Dr. Sonja Gensler (University of Münster):
“Searching offline but buying online: An empirical analysis of the determinants of showrooming”
(with Scott Neslin, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Peter C. Verhoef, University of Groningen)
Thursday, January 21st, 02:00pm - 04:00pm (WiSo Building, Room 410)
This paper examines the factors that determine the practice of showrooming, whereby consumers visit an offline retail store to gather information but make their purchase online at a different retailer. The authors identify six factors that may influence the decision to showroom: online search costs, time discounting, perceived expected utility gain online, perceived dispersion in utility gain online, importance of quality and price, and return-to-store costs. The authors use an analytical model to identify the role of these factors, and survey 741 respondents. Most factors are significantly associated with showrooming. The expected gains in price and quality (measured as the fit with a consumer’s need) are both important. Search costs such as the effort to search online, the consumer’s desire to reciprocate good service, and short waiting times for in-store service reduce showrooming. The authors discuss implications for researchers and managers. For example, showrooming is not only about a price war between online and offline retailers. Offline retailers wanting to discourage showrooming should make in-store personnel more available and provide service that evokes the need to reciprocate.