers, Americans are still prone to making purchases in-store. The same poll found that while many Americans engage in showrooming, most do not do so on a regular basis. The survey found that only around 9% of Americans bought or soon intend to buy online a product they shopped for in a physical store.
Physical retailers might find relief in the fact that Americans are still prone to purchasing goods offline, but the showrooming trend is one that will only increase as online retailers become ever more convenient and efficient. Gallup suggests that stores can work on their customer engagement to ensure sales happen in-store. Other market analysts have provided possible long-term solutions, including the suggestions that physical stores use their premium space to sell advertising – essentially embracing the concept of showrooming in full.