by Morinville News Staff
Showrooming is the practice of shoppers visit local businesses to try out or learn about a product, then buying it from a big box store or online competitor. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says it is a major problem for independent merchants heading into the busy Christmas season.
The business advocate organization’s recent survey says 60 per cent of independent retailers have experienced showrooming. A third of those say it’s having a significant impact on their business. A separate CFIB poll of shoppers finds that 55 per cent of consumers are showrooming.
“When customers go into independent stores to ask questions or try on merchandise and then take a picture or write down a model number so they can buy the item online, they might not be aware that they’re not just taking away a sale – they’re taking money away from their neighbourhoods,” said CFIB President Dan Kelly. “These are the shops that support local kids’ hockey teams or donate to the community foodbank every Christmas. They care about their customers and want to help and share their expertise, but their rent, their property taxes and their employees need to be paid. Ultimately, when consumers take up the time of local retailers but spend their money elsewhere, it’s our communities that suffer.”
CFIB data suggests shoppers between the ages of 18 to 34 were more likely than older consumers to showroom shop. Three out of four say they have done it, and one in seven say they do it often.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales coming up, CFIB is encouraging shoppers to avoid the crowds and clicks and visit local, independent merchants.
This won’t stop anytime soon. Customers are trying to maximize the length a dollar can go. If they’re paying 25% more just because it’s local, it makes it hard to justify.