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'Showrooming' Shopping Poses Challenges for Retailers

m-commerce . / Credit: Mobile Shopping Image via Shutterstock

Nearly half of all price-conscious shoppers will leave a store to shop online if they know they can save even a few dollars, a new study finds.

The research from GroupM Next revealed that 45 percent of customers shopping at brick-and-mortar locations will walk out and complete their purchase online for a discount as low as 2.5 percent. For a 5 percent savings, the survey showed 60 percent would leave to shop online.

Labeled as "showrooming," this new shopping trend is being driven by the ease in which consumers have access to information via their mobile phones.

"Consumers have shifted their path to purchase to include the store as a step, but not necessarily the final step," GroupM Next CEO Chris Copeland said. "Brands need to think about how showrooming can be used to their advantage to navigate would-be buyers to a checkout location, be it in-store or online."

The study found that 44 percent of consumers use a mobile device to influence their purchase decision when shopping in-store. In addition, if the price difference between in-store and online is more than $5, most shoppers will leave.

The research shows the average showroomer profile includes females who are younger in age and make online purchases frequently, while the shoppers who can be most swayed to stay and complete a purchase in-store are older males. Overall, customers who interact with an associate are 12.5 percent more likely to purchase in-store, according to the study.

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"Finding only a small price difference elsewhere using a mobile device is enough to entice a shopper to leave the store and buy online," Patrick Monteleone, GroupM Next director of research, said. "By employing strategies to reach this massive audience segment, brands can significantly bolster their sales at the register or take advantage of their showrooming and effectively get the sale via a branded app or online property."

While the survey found that nearly 10 percent of shoppers chose to complete their purchase in-store, no matter the price discount offered, Monteleone said the key for marketers is identify the next 10 percent, those that are sensitive to price, but can be swayed to stay in-store.

The study, "Showrooming & The Price Of Keeping Buyers In-Store," was based on surveys of 1,000 U.S. shoppers.

Follow Chad Brooks on Twitter @cbrooks76 or BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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