Have you ever walked into a store and seen a product you liked, but then instead of buying it there you compared the price and bought it online?
If that is true, then not only are you not alone, but you are one of many contributing to a new trend heavily disrupting retail: "Showrooming."
Essentially, this is the practice of visiting a brick-and-mortar store but giving the real business to the likes of Amazon.com and other online warehouses with considerably cheaper prices, and sometimes no sales tax and/or free shipping to sweeten the deal.
A new study from mobile marketing firm Vibes suggests that the showrooming trend has gone fully mainstream in just one year, arguing that most consumers are doing this thanks to the ease of making price comparisons from mobile apps.
Based on a survey of 1,000 smartphone owners, researchers found that there has been a 156 percent jump with consumers who purchased a product from a competitor while in a retail store.
Furthermore, 44 percent of consumers are said to practice showrooming "frequently," while at least 36 percent utse their mobile devices as aides when shopping in stores than compared to two years ago.
At first glance, this might spell doom for brick-and-mortar retailers. However, there are some lessons to be learned and opportunities to be realized if they act quickly.
Vibes co-founder and CEO Jack Philbin suggested in the report that retailers could tap into another major trend going on in mobile tech: personalization.
The antidote to showrooming is creating contextually relevant and personalized mobile experiences that motivate and influence consumers to take notice and make purchases. If retailers don’t establish personalized mobile strategies, they’ll increasingly face unengaged consumers who will continue to browse in-store and buy online from competitors.
Given that it's already October, retailers would be wise to jump on mobile trends such as targeted ads based on location and personalized offers -- most of which don't seem to be slowing down in popularity just yet.