9 ideas to take advantage of reverse showroom


Some of you might have heard of a phenomenon called reverse showroom (or webrooming); the consumer behaviour of researching a product online before purchasing it in-store. Unfortunately, in many cases the wrong store from your business point of view.

Reverse showrooming must not be underestimated. Opposite to what you may think it actually is more common than the other way around. According to a 2013 Harris Poll survey, 69% of 2000 American adults tried reverse showrooming and only 46% engaged in the regular one. Another 2013 survey concluded that more people were into reverse showrooming than its direct opposite. Also in-store shoppers tend to spend more money than online shoppers. 30 bucks actually (204$ vs. 174$). It turns out that avoiding shipping costs, the easy return of unwanted goods and simply being able to touch the products (still) have a massive influence on the choices of the consumers.

Below you’ll find 9 ideas giving you the upper hand in reverse showroom retailing

  1. Offer free Wi-fi in the store and let the customer use his smartphone onsite to access a company app providing him with user comments, more product information and perhaps a discount code.
  1. Make it possible for the customer to buy stuff online in the physical store. Provide the employees with tablets containing information of all the products and let it be known that all items can be purchased right off the screen.
  1. In many cases filling your wardrobe online is the cheaper way, making aforementioned examples worth trying, but don’t forget to make your in-store customers aware of the joys of not having to pay for shipping.
  1. Also touching the items and actually feeling the fabrics is somewhat of a USP – if your competition is only online. So why not mention this in your catalogues? And while your at it inform the customers of the ancient pleasure of returning an item to the store by simply stopping by and handing it over for cash. This is old skool 2.0
  1. Another thing also worth mentioning is always having (enough) products in the physical store. Studies from Harvard show that customers tend to go elsewhere if their desired items are sold out.
  1. Yes, we’re talking physical stores, but don’t forget that insights into online consumer behaviour can help you increase your revenue and at the same create the illusion that you see eye to eye with the Internet’s finest; The Pinterest users. Retail Company Nordstrom arranged its in-store displays based on the top items pinned on Pinterest. This is a fine way of showing key customers that you are where they are.
  1. Educate your employees even better. Make the customers understand that showing up in the physical store will give them an even better explanation than the one they might read online. A 2013 Deloitte survey showed that half of respondents said knowledgeable in-store staff would make them more likely to buy in-store.
  1. Competitive prices is of most importance
  1. A wise man once said, “The customer is always right”, and he wasn’t wrong. Well, there might have been one or two occasions, but to really get the attention of the consumers, you have to become them. You have to be where they are and provide them with what they have come to know and love in their young lives. If the customer wants free Wi-Fi, he should have it. If she wants the exact same item as the one she saw online, this should always be available.

Whatever you do, you need to consider that you customers don’t think in silos and that the distinction between offline and online is somewhat challenged these days. Reverse showrooming underlines that tendency.