By Deane Barker on June 17, 2012

Will ‘showrooming’ kill businesses?: This practice isn’t new, but the media appears to have coalesced around a name for it, which is interesting in and of itself.

People will come into stores, look around, stop at items they particularly like — and instead of carrying them to the cash register, will take photos of them, or type a description into their smartphones.

Then, in many cases, they will go home, enter the product into a search engine and find some online-only merchant — a merchant who has no real-life stores — who is selling the item for less money.

Weirdly, the first comment was a really good one:

Retail stores have already found ways to cash in on “showroom” shoppers through their in store coffee and food services.  The more people who walk past, the more these service sales make.

Think about that for a second – could it be that the future of retail is to offer services around the act of shopping itself, rather than making money off the purchase of something?  That’d be a remarkable shift.

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