But retailers can turn this to their advantage with connected retail
According to new research by EE, almost half of British consumers are regularly practicing ’showrooming,’ That’s when people use a mobile device – such as a smartphone or a tablet, to check for the best prices whilst in-store. The research shows over 20 million consumers (equivalent to 44 per cent of total shoppers) now visit physical stores to browse products while using mobile devices to find the best deals online. To help retailers turn showrooming to their advantage, EE now provides a fully managed branded public Wi-fi service in-store as part of its ‘Connected Retail’ proposition.
The EE findings also show that consumers feel let down by limited product availability in shops, as 77 per cent of people prefer to browse products ranges online rather than in retailers’ physical shops.
People now prefer to buy products online where possible, and 88 per cent always research the best deals online before they buy anything.
“Our research shows the practice of showrooming isn’t going away, but it also presents a significant omni-channel opportunity for retailers,” observed Agata Laight, senior propositions manager for connected retail at EE.
She continued, “John Lewis has turned the trend to its advantage by introducing a mobile app that encourages customers to use their device to get additional information on products in-store, by providing free Wi-Fi and by offering price promises.”
Laight argues that by doing this, John Lewis is building loyalty with its customers so they’re more likely to buy from them, whether in-store or online.
Consequently, mobile now accounts for 40 per cent of John Lewis’ customer traffic, she claims.
EE’s research is built from an online survey of 2,000 UK consumers conducted by Vision Critical during March .
The number of shoppers is based on a UK adult population (over 18 years old) of 50,180,800 according to ONS Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2012 ( see here.)
Demographically, the trend is most popular with young people – 53 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds say they showroom while out shopping.
London is the UK’s most active location for showrooming, with 51 per cent of residents admitting to the practice.
That’s probably because Oxford Street leads world in Wi-fi according to Devicescape.
Also GoMo News suspects that many smart mobile device owners are using an app such as Udozi (now available on Android not just iOS) to search for items ins hops near them.