Webroomers Search Online, Buy in Local Stores

Retailers have been obsessing about the impact of showrooming ever since consumers started bringing their smartphones on shopping trips. Is it possible that the worry has been overstated?  Merchant Warehouse has issued a report which claims that webrooming – the practice of viewing products online and then going to a local retail establishment to make a purchase is actually more widespread.

Merchant Warehouse references a Forrester Research report which says webrooming is a favorite shopping method for younger consumers:

  • Ages 18–36 with smartphones engage in webrooming: 69%
  • Ages 37–48 with smartphone engage in webrooming: 71%

Consumers have specific reasons for webrooming and these are the details that local retailers should be emphasizing in their ad campaigns. Price-​matching is important to 36% of these consumers. Experts encourage local retailers to promote their price-​matching policies in order to lure shoppers into their stores.  Consumers also want to avoid paying for shipping costs (47%). Others,  42%, want to know the product is available immediately in the store.  Analysts point out that digital information can also drive in-​store sales. This includes product reviews. 85% of Millennials are looking for this information before they make a purchase so retailers need to make sure their websites are up to date.

Retailers have an opportunity to increase sales to Local First Shoppers by appealing to their webrooming tendencies. At least 58% of U.S. adults say they prefer to purchase from a local store if price and product are the same. 46% of these shoppers intend to get an oil change or routine auto service in the next year and make good candidates for targeted promotions from local service providers. While 46% of these consumers have taken action in the last 30 days as a result of a TV ad, about 20% also note that ads at movie theaters and out-​of-​home ads have influenced their actions.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to Ad-​ology PRO. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.