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ShowRooming - Researching In The Shop But Buying Online

by Jo Shaer, on September 25, 2013

showrooming ShowRooming

I had not come across the term ShowRooming before but enjoyed this interesting article by eConsultancy. ShowRooming is the action of researching (or trying) products by visiting a local store and then actually buying online.

The effects of showrooming?

A friend of mine had a baby shop on a local high street. It eventually went into liquidation. Apart from the astronomical business rates, the main reason for this was that prospective parents would come into her shop to try pushchairs and prams and, whilst in the store, research the cheapest vendor on their mobile phones. Invariably it would seem to be cheaper online. So away they would go.

Some would return a few months later when the product did not meet expectations or had malfunctioned and then try to return the goods to her! They could not understand that, if they did not have one of her receipts, she was not liable to deal with their problems. Especially when it was going to cost her money to send things back to the manufacturer.

And she was not alone in experiencing this type of behaviour. A local television and hifi outlet regularly has people trying to return small electrical items that they have purchased via a large online retailer - because they are the local registered stockist of such products.

Why Showrooming is not always a good idea

What consumers don't seem to realise is that things may seem a little more expensive when you buy them locally, but you have the convenience of being able to take them back to the shop if things go wrong. It's here that customer service really kicks in.

What you don't realise when you purchase that massive tv either online or from a major electrical superstore is the extra mile that your local store is prepared to go when it comes to setting it up with your existing system and dealing with any faults. Will the online supplier sit down and explain how the buttons on the remote control work?

So, I asked the lovely David Hughes of HB Electrical to tell me some reasons why people should buy a television from his store in Leigh-on-Sea rather than an online provider.

1) On line providers only offer a 1 year warranty
2) Don't just look at the warranty offer - it may be all parts and labour but what are their call out charges?
3) If your TV is wall-mounted, will they take it off the wall to inspect or do you have to do it.
4) If your product needs repairing, do they collect FOC (free of charge) or do you have to take it to them? Remember, if you use carriage to return it, how much would it cost to use a carrier company both ways, lets say for a 42" TV? And don't forget to insure it for damage.
5) Do they offer standard install and set up charges? If so, what do you actually get offered as part of that charge? Extra charges may apply just to reconnect your existing equipment.
6) Damaged pixels? Check what they call "within tolerance".
7) B Grade - Is it really brand new or a returned piece of equipment from someone else.
8) Is it fake? It may have a "branded" label but there are scammers selling online.
9) Are you being offered the right advice for you rather than for profit?

The internet only promotes cheap prices as their selling tool. If i was buying a £1000+ TV or sound system, I would want to consider all of the above. We have seen many examples over the years where cheap up front ended up costing a fortune.

My rant to could go on as we have seen on many occasions the hidden charges/extras that people end up paying when it seemed that, on the face of it, they were getting a great deal.

The ticket price is not always the end of the story.

Speaking to another local electrical retailer last year, I learned more about keeping trade local. Just because it seems to be cheaper online, you really need to examine model numbers closely. In many cases, you are about to purchase an inferior online version of the appliance you are looking at in store. It may well not have the same functions. That's why it is cheaper.

So, there you have it. Showrooming is not the same as shopping around because you will not be comparing like with like. In terms of the actual product or customer service.

Keep trade local.

Topics:Small BusinessMobile PhonesWomen and Small BusinessCustomer Services

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