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Snare last-minute Christmas sales

Michael Baker
Smarter Writer

Michael Baker is a retail consultant and vice-chair of the ICSC's Asia-Pacific Research Council

Michael Baker
Smarter Writer

Michael Baker is a retail consultant and vice-chair of the ICSC's Asia-Pacific Research Council

What is Webrooming and how you can take advantage of this shopping trend? Webrooming is the sibling of showrooming, which is the practice of using stores to compare products and prices, but usually closing the purchase at another location. Webrooming is researching and comparison-shopping online before coming to the physical store to purchase.

For store-based retailers, webrooming is the preferred consumer practice because the shopper arrives at the store with a firm intent to buy, rather than to rummage through merchandise before buying somewhere else.

Christmas retail planning tips webrooming

Shoppers plan strategically for christmas

According to consumer surveys, webrooming has become far more prevalent than showrooming, and round about October or November it becomes increasingly strategic in the lead-up to Christmas, to the point of morphing into what is called ‘online planning’. Online planning is when consumers actually map out a campaign for doing their Christmas shopping, rather like a general mapping out a military campaign in the war room.

In effect this means the research and ‘product discovery’ process has been re-located from the shopping centre to the home. It has also become prolonged and highly effective because of the amount of information available online regarding products and prices.

Retailers need to clearly enunciate through their online channels in October and November what their role is in the shopper’s Christmas strategy, then use December to fine-tune the marketing message to meet the demands of those final frantic days in December.

How digital trends will affect this year's shopping season

Information from Google* wrung from the US market suggests that consumers are embarking on the research process for their Christmas shopping much earlier than they used to, a pattern that is bound to be mirrored increasingly in Australia. A formidable 26 per cent commence even before Halloween.

Here are some other key points from the Google research:

1. One-third of Google shopping searches are made between 10pm and 4am.

2. The number of sources consulted by consumers before purchasing has more than doubled since 2010, from an average of five to an average of 12. 

3. YouTube, Pinterest and other social media sites are now effectively shop windows. 

4. YouTube videos (including haul videos that display items recently purchased) are now an important part of the Christmas shopping research process.

5. Shoppers are now arriving at the store armed to the teeth with information and what they don’t know is not being sought from store employees – these sources of information are being shunted aside in favour of – you guessed it – mobile phones.

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