The Drivers of Showrooming: The Role of Channel Benefits, Consumer Attributes and Products

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
81 + 7
This study investigates the drivers and motivations behind the showrooming behaviour, where consumers conduct information search in offline stores and later move to online stores to finish the purchase. The goal is to examine the impact of channel-related factors and consumer-specific motivations on the intention to showroom. In addition, the roles of product type and demographics in showrooming are investigated. The research draws from the existing knowledge on research shopping and showrooming, but due to the still limited research on the phenomenon itself, channel choice literature and consumer motivations literature is used to develop the framework. The study uses the theory of planned behavior as a background for the framework and attempts to complement the research by Arora et al (2017), one of the few studies conducted on the topic of showrooming drivers to date. The empirical research takes a quantitative approach and uses data collected through an online survey. The hypotheses were analyzed with data from 219 responses. The methods of analysis were confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling, conducted in SPSS. The findings of this study suggest that when consumers showroom, they use online channels for purchase because of their overall evaluation of online channels as a good purchase avenue. The factors contributing to this evaluation are the potential price benefits and different deals online, convenience of purchasing in online channels and the attractiveness of the product selection. Showrooming was found to be especially common among younger consumer groups, and the results also indicate that the more favorable the consumers’ attitude towards showrooming, the higher their future intention to engage in it. The most showroomed product categories are clothing, electronics, shoes and cosmetics, and showrooming is in general more common in high-involvement product categories than in low-involvement ones. From an academic perspective, the study managed to show support for the previously confirmed relationships of online channel benefits and attitude on showrooming and the prevalence of showrooming in high-involvement product categories. From a managerial perspective, the results may help firms better understand the mechanisms of showrooming and to understand what factors drive consumers to finish their purchase online. With this knowledge, practitioners can hopefully take consumers’ preferences better into account when designing the customer journey and their operations. In sum, this study provided additional support for the quite limited current knowledge on the mechanisms of showrooming by looking at the phenomenon in the Finnish context. Some limitations in terms of the sample and the item selection remain, which calls for further investigation to validate the mechanisms behind the behavior more comprehensively.
Thesis advisor
Falk, Tomas
Gloukhovtsev, Alexei
showrooming, research shopping, channel choice, consumer motivations, purchase behaviour, customer journey, product involvement, structural equation modeling
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