Dec 21, 2021
Over half (53 percent) of Walmart shoppers made an Amazon purchase within a day of shopping in-store at Walmart, compared to 38 percent of both Target and Costco shoppers, according to a study from Numerator.
The findings come from Numerator’s TruView consumer panel that measures market share across in-store, online and emerging retail channels. The study aims to “quantify the showrooming effect,” or when a consumer heads to a store to see and touch the merchandise, only to purchase at a competitor online, often at a lower price.
Other key findings from the report:
- Amazon crossover is substantial: Roughly three-quarters of major retailers’ shoppers also shop at Amazon.
- Target has the largest opportunity to capture lost day-of sales: By preventing leaked same-day trips to Amazon, Target has the potential to capture 10.3 percent in incremental sales, followed by Walmart (+7.2 percent) and Costco (+4.7 percent).
- General merchandise items make up the majority of “leaked” sales to Amazon. The top four leaked categories (Home and Garden, Electronics, Health and Beauty, and Apparel) accounted for over half of all leaked dollars at each retailer.
Scores of articles in the early part of the 2010s warned of the threat of showrooming to physical retailing, but any losses of in-store sales to online competitors were eventually seen being offset by the opposite practice of webrooming (shopping online, purchasing in-store).
Still, showrooming does happen. A 2019 study from Conversant found 78 percent of Millennials and Gen-Z shop both in-store and online simultaneously and are 34 percent more likely than older customers to use a mobile device in a store.
Tactics to reduce showrooming include price-matching and emphasizing a multi-channel offering. It is also recommended that retailers try to deliver a more sensory experience, enhance in-store mobile engagement and ease checkout friction in order to make the in-store experience less transactional and discourage price-comparison shopping.
A study co-authored by Marshall Fisher, Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions, concluded that knowledgeable associates are a primary arsenal against showrooming. He told Knowledge@Wharton, “I think customers often times don’t intend to showroom, but end up shopping online because they get better information online than they’re getting in the store.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: At this point, is showrooming a major, minor or non-existent problem for retailers? What measures help reduce or best leverage the practice in stores?
“I wouldn’t classify it as a problem – it’s the cost of doing business these days. While consumers do compare prices (which is easier online), people also cross-shop in general”