Judging by incomplete data, showrooming can be perceived as a large threat to brick-and-mortar stores. A survey of U.S. consumers found 40% engage in the behavior. However, only 6% of the showroomers defected to competing online sales channels and 83% purchased in-store after searching the internet.
Many consumers consider showrooming a savvy move to ensure they are getting the quality and price they are looking for, and retailers such as Amazon have expanded their options beyond nearby brick-and-mortar stores. The North Face has accepted that and given consumers showrooming tools to instill confidence they are buying the best. The North Face iOS and Android app have a barcode and QR code scanner that retrieve alternative colors and sizes, user reviews, and additional product information. The app enables users to bookmark favorites, has tabs featuring new arrivals and best sellers, and locates nearby stores with geolocation.
The retailer prominently displays its app – featured as a Flash of Genius in L2’s Intelligence Report: Mobile & Tablet – at entryways of stores. Instead of fighting showrooming with tactics such as covering barcodes, The North Face is inserting its voice in the consumer’s search.