The opposite of showrooming (purchasing an item in a physical store after conducting research about it online) has been dubbed by retail observers as webrooming. However, according to a new poll conducted by Accenture, 65% of consumers said they would browse holiday purchases online that they would ultimately buy in person at a store. A slightly smaller proportion (62%) said they would partake in showrooming.
Consumers are drawn to webrooming as a way to avoid shipping costs, fulfill their need for immediate gratification, and avoid some of the guesswork related to purchasing something they can’t physically touch and inspect in person. And because a growing number of brick-and-mortar-based retailers are now willing to match prices on identical items with Amazon and other major e-retailers, shoppers can enjoy the best of both worlds via webrooming: they take advantage of the online reviews, research and low prices offered by Amazon and the Web, as well as the convenience, service, expediency and tangibility of the real-world shopping experience.
The group of consumers that appears most interested in webrooming is also the group that has grown up with online shopping. Research indicates that webrooming is far more popular than showrooming among millennials. In one survey, carried out by ULI and Lachman Associates, 50% of millennials said they prefer buying in stores after doing research online, as opposed to only 11% who indicated they like buying online after checking out goods in real stores.
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