Webrooming is a slang for the consumer practice of researching products online before buying them in a physical store.
The term is often used to contrast with another consumer practice called "showrooming," wherein shoppers first try out the products they want in a physical store before buying them online. Webrooming is the opposite - shoppers first research the products online before buying them in a physical store.
Webrooming and showrooming are considered subcategories of e-commerce. These trends are studied by marketers partly to determine their effect on physical retailers. In the past, it was believed that showrooming was going to have a negative effect on physical retailers because consumers could just buy everything online. The phenomenon of webrooming, however, shows otherwise, suggesting that physical retailers still have a role to play in the future of commerce.
In studying the trends of showrooming and webrooming, marketing experts give the following reasons why consumers do webrooming:
It allows them to learn more about the products before buying them.
It allows easier returns.
It has no shipping cost.
It supports local businesses.
Some research studies have shown that webrooming is a fundamental consumer practice that is going to help support physical retailers for years to come.