Leo Kyrkos

‘Boomerooming’ – Bad News for Bricks and Mortar Retailers

Leo Kyrkos

62% of UK consumers are 'boomerooming' right now! Our research debunks the webrooming myth We recently commissioned some research to improve our understanding of the consumer journey and how it might affect our clients. We wanted to know how a consumer's product research affects their decision on whether to buy in-store or online. If you have your finger on the pulse of retail, you'll undoubtedly have heard the new buzzwords: 'showrooming' (viewing in store and them buying online) and 'webrooming' (researching online and then buying in store). Our research has revealed a new type of shopping behaviour that we call 'boomerooming'.
Showrooming: Examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar store, and then buying it online at a lower price Webrooming: The opposite of Showrooming, the practice of researching items online and then purchasing them in-store
A recent article published in Adweek suggested that more consumers are webrooming, returning to the high street after researching products online. This was great news for bricks and mortar retailers who had feared an increase in 'showrooming', i.e. buying products online after viewing them in high street stores. Their cause for optimism was a report by Merchant Warehouse that revealed 69% of smartphone users in the 18-36 demographic have webroomed, whilst just 50% had showroomed. We wanted to take this research a step further to find out if customers were boomerooming – researching online, touching and feeling in-store and then returning online to make their purchase. So, we put the question to the UK public.

Have you ever been boomeroomed?

boomerooming survey


Is this talk of webrooming just a load of hot air?

The bad news for brick and mortar retailers is that the results show that most consumers prefer an online bargain rather than paying a premium for an in-store 'experience'. Our survey revealed that 67% of women have boomeroomed, compared to 58% of men, whilst the age demographic most likely to boomeroom is 40-59. As experts in the field of e-commerce, we wanted to know more about the boomeroom phenomenon. To give us an insight , we asked UK consumers about what they most disliked about shopping online. Here's what we found.

What are consumers' gripes with shopping online?

online consumer survey Popular answers included ‘having to wait for items to arrive’ and ‘problems with delivery scheduling’, while 15% of consumers actually prefer the online shopping experience compared to shopping in a physical store. However, the most common gripe (46%) with buying online was that the consumers were unable to see/touch/try products in the flesh, before parting with their cash. So, the emergence of boomerooming means that the consumer can have their cake AND eat it: a product is researched online, checked out in-store and then bought online for the lowest price possible.

How can we monitor this behaviour?

The need to monitor this omni-channel commerce is greater than ever, and marketers across the globe are working towards integrating online and offline analytics data. This will provide a better understanding of consumer behaviour and will assessment of the impact of marketing efforts, both online and offline. The technology is already here - Google Universal Analytics allows marketers to gather online and offline data in one place, using RFID chips, sensors, mobile apps etc., thus providing retailers with a 360-degree view of the customer. As technologies progress, marketers will have access to more and more data about consumers. Minority Report shopping; it’s not that far away...
omni-channel commerce

What have we learned?

Our research has revealed that consumer trends are more complicated than many experts would have us believe.  To simply say that more customers are willing to pay increased  prices on the high street for the sake of convenience does not seem to be true. More consumers are researching products online in the first instance and making the journey to the physical store to see it, touch it and try it for real. Once they’re happy, it’s back online to seal the deal. Survey results based on a Confidence Level of 95% and Confidence Interval of 10 with a sample size of 100.