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Brits using mobiles to price-check online while out shopping

Friday, December 18th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Four in 10 Brits regularly use their mobile devices to check for better prices while in shops, research has revealed.

The research from EE found that nearly 22m shoppers regularly ‘showroom’ – the practice of looking for better prices while in store.

Data from an online poll of 2,000 UK adults, conducted by OnePoll, found that the practice is most common among those aged 18-34, with 58% saying they showroom while out shopping.

The survey suggests that shoppers appreciate the broader selection of products found online, as 74% of shoppers prefer to browse online rather than in physical shops.

More than three quarters (79%) of shoppers research the best deals online before buying anything, and more than a third (36%) prefer to shop online wherever possible.

London and Newcastle top the list for the highest proportion of ‘showroomers’, at 47%, while Norwich and Belfast have the fewest, at 33% and 36% respectively.

But despite their search for online deals, the physical shop is still important to British shoppers, with 43% saying they like shopping in-store more than online because it’s quicker than waiting for an item to be delivered.

Looking at ways retailers can cope with the growing threat of showrooming, the research found that 56% of Brits said they would shop in-store more frequently if retailers offered price-matching deals.

Some retailers are also combining their shops with online ‘showrooms’, giving customers the chance to experience products in person before buying via their app or website to be delivered or collected later.

As it published the results of its research, EE said it is helping retailers turn the growing trend for showrooming to their advantage by adding to its line of public wi-fi products with 4G Public WiFi In A Box.

Designed for smaller shops and premises, it gives plug-and-play 4G wi-fi for businesses and customers.

'Threat'

Jeremy Spencer, head of corporate products at EE, said: “The practice of showrooming isn’t going away.

“It’s understandable that the threat of showrooming preys on retailers’ minds, particularly during such an important shopping season as Christmas.

“However, retailers actually have a significant opportunity to both engage and retain showrooming customers.

“Encouraging customers to look up additional information on products in-store using free wi-fi, offering a mobile app with digital loyalty schemes and, as our research indicates, offering to match prices found online can not only prevent showrooming in the short term, but can help keep customers coming back.

“Additionally, providing tablets for customers to use in-store allows people to browse online product ranges, helping to keep purchases in-store.”

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