Tennis Industry magazine


Retailing 126: Take Advantage of ‘Webrooming’

Brick-and-mortar retailers need to move quickly to integrate online and mobile, to provide a seamless shopping experience.

The latest retail buzzword is “webrooming,” which describes a fast-growing phenomenon that retailers should come to like — when customers research a product online, then purchase it in a brick-and-mortar store. It’s the opposite of “showrooming,” where consumers browse in a store, then buy online.

As online shopping continues to grow, research shows a synergy, or mutually beneficial relationship, between stores and online channels. For example, in a survey by global management consultant Accenture, 73 percent of respondents indicated they browsed at least once in-store and then bought online, but 88 percent said they participated in “webrooming” — browsing online first before buying in-store.

According to Accenture, which coined the term “webrooming,” retailers that deliver on their customers’ expectations and provide them with a seamless shopping experience — whether they are shopping in a store, online or through a mobile device — will win their loyalty and gain a competitive advantage.

About 49 percent of consumers believe the best thing retailers can do to improve the shopping experience is to better integrate in-store, online and mobile shopping channels, and 89 percent said it is important for retailers to let them shop for products in the way that is most convenient for them, no matter which sales channel they choose.

What this means is specialty tennis retailers and pro shops need to embrace and implement multi-channel marketing and merchandising, including in-store, direct response, website, email, social media and mobile components.

A significant finding is that 94 percent of consumers found in-store shopping easy. But they are less bullish about their experience with other shopping channels: 74 percent said online shopping is easy, but only 26 percent found the mobile phone shopping experience easy. The point is brick-and-mortar stores have an edge over all other forms of retailing, and specialty tennis retailers have to move quickly to integrate online and mobile to provide as seamless a retail shopping experience as possible.

This certainly seems logical, and something we have been recommending. Here are some other research results that help support this:

For upcoming TIA retail webinars, and to view previous webinars, visit

This is part of a series of retail tips presented by the Tennis Industry Association and written by the Gluskin Townley Group (



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