How to turn “Webrooming” into Online Purchases

The National Retail Federation has predicted that by year's end, online shopping in the U.S. will have risen 15% over last year. Consumer Reports also reported that, of those shopping online, half of them will shop solely on the Internet, never setting foot in a department store the entire holiday season.  These statistics raise one very important question – Out of nearly half of the U.S. population shopping online, how many actually seal the deal with a purchase?

Enter the world of "Webrooming" – a play on the term: "Showrooming." Where as showrooming refers to consumers who price shop online after visiting physical stores, "webrooming" refers to consumers who research products online, and then visit a physical store to make the purchase. It's a term that was coined last holiday season – and it's changed the game as the technology consulting firm Accenture reported 65% of online shoppers will practice “webrooming” this holiday season. That 15% increase we mentioned earlier brings the number of online shoppers to approximately 44%.  But that 44%, although promising, might not actually be purchasing online; they might just be browsing.  The “webroomer” will browse your online store to find the product they are looking for, read reviews/specs etc. and head to the store to get it. This concept put into play by consumers looking for the best price and avoiding high holiday shipping rates is gaining more popularity. The news of the “webroomer” is not a total loss. Knowing that they're out there means you can take extra steps to ensure perusers stay on your site as long as possible. Follow these tips and you might just convert a webroomer into a buyer.

Some things to prioritize to keep those “webroomers” from using your site as a product knowledge tool alone: 

  • Usability

  • Visual Appeal

  • Call-to-Action

Usability – Takes the shopper through their shopping experience with ease. Made by Miva Naturals-Inc.com does this by giving the shopper color options on each product before clicking through. 

Visual Appeal – Made by Miva, ChoppingBlocks.com captures the shoppers attention instantly by displaying a large, high quality image the evokes emotion from their shopper that keeps the potential sale on their webpage. 

Call-to-action – A flawless checkout accompanied by a home page call-to-action banner offering either a shipping promotion or product discount in our opinion, is the most important tool you can implement this holiday season. Made by Miva, HolidayLightingOutlet.com implements a sleek sublte call to action that allows them to combine visual appeal for a solid sales driven combination. This concept may not be of any concern for those in a niche market, but for those selling mass-produced or brand-specific products, your competition is enormous (Amazon).

You see it almost everywhere you browse—a call-to-action (usually under the navigation bar) offering free shipping if you spend "x" amount of dollars. Actually, the avid online shopper is expecting it and if they do not see a shipping discount whithin the first 3 clicks, they will bounce. Web banners are there because they work and they can be done without cluttering up your homepage. 

Internet retail experts report that nearly 93% women and 87% of men will shop to the goal of acquiring free shipping even if the purchase value rises. There’s no harm in offering up free shipping to those who spend $75 in your store, right? Well of course it's all based off of your margins but, if you plan accordingly, the call-to-action banner on your webpage may be the difference between a webroomer and an actual online purchase. 

Support your call-to-action with usability and visual appeal and that webroomer just might forget all about that department store. The idea is to eliminate the benefits of webrooming all together so we recommend you put yourself in their shoes. Sit down in front of your webpage and ask yourself, "If I were a so-called webroomer, would I feel inclined to throw out my plan if shopping my website?" If the answer is no, then ask yourself, "why?" Remember the sole purpose of webrooming is to avoid high shipping rates and find the lowest price. You may not be able to offer the lowest price, but you may offer other perks that the consumer can be detoured by. Highlight your product reviews, get that call-to-action shipping banner up and offer the best customer service experience possible. You may just turn a webroomer into a long term loyal customer.