Here at Irish Titan we’re hosting the upcoming Ecomm Forum, and have been thinking a lot about it. The focus for the event is the increasingly seamless connection between digital transactions and real life experiences. In that vein, one of the things I keeping mulling over when it comes to the changing face of retail, and what it means for brick and mortars, is “webrooming.”
Webrooming is the opposite of showrooming, so let’s quickly define both before getting to the heart of the matter here.
Showrooming is when a customer uses a retail business as a - you guessed it - showroom. Products are viewed in person only to be purchased online later, whether at that same retailer or not. Webrooming on the other hand is when a customer views items online in order to better understand product options, view pricing, and plan future in-store purchases.
It’s interesting how the concept of webrooming, which to me makes intuitive sense (and I could reference studies but please don’t make me, mmkay!), turns some of the classic brick and mortar concerns on their head. You know how the argument goes: People are in physical stores looking at their phones! They’re basically already shopping elsewhere!
That gets turned around, though, in the omnichannel context. Today, instead of fearing the channel they’re not in, successful businesses look to capitalize on the multifaceted approach to shopping the typical consumer takes. Providing consistent and beneficial online and retail experiences, without treating them as wholly separate, only helps to solidify the brand relationship and foster opportunities for future growth.
In short, the once clean and simple consumer journey is a mess these days. A beautiful mess.