Showrooming vs. Webrooming Why your retail business should be online and offline

Every business has their own personality – they are as different as the people that run them.

They each have their own ways of operating that make them successful. Some are brick and mortar stores that have established a loyal client base that keep coming back for their great customer service. Others are successful online retailers that carry the latest fashion trends at great prices. Whatever the competitive angle each business is striving for, in order to continue to grow they must keep up with their customers’ changing shopping styles.

Shoppers have a huge variety of places to buy fashion, but if it’s a more expensive item most will do some research online and offline to compare prices, and to better understand the item: the exact shade or size for example. But even though you can browse in one place, where you make you purchase may be different. A shopper that goes to a physical store to try on a dress but then buys it online is using the store as their showroom. There are also a lot of people that check out items online and buy them in a physical store. This is called webrooming

Webrooming is when a customer goes online to look at a product but ultimately buys it at the shop. Lots of people pull out their smartphone while they’re in the store to compare prices or learn more about the brand. But if they’re not already in the store why would someone check out the item on amazon, then choose to the shop down the street and probably pay more?

Lots of reasons. Customers in fashion want to try on the item, feel the fabric, or see the quality of the leather. Others are bothered by shipping, they don’t want to pay extra for it then wait for their package to arrive, or risk an inaccurate shipment. People will also visit a store’s website to check for availability of sizing or color before they make a trip to the store. Customers will go to local store because they enjoy the shopping experience, it can be an event that makes them feel special by attentive sales people and they come out of the store with their purchase in beautiful packaging.

Showrooming on the other hand happens when the customer checks out the item then decides to buy it online. Reasons for showrooming are usually due to pricing.

So how do you turn these differing shopping styles into sales for your store?

Integrate the shopping experience between your online and offline stores

  • Make it possible for customers to google your store, check out your available stock, and be smartphone friendly.
  • Make it an experience to come into your store: encourage webroomers to your location by having helpful sales staff, attractive décor and packaging.
  • Both shopping channels should have the same policies for returns and exchanges, and allow online purchases to be returned to your physical store.
  • Don’t add extra charges for shipping – integrate these costs into your pricing because it will discourage online shoppers if they have to pay extra.
  • Make it easy for showroomers to find you online by being on their favorite social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Link these back to your website.
  • If you don’t have wifi in your store you should! It encourages in-store product researching while your customer can see the item in front of them.
  • Offer webroomers coupons to shop at your store, and you can give promotional codes for your online store to the people that visit your location.


If you’re a brick and mortar store but not ready to sell online you can still get noticed by webroomers: create a business website that you update regularly with current stock, photos, prices and how to find you. The key is for your business to be where your customer base is researching.

If you’re an online store there are many ways to take advantage of temporary spaces to try out physical retail without the commitment of a lease – check out my last blog at

As a retailer you need to embrace the shopping styles of your customers, make your presence integrated online and offline, so you can help your customers learn more about your products, while maximizing the chance they will come back to you for their purchase.


retail business

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