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Thu., Dec. 13, 2012, 12:39 p.m.

The showrooming trend and how it’s affecting Spokane’s retailers

Aprimo's research into
Aprimo's research into "showrooming" suggests retailers should focus on the customer experience. (PRNewsFoto/Aprimo)

We spent some time trying to describe the reactions of local retailers to the trend called showrooming. Today's news story touches on that trend, describing showrooming as the use of smartphone by consumers to shop a store and find the best price (either in-store or online or with another store).

Many local retailers who were regionally based don't see a lot of showrooming. Hasting's, for instance, hardly ever sees it, a company spokesman said. We found the same at Barnes & Noble, even though we didn't spend a large amount of time in the store looking for instances.

Stores like Costco and Walmart don't see it a lot either, as showroomers typically are trying to leverage an online price to convince the local store manager to match or beat the online price. In Walmarts and Costcos, the prices don't change that way;  as managers there constantly see prices in their stores changed by headquarters as the market dictates.

We did talk with the foks at Huppins and at national chain Best Buy. Both companies acknowledge seeing plenty of showrooming. Both say they've learned that showroomers are customers waiting to buy, and they respond accordingly.

Our daily story is premium-content, meaning you need a subscription to read it. However, if you search for " and Showrooming," your Google result should let you in to the full article on the traditional free-pass basis.

The graphic here is by way of Aprimo, a mobile technology consulting company. Click the graphic to see a larger version.

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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.