It happens every day: a consumer goes into a local store to check out something they’re thinking about purchasing. Maybe it’s a tech store; they’re looking for new headphones. So they compare a few different ones, ask an employee some questions and buy the headphones.
Except we left a few steps out. Between asking questions and making their purchase, the consumer thanked the sales associate, snapped a photo of the headphones on their phone, went home and found the product on Amazon.
This is called “showroom shopping,” and according to a recent survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, it’s unfortunately very common. In that survey, 60% of independent retailers said they had seen showrooming in their stores, and more than half of consumers fessed up to doing it.
What does all that add up to? Potentially huge consequences for small, local businesses.
Of the businesses who had experienced showroom shopping, 57% said it had an impact on sales, while another third said that impact was significant. Some (4%) even said the effects were so bad they’re thinking of closing-up shop entirely.
Of course, an impact on sales doesn’t just mean the bottom line takes a hit. 84% of owners also said their business donates products to local charity; 73% donate financially and 74% use local suppliers – keeping more money in their economy.
So, if you’re shopping in your neighbourhood and think, “That might be a few bucks cheaper online,” don’t just think about what you save: think about what your community could gain if you bought local.
- Are you a “showroom shopper”? Here’s what that means to local businesses