Showrooming and its effects on retail businesses

The word showrooming describes a major problem faced by retailers in recent years. It means that customers are merely browsing at retail outlets (including touching, feeling, or even trying it out), and then going back home to purchase the products online at much cheaper prices. That is, customers treat the retail store as a showroom to view and try products before they buy it elsewhere.

The book retailing industry is most affected by the showrooming problem. Locally, big stores like Borders and Page One, and smaller ones like Clementi Bookstore and Computer Book Centre, had succumbed to rising rents and also showrooming problems.

Does showrooming mark the end of physical book stores? Not necessary. Essentially, book stores need another sales channel of distributing their books. They need to innovate beyond what they are currently doing, and not just be stuck in their own stores. They need to provide more value to their customers in order to gain competitive advantage.

So far, major players such as Kinokuniya, Times, MPH and Popular have been well-supported by their online storefronts. Even Computer Book Centre closed down its Funan DigitalLife Mall outlet and become a full-fledged online book store.

Showrooming can affect many other retail industries too, such as computer software and hardware, movies, music, toys, clothings, sports, etc. Instead of viewing it as a challenge, why not embrace it?


Are you affected by showrooming problem? We can help you to embrace this problem, and turn it to become your advantage. Contact Shaun Lee today!