'Showrooming' Becoming Bigger Threat to Retailers

Showrooming Accenture study shows consumers research products in person but then buy online—often somewhere else

Nearly three-fourths of consumers ages 20 to 40 in the U.S and the UK use mobile devices in retail stores to compare prices, but most of them leave before actually making a purchase at the store, according to a recent Accenture Interactive study of 2,000 consumers in the two countries.

The Accenture Interactive survey set out to determine what shopping channels are used most frequently, how consumers move between channels, how social media influences purchasing decisions and the value consumers place on price, privacy and personalized shopping experiences.

More than half—52 percent—of those surveyed believe that in-store prices are higher than online prices. While 60 percent say that online prices entice them to visit a store where they can compare prices and view merchandise in person, 48 percent still go home to buy the products from that retailer online, but 32 percent buy products online from a different retailer. And only about 20 percent make their final purchase in-store.

“The showrooming trend can pose a threat to retailers, given that nearly a third of our respondents make their final online purchases with other stores,” says Baiju Shah, the Managing Director of Strategy and Innovation for Accenture Interactive.

“But consumers don’t want to shop online exclusively and our work with retailers shows that physical stores don’t have to compete on price alone but rather focus on the whole experience. Retailers need to create a seamless, multi-channel experience that blends the digital and physical, and delivers convenience, price and relevance.”

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