“Showrooming,” the practice in which consumers check out merchandise in a physical store and then buy it at a cheaper price online, is the bane of brick-and-mortar retailers everywhere. It’s got to be extra insulting when customers use a smartphone to shop around while they’re inside the store. Increasingly, though, retailers are battling back against showrooming by mimicking showrooming, encouraging shoppers to whip out their smartphones right in the store aisles.
To try to put an end to showrooming, retailers have rolled out apps, mobile-shopping tools, and online features that operate a lot like showrooming. The main difference is that the tools offered by retailers steer sales back to the physical store or its website, rather than a competitor such as Amazon. And usually, the price-cutting giant that is Amazon, which really launched the practice of showrooming, is indeed the main target of anti-showrooming efforts.