Canadians, like anyone else, love to shop online. Why wouldn't they? It's quick, convenient, and you can do it in your pajamas. Sometimes, though, people will go to a store first to check out the physical product. The act has it's own name, and in Canada, showrooming and online shopping are starting to hurt small businesses.
Showrooming has been something that shoppers do almost as long as there have been ways to order items online. People will go to a small retailer to ask questions about a product, look at it, and get a sense of it. Then, they will go online (or to a big box store in some cases) and buy the product there instead.
According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), "60% of independent retailers say they have experienced showrooming." A third of those respondents also said that showrooming was having a significantly negative impact on their business.
Showrooming could definitely become a huge problem for the holiday season when there are so many online Black Friday deals from big retailers.
Plus, with shopping season ramping up even further into December, small businesses might experience even more instances of showrooming.
According to research done by CFIB, Canadian shoppers between the ages of 18 and 34 were the most likely to check out items in stores before buying them online.
CFIB president Dan Kelly said that when showrooming, customers aren't just taking money away from small businesses, but also their communities.
"These are the shops that support local kids' hockey teams or donate to the community food bank every Christmas," Kelly said, "They care about their customers and want to help and share their expertise, but their rent, their property taxes and their employees need to be paid."
However, Kelly urged shoppers to support their local small retailers, saying "With Black Friday and Cyber Monday kicking off the holiday shopping season, we encourage consumers to save themselves the crowds and clicks and visit their local, independent merchants. They'll thank you and pay it forward."