Retail fail? Store charges browsers $5 to prevent ‘showrooming’

So customers won’t shop in its store and then buy online, one specialty store is taking extreme measures. The author says it’s a mistake.

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The word “showrooming” refers to the consumer practice of scoping out a physical item in a store, then ordering it at a lower price online. Over time, it has eaten into sales. Reversing the trend is top-of-mind for many businesses.

Companies are taking different approaches to coping with showrooming. For instance, Best Buy will match any price a customer finds online. This move “ends showrooming for Best Buy customers,” company spokesman Matt Furman said in a Business Insider article. Target, which found showrooming a big deal in its toy section during the holiday season, added QR codes to top-selling toys enabling faster and easier ordering and shipping to home addresses, upping the convenience factor.

But Celiac Supplies has taken a different approach. The Brisbane, Australia purveyor of gluten-free groceries will charge you $5 for looking without buying. What is essentially an admission fee to the store will be deducted from the bill when you buy something.

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