The internet and mobile communications have done wonders for commerce and for many individual industries, but the retail sector is growing increasingly frustrated by a trend known as “showrooming.” Shoppers will go to traditional, physical store locations to look at and test products, then either buy them online or seek out the cheapest retail outlet nearby to make their final purchase. It’s a phenomenon that has been having major impacts for big-box technology retailers, most recently Best Buy.
However, recent research covered by eMarketer indicates that there might be hope for retailers stuck in this cycle. eMarketer cites Cisco research from late 2011 and Deloitte research from March 2012 indicating that shoppers who begin their purchase process by via mobile research are actually 14% more likely to make an in-store purchase. Deloitte’s research in particular indicated that 72% of shoppers who used a smartphone while in-store on their last store visit actually completed their purchase process while at the brick and mortar store.
Deloitte’s research also indicated that, according to the eMarketer article, “the in-store conversion rate for shoppers who used a retailer’s own app or site was 20% higher than for those who used an app belonging to another business, such as an aggregator like shopkick.” This would certainly seem to indicate that retailers putting effort into creating streamlined, information-rich, user-friendly apps to act as companions throughout the buying process may help stem the “showrooming” tide that many real-world retailers are experiencing today.