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Electronic items are among those frequently examined by customers in a retail store prior to their online purchase.

Showrooming is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it, but then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item. Online stores often offer lower prices than their brick and mortar counterparts, because they do not have the same overhead cost.[1] Showrooming can be costly to retailers, not only in terms of the loss of the sale, but also due to damage caused to the store's floor samples of a product through constant examination from consumers.

Showrooming[2] was said to be behind the collapse of UK photography chain Jessops,[3] and Target’s decision to discontinue carrying the Amazon Kindle.[1]

A 2013 survey polled 750 US consumers, 73% of whom[4] responded that they had engaged in the practice of showrooming in the 6 month period prior to the survey.

Combating showrooming[edit]

Many retailers have tried to compete with showroomers by slashing their own prices. Independent businesses, however, are advised to counter showrooming by adding value via included services and other tactics, such as making information and reviews more readily available to customers so that they might not choose to seek it out online.[5]

Some major retailers, such as Target, are attempting to battle showrooming by selling products exclusive to their stores. Walmart is allowing customers to avoid the shipping charges of online purchases by picking up the items in the stores. The same practice is expanding to European countries.

Some speciality fashion stores in the US and Australia have introduced a "fitting fee" for browsing; this is refunded in full if the customer makes a purchase.[3]

Best Buy is employing a unique technique to combat showrooming. Best Buy has guaranteed to match the online price of goods listed on Best Buy is also beginning to lease space out to manufacturers, such as Samsung, to offer the Samsung Experience in-store where customers will be able to view working products then purchase them at the MSRP. [6]


  1. ^ a b "Is 'showrooming' behind Target move to drop Kindle?". 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  2. ^ Statistics about Showrooming in the Retail Environment. Statista. April 4, 2013. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Campbell, Alex (21 April 2013). "The peril of 'showrooming'". BBC News. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Woods, Casey (2012-11-26). "Seven Ways Businesses and Communities Can Fight "Showrooming"". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  6. ^ "Best Buy turns the tables on ‘showrooming’". 2013-04-04. Retrieved 2014-01-28.