Forrester reports, that by 2017 webrooming will account for $1.8 trillion in sales for stationary retailers compared to $1.2 trillion in 2012. To put this into perspective, total ecommerce sales is supposed to reach $370 billion by 2017.
Last year 78% of all customers have used webrooming before shopping. Especially young customers browse online before visiting a store, to see what products fit, whether they are available and how other customers have rated the product.
Of course webrooming greatly depends on the industry. Bookings for travel, hotels and flights are preferably done online.(E-Commerce-Study “Black-Box Online-Shopping” by Konzept & Markt).
Stationary shops offer decisive advantages
Stationary retailers offer three distinct advantages. With a direct purchase delivery charges and delivery times get omitted, as well as the product return is often easier. And especially for livestyle products shopping is often lead by spontaneous impulses and preferably done offline.
More and more businesses support webrooming with an informative website. However, many customers expect and use the service on their mobile devices. That’s why webrooming is only a step away from approoming. A major advantage of approoming is the offline availability of mobile apps. Product information is available anytime and anywhere. Customers can read and interact with products very uniquely – at home, on the way to work or even in the store. Users can also search for particular products or use a digital shopping list they created within the app. As smartphones are personal devices, apps develop a relationship with the user and and become adviser and shopping guide for many shopping occasions.
Webrooming is a transition to approoming
Product presentations in an app offer further potential to adapt to buyer behavior. Businesses can offer innovative high quality digital showrooms that not only inform customers but also inspire them. A great example is the app from BMW, BMW Individual. Users are able to create the perfect interior fittings for their favorite car model and learn all about the details and technical advantages of the car. The details are so realistic that the customer can imagine driving the car – BMW Individual.
Another app that has adapted to approoming is the “V & B Augmented Reality” app from Villeroy & Boch. The user can plan a bathroom interior virtually in a real room. This helps to better estimate the size of the furniture – V&B Augmented Reality App von Villeroy & Boch.
There are many other fine examples of how approoming can be implemented. The “De Beers Bridal” and the “Walmart” shopping app are two examples. You can find more inspiring apps from retail businesses in our last blog post. Approoming also evolves webrooming technically, e.g. by using location-based services. Thus, customers can find products of nearby stores, reserve them and navigate to the next chain store. In addition to product information the app can provide context related information such as current opening times, nearby traffic alerts and parking options. The use of augmented reality as in the V & B app is another big trend. Other good examples that use augmented reality is the AR Ikea catalog app and the “Engagement Ring Finder” app from Tiffany, that – in contrast to the De Beers Bridal app – also offers mobile “fitting”. Retailers have the opportunity to develop a long term relationship with their customers through apps. Therefore customer loyalty programs and couponing or other discount campaigns can be very well executed within approoming. Consider frequent updates to increase usage frequency, app usage and stay in touch with your customers. Apps should therefore be connected to a content backend that can easily be updated. For more details browse through the infographic by Merchant Warehouse. In summary, companies must not only adapt to the behavior of webrooming but soon add options for approomers too.