The Showrooming Phenomenon: It's More than Just About Price
Gensler Sonja, Neslin Scott A., Verhoef Peter C.
This paper examines the factors that influence competitive showrooming, whereby consumers visit an offline retail store to gather information but make their purchase online at a competing retailer. We survey 556 respondents to study how the benefits and costs of showrooming influence the consumer's decision to showroom. Not surprisingly, we find that expected average price savings from showrooming are positively associated with showrooming. In addition, however, the perceived dispersion in online prices is also positively related to showrooming. Moreover, we find that non-price factors play a key role in consumers' showrooming decisions: perceived gains in the quality of the product purchased when showrooming (measured as the fit with a consumer's need) and waiting time for service in the brick-and-mortar store are positively associated with showrooming. Online search costs are negatively related to showrooming. Time pressure that consumers face when shopping is negatively associated with their propensity to showroom. We discuss implications for researchers and retail managers. For example, managers of offline retail stores can curtail showrooming by increasing the number of sales personnel available in-store instead of providing currently employed personnel with more training. To encourage showrooming, managers of online retailers should make it easier for the customer to search online.
Retailing; Showrooming; Internet marketing; Multichannel marketing; Benefits and cost of shopping