LONDON: Three quarters of UK consumers do research or get inspiration online with more than half of those then opting to head to a store to complete the deal, according to a new study which also notes that the reverse practice of showrooming is practically non-existent.

The Retail Buying Study 2018 from media agency UM, based on a survey of 4,800 adults in the UK, found that 35% of consumers researching online end up buying online as well but 41% go to a store to make their purchase.

Such webrooming activity was most prevalent in the DIY/home improvement and automotive categories (64% and 51% of shoppers, respectively).

Webroomers were also likely to spend significantly more than purely online shoppers. Asked how much their last purchase cost, the former group reported spending 53% more than the latter.

Across the board, almost two-thirds (64%) said they still enjoy visiting shops in person. And when asked where they would prefer to shop if the retailer’s price was the same both online and in-store, people chose the physical store for 10 out of the 12 product categories surveyed.

Retailers need to change their in-store experience to satisfy people who already know what they want, the study suggested.

“The appetite for in-store shopping is alive and well, but retailers should start thinking of webroomers as a key audience,” explained Glen Parker, chief insight officer EMEA at UM.

“The people who come into your store are likely to have done their research online and might even know more about the products than your own employees.”

He pointed to Argos as an example of a retailer that “completely understands the huge growth of webrooming, Its whole business model is based on online research leading to an in-store purchase, and people love the ease and value of shopping that Argos provides as a result.”

The UK high street has faced a difficult 12 months with a number of well-known names shutting up shop.

“The high street experience is changing beyond recognition and this is catching out a lot of big brands,” noted Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, a retail/consumer psychologist at University College London.

“Retailers might need to be loved by shoppers, but that doesn’t mean trying to create a long-term marriage that lasts for decades,” he added. “They might be more successful by looking for Tinder-style hook-ups instead and offering their customers short bursts of pleasurable in-store experience.”

Sourced from UM, The Week; additional content by WARC staff