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Reverse Showrooming: Pinterest Helps Brick-and-mortar Retailers

When consumers began using the sophisticated features of their smartphones to do price comparisons and make online purchases while browsing the aisles of stores, panic set in among brick-and-mortar retailers. It now appears that this practice— known as showrooming — might have been overstated. Moreover, it seems that social media, particularly Pinterest, is rescuing brick and mortar stores by motivating online shoppers to buy there.

Research and consulting firm Vision Critical conducted online interviews with social media users between February 2012 and June 2013 in the U.S, Canada, and the U.K. The results were published in a whitepaper entitled From Social to Sale.  Of the nearly 3,000 social media users in the three countries who gave information about their shopping habits, only 26 percent reported regularly engaging in showrooming. But 41 percent said they practiced reverse showrooming —browsing online and then purchasing in physical stores.

Social media drives roughly equal amounts of online and physical-store purchasing, according to Vision Critical, but different sites affect purchasing behavior in different ways. Facebook is the platform most likely to inspire a purchase, not surprising because 73 percent of the population use Facebook but only 15 percent use Pinterest.

Read the article from Practical eCommerce.