Showrooming

It’s no secret that smartphones have changed our shopping experiences exponentially. We can use our mobile device as a method of payment, take pictures to remember products we like, scan QR codes to find details and reviews on just about anything, and it also gives the ability for “showrooming.” Showrooming is the practice of customers trying on and browsing in a store, then purchasing the items for cheaper prices on the Internet.

Now let’s admit, we’re all guilty of having done it at one point. According to NY-based L2 Think Tank, 82% of shoppers engage in showrooming. We’re not saying that it’s right or wrong, but brick-and-mortar stores are not happy about it. No store wants their staff to waste their time on the sales floor with customers that have no intention of purchasing, even if they find something they like and intend to buy, which is why some retail stores (shoe stores, in particular) are beginning to charge shoppers try-on fees.

The try-on fees are a way for retail stores to combat showrooming while still managing to make a small profit. The fees generally range anywhere from $5 to $25 dollars. We understand the problem showrooming is costing the brick-and-mortar stores, but couldn’t this all be solved if the stores managed to match online prices? Stores such as Target have begun matching Amazon prices in all locations, which could ultimately be a real game changer in the end. If that were to happen, customers would be getting the in-store experience with online prices, not to mention instant gratification and no shipping fees.

We want to hear what you think. Would you be willing to pay to try on shoes?

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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  • laura

    No

  • http://www.facebook.com/petra.brankovska Petra B.

    This is ridiculous. Why should I pay!? The point of trying on shoes is to see whether they fit, are they comfortable enough etc. If they aren’t, I am one starbucks short, and I don’t like that.

  • shuzluva

    Which retailers are beginning to charge shoppers to try on shoes?

  • AAAA

    This would be especially unfair if you actually bought a pair of shoes from the location. I don’t think this is a good way to encourage customers and sales.

  • shueaddict

    Well, my little corner of Europe has decided to go the other way. In good stores they serve you tea or coffee while you try things on. We do have a high end store – they serve you champagne while you try fabulous shoes and frocks – there’s nothing like a little bubbly to convince a girl she really really really needs that 7th pair of flimsy sole, suede shoes .

  • Kate B

    It’s unrealistic to expect brick and mortar stores to match the prices of online stores which do not have overhead costs such as rent and staffing.

  • PropaFly

    No freaking way would I pay a try-on fee…what business model are they trying to emulate? A hood wig shop? Seems like a short sighted way to cheapen both the goods and the experience.

  • jennasside.com

    i’ve worked at major retail locations in NYC for years, this is truly an issue but high-end contemporary designers with storefronts often have a price match policy for friends and family sales at nordstroms, neimans, bloomies, saks, etc…please ask about price matching before you waste a sales associate’s time! most of us work on commission and don’t need our hopes dashed any more than the slow economy does already ..

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