Study: Discounts as low as 2.5% sway shoppers to leave stores, purchase online

ST. LOUIS — Forty-five percent of customers shopping in-store at brick-and mortar-locations will walk out and complete their purchase online for a discount as low as 2.5%, according to new showrooming research from GroupM Next.

This number jumps to 60% of shoppers who will leave and purchase a product online for a savings of 5%. When discovering an online discount of 20%, a small percentage of shoppers (13%) stay and complete their purchase in store.

“Consumers have shifted their path to purchase to include the store as a step but not necessarily the final step, and this will likely continue to increase over time. Brands need to think about how showrooming can be used to their advantage to navigate would-be buyers to a checkout location, be it in store or online,” stated GroupM Next CEO Chris Copeland. “Showrooming is a label for a massive consumer behavior shift brought about by the ease of access to information on a mobile device.  Brands that sit on either side, be it as the physical store or the online merchant, have multiple opportunities with this consumer change.” 

Showrooming defines a significant shift in consumer behavior impacting the health of both brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce retailers. It is the new habit of consumers conducting price comparisons on a mobile device while in store, leaving the store and completing their purchase online. 

The study “Showrooming & The Price Of Keeping Buyers In-Store” was conducted to take a close look at the influencing factors of showrooming and to identify the tipping point at which the difference between an in-store and online price is large enough to lure shoppers out of stores. With such insights into this new trend – one that is likely here to staybrands can better target this segment of shoppers and capture their business online or at the checkout counter, according to GroupM Next.

For this study, 1,000 shoppers in the United States were surveyed and presented with multiple hypothetical showrooming scenarios for 10 products at varying price points spanning multiple retail categories. Data highlights, as reported in the whitepaper on the research, include: 

  • 44% of consumers use a mobile device to influence their purchase decision when shopping in-store;
  • If the price difference in-store versus online is more than $5 most customers will leave;
  • The average showroomer profile includes females who are younger in age and make frequent online purchases; Alternately, the profile of the shopper who can be most swayed to stay and complete a purchase in store is older male, 55% of whom buy online one time per month
  • Customers who interact with an associate are 12.5% more likely to purchase in-store.

 “Finding only a small price difference elsewhere using a mobile device is enough to entice a shopper to leave the store and buy online. By employing strategies to reach this massive audience segment, brands can significantly bolster their sales at the register or take advantage of their showrooming and effectively get the sale via a branded app or online property,” noted GroupM Next director of research Patrick  Monteleone. “However, nearly 10% of purchasers we surveyed chose to complete their purchase in store, no matter the price discount offered. The key for marketers is to identify the next 10%: the group of customers that are sensitive to price but can be swayed to stay in-store.” 


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