While online sales figures are continuing to rise, retailers are also becoming aware of the impact a strong web presence can have on transactions completed in bricks-and-mortar stores.
The so-called “showrooming” effect has been noted for some time now, with consumers regularly browsing products in physical shops, only to go on to complete the purchase online.
However, a new infographic from Merchant Warehouse has highlighted the increasing prevalence of the reverse tactic, “webrooming”.
This is where customers check out products online, before heading into a store to buy – a trend witnessed in 85 per cent of millennial shoppers.
Showrooming has become popular because consumers can check the products out, but then seek out the cheapest possible price online. So why are so many now choosing to webroom as well?
According to the infographic, the most common reason is because customers don’t want to pay shipping charges, which was cited by 47 per cent of webroomers. Just over two-fifths (42 per cent) of consumers said they prefer this method because they can check stock online and make sure they will be able to purchase what is they are after, rather than make a hopeful trip to the store.
Impatience also seems to be a key driving force behind webrooming, with 23 per cent of respondents admitting they choose this tactic because they do not want to wait for the products to be shipped.
So what can retailers with both online stores and bricks-and-mortar outlets do to encourage people to check out products on the internet and complete purchases in-store?
Merchant Warehouse suggests offering coupons and savings to customers who choose to do this, as well as allowing consumers to order products online and pick them up in-store. However, it will be important to ensure your inventories are consistent between both channels if you do decide to offer this service.
Webrooming can also be encouraged even if you do not have an e-commerce store, provided your website contains details on product descriptions and availability.