Survey: Poor in-store experiences driving showrooming

Evanston, Ill. -- Many consumers who visit a store but then buy online are not driven there by price alone, but rather by a less-than-satisfactory in-store experience, according to results from the annual holiday shopping report by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

The survey found that 59% of shoppers sampled said they received poor or average service in the stores they recently shopped. And, among shoppers who said they engaged in showrooming, 40% reported that they actually never intended to buy online, but they were driven there after experiencing poor customer service and support in stores.

"The showrooming conversation typically focuses on price as the impetus to purchase online," said Eric Anderson, Hartmarx Professor of Marketing at Kellogg. "While the growth in online shoppers is clear, our data shows that there is still a robust segment of consumers who prefer to shop brick-and-mortar stores. For retailers, this reinforces that how consumers want to shop is as strategically important as the price they are offered, and underscores the importance of face-to-face customer service."

Other findings from the Kellogg Shopper Index include:

  • Shoppers are more optimistic this season; 59% of respondents report that their household financial situation will be better in the next year. More than a quarter said they were planning on spending more on holiday gifts for others compared to last year.
  • Female shoppers are more loyal to their favorite stores, but are being lured into low-touch online channels because of poor or frustrating in-store experience.
  • Men with higher education levels and higher incomes are more likely to seek discounts by showrooming and engaging in mobile buying than women.