A short while ago, I wrote a post about a GalleyCat article, in which they discussed ways that retailers might be able to combat "showrooming," the practice of shopping in brick and mortar stores to gain information and make a decision before heading online to price compare between hundreds, if not thousands, of retailers.
It is definitely very true that the retail landscape has changed with the advent of the smartphone; I don't personally believe that all consumers practice "showrooming," nor do I believe that all "showrooming" is bad (what if your online price happens to be the lowest, and that the consumer then purchases from you? Upon discovering your low online price, the customer would then be more likely to check your siteor storefirst, and possibly make a purchase without comparing prices, armed with the knowledge that you will indeed have the lowest prices). That said, the practice can be (and has been) damaging to many stores. Is it possible, as GalleyCat suggests, to fight the practice?
In the September 20, 2013 issue of Shelf Awareness Today, there is information regarding a study done by Columbia Business School/Aimia that studied the shopping patterns and motivations of 3,000 "leading-edge" consumers from the US, the UK, and Canada. While the study is not limited to publishing, what they found was a bit surprising, and the study's aim was to show retailers "concrete steps they can take to entice consumers armed with mobile devices to make purchases inside their store walls." So, instead of fighting the practice of "showrooming," perhaps we should instead be helping our "mobile-assisted" shoppers in their research, so that they can be assured that they are getting the best product, at the best value, and with the best service, from us. Read the full Shelf Awareness Today article and see the report's key findings.