retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Seattle Times has a story this morning about how "a new study by Seattle startup Placed identifies home-goods chain Bed Bath & Beyond as most at risk of becoming a showroom for Amazon, followed closely by PetSmart and Toys R Us.

"The survey - based on responses from nearly 15,000 U.S. consumers, as well as an analysis of their movements through the physical world - also puts Issaquah-based Costco Wholesale on notice that its customers have no qualms about showrooming.

"While it’s unclear how many Costco customers use the chain to test-drive products before buying them from Amazon, Placed believes there’s enough overlap to raise the warning flag."

The story goes on:

“'There are categories critical to Costco’s success that are in Amazon’s cross hairs, like consumer electronics — the flat-panel television sets you see as soon as you walk in the front door — as well as jewelry,' said Eric Best, CEO of Seattle-based Mercent, which helps businesses with their online strategies. At the same time, Costco sells some things not likely to take hold online because their shipping costs are high relative to their price tags, he said, citing lawn fertilizer as one example."
KC's View:
I think that every bricks-and-mortar retailer has to be concerned about the showrooming issue. Some retailers and categories are more vulnerable than others, but we live in a world where not only do marketers have more information about consumers, but shoppers have access to far more information about the products they buy and the companies they patronize. Which puts the shopper in the driver's seat.

Deal with it.