Webrooming on the Rise & an Understanding of What It Is

Over the past few years, showrooming has raised concerns for small businesses. Showrooming is the fear that the informed smartphone-toting consumer will browse in store, then quickly search for price comparisons online, causing independent retail stores to lose sales to a lower-priced online competitor. But not to worry! Recent studies prove the power of online marketing can actually help reverse this practice in a new phenomenon called webrooming.

What is Webrooming?

Webrooming is reverse-showrooming, meaning customers will do their research online, but ultimately buy products offline or in-store. Studies show the shopper uses online resources to stay informed before planning a shopping trip. But they prefer the experience of shopping in a local brick-and-mortar and appreciate the conveniences of getting to touch/try on the product along with avoiding shipping fees and wait times.

Best Practices
Take full advantage of webrooming with these helpful tips:
  • Showcase your merchandise online. Sell online or simply feature an online showroom. Keep your website up-to-date with merchandise that is currently available in store and remember to list product details and prices.
  • Be consistent. Be proactive and alert shoppers of new arrivals, restocked items and merchandise selling fast. Post this information to social networks at least once a day to stay top of mind.
  • Hire and train expert employees. Deliver an impeccable shopping experience. Webroomers get the basic details online, but seek your advice and industry expertise when visiting your store. Educate your staff on the latest trends and encourage them to develop strong relationships with your loyal shoppers.
  • Offer exclusive in-store incentives. Drive more traffic in store with flash sales or selected products only available offline.
  • Provide local pickup for online orders. If you also sell online, give local shoppers an option to pick the item up in-store instead of having to wait/pay for it to ship.
  • Host special events at your boutique. Make your store a destination. Schedule First Friday events, open houses or late-night ladies nights.
Additional Resource

Dive into the stats with this beautiful infographic from Merchant Warehouse.


Article written by Courtney Rodgers, co-founder of Boutique Window, a company founded in August 2012 with a focus on helping local retailers succeed online. 

Photo Credits: Photo Courtesy of Boutique Window and provided with permission to use.

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