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96% Of Consumers Plan To ‘Showroom’ More Frequently

Smartphones are expected to be key shopping companions during this holiday season, with shoppers using their mobile devices to hunt for deals, compare prices and investigate product and competitive information at home and in store aisles. The concept of “mobile showrooming” will play an even greater role in consumers’ in-store browsing and buying behaviors during 2013 and beyond, according to new research released by Aprimo and conducted by Harris Interactive.

To better understand the magnitude of showrooming, Harris Interactive surveyed 2,025 U.S. online adults from October 16 to 18, 2012, about their intentions to use their smartphones while in a physical store to investigate purchasing alternatives. The Aprimo Showrooming Survey 2012 revealed that only one in five brick-and-mortar consumers currently showroom. Of this group, 33% said they typically use pricing information to purchase from a retail competitor.

However, showrooming is expected to grow exponentially in the future, with 96% of respondents saying they plan to use their smartphone to research prices more often.

The types of products consumers showroom most frequently are:

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  • Consumer electronics (39%);
  • Groceries (37%); and
  • Apparel/footwear (33%).

“This research confirms what many in the retail industry have suspected: Showrooming is here to stay,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Mulpuru assisted Aprimo in developing survey questions and analyzing results.

While many retailers are striving to battle the showroom phenomenon, others are meeting the trend head-on by leveraging compelling strategies to drive in-store purchases.

Among the array of retail opportunities available, the tactics shoppers respond to most favorably, according to the survey, include:

  • Price matching (57%);
  • Personalized coupons (36%);
  • Loyalty points (30%); and
  • Better customer service in stores (29%).

“The opportunity here is to leverage technology and common sense, and shift to a customer-centric value proposition through better service, smarter timing and relevant offers,” said Marc Schroeder, VP of Industry Solutions at Aprimo. “Retailers need new ways to build loyalty and brand value. Brick-and-mortar retailers will not win in the long run by focusing only on price matching.”

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