Is Showrooming Stealing?

Consumers have been showrooming in retail stores for quite some time now and, while many retailers don’t like it, they’ve pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that it’s going to happen.  However, one surprising argument posted in an article by speaker, trainer and consultant, Bob Phibbs, went so far as to make the claim that showrooming is akin to stealing.

In his article, he explained that while consumers conduct a large part of their research online, they still love to touch, feel and physically look at products, which they cannot do on the Internet. His viewpoint is that retailers spend tons of money to have nice stores, great product displays, staff and inventory. Then they see consumers come in with the express intent to research the product they are interested in, just to leave and buy it for a better price elsewhere, or online.


Along the same line of thought, one disgruntled retailer chose to take this route in attempt to combat showrooming:

Isn’t this being a little small minded about where commerce is truly headed? To be successful in business we must all be willing to change and adapt with the times to some degree, or get left behind.  This extreme measure by the retailer will probably serve to deter more business than it gains. Can you imagine having this in your car dealership? 

Wouldn’t it be better to provide free Wi-Fi, and a great shopping experience and win customers over while they are at your dealership, rather than drive them away with unfriendly business practices?

The fact is that showrooming is here to stay -- it has become a natural part of consumer shopping behavior. Rather than trying to fight it, it perhaps makes more sense to explore ways to embrace it and use it to our advantage.  Think about it, the bottom line is that this practice could actually be driving MORE leads into your dealership, if you’re competitive in the marketplace. Perhaps the point is how you handle these leads once they arrive.