Warc, 5 August 2014
LONDON: While most marketers and retailers are familiar with the online shopping concepts of "showrooming" and "webrooming", recent research suggests that the majority of UK online consumers are now "boomerooming".
According to RedSnapper, an e-commerce consultancy, boomerooming is the habit of researching online, then going to a physical store to touch and check out a product, then going back online to purchase it at the lowest price.
By comparison, showrooming occurs when consumers examine products in-store and then go online to find a cheaper price, while webrooming is the practice of researching products online before buying them in a bricks and mortar store.
RedSnapper said almost two-thirds (62%) of UK consumers are engaged in boomerooming, including 67% of women and 58% of men. Those aged 40-59 are the most likely to take part.
The company said it conducted the research because it wanted to test recent findings from Merchant Warehouse, a Boston-based payment services firm, which said 69% of US smartphone users in the 18-36 age group have webroomed while only 50% have showroomed.
Merchant Warehouse's study was interpreted as good news for retailers because it pointed to consumers still valuing the experience of visiting a physical store.
However, if the latest report proves to be correct, it suggests – as RedSnapper puts it – that consumers "can have their cake and eat it".
"Our research has revealed that consumer trends are more complicated than many experts would have us believe," the report said. "To simply say that more customers are willing to pay increased prices on the high street for the sake of convenience does not seem to be true.
"More consumers are researching products online in the first instance and making the journey to the physical store to see it, touch it and try it for real. Once they're happy, it's back online to seal the deal."
Data sourced from Red Snapper, Adweek; additional content by Warc