Survey: Best Buy And Walmart Are Most Popular Stores For Showrooming

For the two of you unfamiliar with the term, “showrooming” is the practice of going to a bricks-and-mortar retailer to get an eyes-on experience with a product before ultimately buying it online. A new study confirms what many of us had already assumed — that the practice isn’t relegated to holiday shopping, that price-matching is probably the only way to curb it, and that many showroomers just don’t like dealing with retail employees.

WHERE PEOPLE SHOWROOM
Considering that electronics purchases are frequently less expensive online than they are in-store, it’s probably not a surprise that the nation’s largest electronics retailer is also the most popular among showroomers.

According to a new survey from the folks at Harris Interactive, 23% of respondents who said they had showroomed listed Best Buy as the bricks-and-mortar store they most frequently showroomed at (not do be confused with “shroomed” at, as that’s a completely different audio/visual experience). Walmart was #2 on that list, with 21% of respondents saying Big W was the place they did the most showrooming. Target, the only other retailer in double-digit percentages, was third with 12%.

While some retailers have claimed that showrooming was a practice that was mostly done during the holidays, the Harris survey shows that showroomers are year-round bargain-hunters, as percentages remained virtually unchanged between Nov. 2012 and March 2013.

WHERE THEY ULTIMATELY BUY
The biggest non-shock of the survey is the online retailer that gets the most business out of showrooming. That would be Amazon, which received 57% of all business from people who first went to the store to check out a possible purchase.

That number is even higher for shoppers who did their showrooming at Best Buy, Walmart, and Target. 66% of customers who had showroomed at Best Buy ended up buying on Amazon, compared with only 12% who ultimately purchased from BestBuy.com. Even more Walmart showroomers turned to Amazon, with 69% of these respondents doing their purchasing at the huge e-tailer, while only 8% used Walmart’s website.

Target had the highest showroomer-to-Amazon-shopper rate at 72%. And in spite of that store’s exclusives, only 8% of these showroomers ended up shopping at Target.com. That’s a smaller number than the 9% of Target showroomers who bought what they needed through eBay.

CUSTOMER DISSERVICE
Some retailers, most notably Best Buy, have pushed the expertise of their sales staff as a reason to shop in-store, but it seems like a majority of shoppers don’t want any help. 59% of respondents agreed that they would rather use their smartphones to search for information about a product than ask a salesperson for help. Only 39% of people in the survey disagreed.

PRICE-MATCHING
There is some good news for retailers willing to try price-matching of online retailers. Nearly 6-in-10 showroomers said they would be more likely to buy in the store if it matched online prices.

Another thing that stores may want to push even further is online ordering and same-day delivery or pick-up. 86% of respondents said the ability to get their purchase on the same day is a deciding factor in whether they buy online or at a retail location, and 93% of people who said they had tried online order/in-store pick-up were satisfied with the process.