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Webrooming

Webrooming is a specific buying behavior in which the consumer researches information about certain products or services on the World Wide Web in order to then buy them in stationary retail. In this way, the customer obtains information on current market prices in online shops or comparison portals, for example, but then buys the item offline.

General information on webrooming

Webrooming is a trend. More and more consumers are searching the World Wide Web for information on a particular product, only to try it out and buy it offline. According to a recent study by the Leipzig Graduate School of Management, this trend is based on the fact that consumers see certain advantages in both online and offline commerce.

Internet retail can score points in particular with the following criteria:

  • Selection
  • Price
  • Delivery convenience

Stationary trade is characterized by the following advantages:

  • direct availability
  • advice
  • Possibility to test the product

In terms of price advantage, however, brick-and-mortar retail has partially caught up in recent years, so that large price differences hardly exist anymore. For example, in certain industries such as electronics retailing, there are often large discount campaigns that allow brick-and-mortar retailers to catch up with online retailers in terms of price. In many cases, offline retailers also operate their own online shops, to which explicit reference is made in stationary retail. The trend of webrooming has increased significantly in the last few years and can be seen in a constant way across all sectors.

Approaches for combining online and offline retailing

In order to remain competitive in the digital age, many retailers now offer a“shopping experience” that combines online and offline commerce. In the following, we look at some of the measures that can be used to successfully implement such combinations of online and offline shops.

These are services that are able to detect the consumer’s mobile location and promote it, for example, with push messages to stationary offers in their vicinity. In LBS, digital coupon delivery is also often used to motivate consumers to visit a store.
In online retail, a common approach is to use emails or text messages to alert so-called “shopping cart abandoners” that they can view, try, and purchase the unpurchased items they left in their digital shopping cart at a brick-and-mortar retailer.
For example, a loyalty program can be based on a loyalty card that captures all purchase data directly on the POS terminal. This data is then used for communication in the online shop, among other things. The customer should be enabled to collect points in both the online and offline shop as part of a loyalty program.
By using interactive POS terminals, the customer also has the opportunity to search for additional online offers within the stationary store and can thus be motivated to make suitable up- and cross-sales.

Is webrooming recommendable?

Webrooming is a trend and is taking on ever greater proportions, so that online shops are increasingly setting up stationary stores in order to optimally cover this market segment as well. The increase in webrooming also has strategic implications for online retail. For the younger generation of consumers in particular, switching between online and offline retailing is now a matter of course. For retailers’ marketing, this means responding to the switching behavior of the new generation of shoppers with new and innovative strategies.


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