As the holidays approach, retailers are busy prepping on a variety of fronts: executing on advertising campaigns, ordering enough stock to accommodate the masses, and planning contingencies to counteract the dreaded phenomenon known as showrooming.

Showrooming is when shoppers stop in your store to see a product in person, then walk out and purchase it elsewhere, whether at another brick-and-mortar store or, more likely, an online retailer.

That consumer practice has increased with the expansion of mobile, leaving retailers competing in their own stores for the attention of digitally savvy consumers who know that Amazon (and free two-day shipping) is always just a few clicks away.

Showrooming Creates Opportunities

Though showrooming sounds like a retailer's nightmare, it is actually an opportunity waiting to be exploited if you understand why showrooming happens and how to respond to consumer needs.

So, why does it happen? What makes consumers leave a store without the product in hand, even when it's exactly what they want?

One big reason (and the most obvious) is price. Who doesn't want the best deal they can get on whatever they're buying? But here's the thing: Though consumers may wish to purchase online, they are more interested in browsing in-store than online, according to a recent Holiday Shopping Survey by PunchTab.

That is not to say customers won't browse online. In fact, the No. 1 reason consumers will use their smartphones this season will be to browse. Consumers will look for coupons and deals, and then they'll walk through your doors to test-drive products, and likely look at their smartphones again while in-store—just to be sure they're getting the best deal out there.

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image of Robyn Hannah

Robyn Hannah is vice-president of PR and Communications at PunchTab, a leading omni-channel engagement and insights platform. 

LinkedIn: Robyn Hannah  

Twitter: @robynhannah