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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Study Debunks Showrooming Myth

A 2012 study found that more than half of its respondents expected bricks-and-mortar retailers to be showrooms for online merchants by 2020. Now, a new report from the Columbia Business School and loyalty management firm Aimia paints a more optimistic picture for traditional retailers.

The report found that while 70% of the 3,000 consumers polled had showroomed at least once in the last year, just 6% went into the store with a plan to buy online after seeing the product in person. It also found that more than 50% were more likely to purchase in-store when they used a mobile device to find online reviews or other information.

“Our findings contradict many of the common assumptions about the threat of showrooming,” David Rogers, professor at the Columbia Business School and an author of the report, told GigaOM.com. “Many [customers with smartphones] are not showrooming but looking for the right information to be confident in their purchase.”

The study reported that most mobile shoppers use their device to check prices, but that convenience, urgency, and immediacy are reasons why they will make a purchase in-store instead of online. In addition, 48% said loyalty programs made them more likely to purchase in-store, even if they found equal or cheaper prices online, while services such as price-matching, free home delivery, and extended warranties also kept them in stores.

“Retailers don’t have to resort to automatic price-matching,” said Rick Ferguson, co-author of the report and vice president of knowledge development at Aimia. “M-shoppers show a strong willingness to join loyalty programs in exchange for rewards, and this gives retailers the chance to build long-term relationships with them.”

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