SEOUL, South Korea, Sept 22 (Korea Bizwire) – “Showroomers” are a new group of shoppers who examine merchandise in a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store without purchasing it and go online to shop for the same item at a lower price. Is this a practice just limited to some electronic goods? Is this something only a few penny-pinchers with a lot of spare time to waste do?
According to a survey by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the percentage of consumers who have at least more than once tried to make a purchase online after “showrooming” it at a store was 23 percent. This surprisingly high figure makes operators of brick-and-mortar stores wince from a distressing image of customers defecting away in droves.
In another survey by LG Economic Research Institute, as much as 64.5 percent of Internet users in their age of 12 or older have had experience purchasing items online. The same survey said significant parts of Internet users in their 30s (78%) and 40s (49%) make online purchases, as well as those in their 20s (90%). The percentage will rise further across all age groups as young people today get older, say, ten years from now.
In a situation where the online shopping market has grown up to 9 trillion won a year, with so many consumer items bought and sold online, including books, clothes, beauty items, and prepared food, there are still so many merchants who believe their line of business is safe from this trend. They still think the only thing that matters is location.
Sun Jong-pil, president of SanggaNews, a retail news service provider, said, “These days, many retailers with brick-and-mortar stores run separate online shopping malls. Now online business is not just limited to standardized items but is expanded to services like haircut and discount after-work parties.” “The good old days of relying on good location only is long gone and merchants today need to focus more on smartphone app advertising rather than expensive paper-based inserts with dubious effectiveness,” he added.