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Consumers research on the high street before buying online

28 February 2014 - 09:15 by Graham Miller

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The results of a new survey published by online auction site, eBay, have shown that almost a third of British consumers choose to head to high street stores to research products before they buy them via safe shopping online, according to Econsultancy.

The practice of showrooming is increasingly common in an age where shoppers are very conscious of price but still want to see items in person before they make a decision on whether or not to go through with an online transaction.

The web typically offers lower prices on the majority of products, but consumers are especially keen to view electronics items and home & garden products in the flesh, even if they subsequently order them from an e-commerce site.

Thirty one per cent of British respondents to the study said that they use their smartphone to find other retail outlets in the vicinity when they are out on a high street trip, while 30 per cent admitted to harnessing their handset's camera to capture an image of the object of their desires.

The survey was carried out on both consumers from the UK and Germany, with a close correlation in most activities discovered. However, barcode scanning is more popular amongst German consumers, while Brits are more interested in looking up product details on their smartphones.

In general, it is apparent that high street retailers still have some challenges to face, especially given that almost any customer can now shop online while standing in the middle of a bricks and mortar outlet.

Melding the two platforms and encouraging people who visit a store to then place an e-commerce order with the same business is the challenge that needs to be overcome, if long term survival is to be achieved.