Showrooming: The New Way to Shop

Smartphone users utilizing their devices to compare prices in-store versus online.

By Brenda Hill on January 13, 2014

Showrooming, where shoppers visit stores and compare prices to what’s available online, ultimately buying the item from the online vendor, has become quite a trend. According to Gigaom, almost 60 percent of smartphone users showroom.

When you consider that this past holiday season, more than 70 percent of smartphone owners used at least one shopping app, one-third of smartphone owners ages 18-34 purchased gifts from their phones, and 41 percent of shoppers used a tablet to buy their holiday gifts, it is easy to see how quickly showrooming is becoming ingrained in our collective mobile lifestyle.

Price Check by Amazon is a showrooming app that uses the smartphone’s camera to scan the barcode to find the lowest price on Amazon and to compare pricing. Users can also type or speak the name of the item to the app to find matches.

Another Amazon app, Flow, price-checks by taking a picture of the item and then superimposing the price of the item on the picture. This app is helpful for first-time showroomers who may be hesitant to blatantly scan items in the store or for those trying to be subtle.

Alternatively, eBay lovers and shoppers accustomed to bidding for the lowest price may be interested in the RedLaser app. The app scans the bar code of the item and searches both Amazon and eBay to find the lowest price. As the name implies, it uses a “red laser” to scan the item, just like a store price checker.

No longer will customers have to live with buyer’s remorse. Showrooming offers shoppers the assurance that they receive the best price for each purchase.

Have you ever showroomed? Let us know on Twitter at @VZWnews or @VZWBrenda.

This article is part of a series on retail trends in advance of the 2014 National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention being held in New York.