Showrooming – The New Normal

Online diamond jewellery sales soar

 We all know savvy shoppers research products on their smartphones while out shopping to check prices and customer reviews, and then often end up buying online at better prices. But now retail industry insiders have come up with their own word to describe the trend – it’s called showrooming.

Showroom

Recent research shows that independent retailers across the UK are getting a bit antsy. The proportion fearing the threat of rising sales from their e-commerce rivals is now up from 22% to 37% over the past 12 months. It’s largely based on a perceived increase in showrooming, according to the 2013 Autumn Fair Retail Sentiment Survey. So much so that there are some retailers in the UK and the US who believe a tax on e-commerce merchants is necessary to level the playing field.

With 72% of the UK population owning a smartphone, 50% using it to shop online, and 20,000 UK independent retailers on the brink of collapse, perhaps it’s hardly surprising. Meanwhile, a survey commissioned by 77Diamonds into 500 UK high streets found one major jeweller has closed at least one shop per month for the last five years.

Thanks to showrooming, online retailers have another advantage over their bricks and mortar counterparts. They know what their customers are looking for before they even know who or where they are. Forward-thinking online businesses are now looking carefully at the search terms visitors use for items they don’t currently sell and some are now introducing new offerings as a result.

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“The fact that we’ve grown 3000% since 2008 is largely thanks to our customers knowing they can shop around in Mayfair and then come to us to buy jewellery of the same high quality for a more competitive price,” says Tobias Kormind, co-founder of 77Diamonds. “While we now have a physical showroom in Mayfair, over 73% of our sales happen online. It’s the best of both worlds.”

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