retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Business Insider is out with a report about what it is calling "reverse showrooming" or "webrooming," which is the opposite of "showrooming" and seems to be catching on with an increasing number of consumers.

"Reverse showrooming," the story says, "is when consumers go online to research products, but then head to a bricks-and-mortar store to complete their purchase. As opposed to "showrooming," which is when consumers go to a bricks-and-mortar store to see an item, and then order it online.

According to the report, "Showrooming was once seen as an existential threat to bricks-and-mortar retailers, but it turns out the reverse dynamic is more popular. Reverse showrooming is actually more common than showrooming. In the U.S., 69% of people reverse showroom, while 46% showroom, according to a Harris poll.

"And showrooming isn't the territory of the young, as many might assume. In fact, the data shows that millennials too prefer to reverse showroom.  For electronics, shoes, sports equipment and cosmetics, more millennials say they prefer to reverse showroom, rather than research in store and then buy online."

The report goes on: "New initiatives for the connected in-store experience keep popping up: tablets and mobile phones used as register systems, robotic arms that deliver clothing into dressing rooms, and beacon hardware, which powers in-store maps and automatic hands-free payments.

"The key rationale behind all these changes: retailers are beginning to think of themselves less as purveyors of goods, and more as all-around consumer resources.
KC's View:
Bingo! Though I must point out, with some small measure of shameless self-promotion, that I've been writing for years that retailers need to be more than just a source of product and must become a resource for the consumer. (I didn't even do a study. I just used common sense.)

The thing this, this stuff goes both ways. There's not one way of shopping anymore. There are multiple ways, and different people do different things every day for different reasons … and the savvy 21st century retailer has to be prepared for all of them.