The term "showrooming" originated when Big Box retailers believed their in-store conversion rates were declining because consumers would come to the store to shop (i.e., see, touch and compare the physical products) but ultimately choose to buy online at cheaper prices. The term has more recently come to include the practice of using smartphones to access online product information—including competitor pricing—while in-store.

The value-erosion myth

When defining a strategy to combat showrooming, it is important for retailers to consider consumer intent. It is not correct to assume that all showrooming is driven by the desire to find the lowest price. In addition to price comparisons, consumers often use mobile devices in-store to do product research and read customer reviews before purchase.