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Showrooming,[1] sometimes called, in-store mobile commerce are terms retailers use to describe the way in which some customers of bricks and mortar stores use their mobile phones to purchase products online the products they find in the store. The customers may use their phone's camera to take photos of products for later purchase, or to check prices online or call friends for advice. Some customers even use smart phone apps that can read product barcodes or labeling to identify the product and match it to the inventory of large online ecommerce stores like Amazon.com.[2]

According to research conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project during the 2011 holiday season, just over half (52%) of all adult cell owners used their cell phone to do some type of research while shopping in a physical store and 33% used their phone specifically for online information while inside a physical store—either product reviews or pricing information. The survey found that 25% of adult cell owners used their phones to look up the price of a product online while they were in a store, to see if they could get a better price somewhere else.[3]


  1. Potter, Ned (2012), "'Showrooming': People Shopping in Stores, Then Researching by Cell Phone, Says Pew Survey", ABC.com (January 29, 2012), http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/pew-internet-showrooming-half-cell-phone-users-research/story, retrieved 2012-02-01 
  2. Li, Shan (2011), "Furor surrounds Amazon's price-comparison app", Los Angeles Times (December 9, 2011), http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/09/business/la-fi-amazon-app-20111210, retrieved 2012-02-01 
  3. Smith, Aaron (2012), "The rise of in-store mobile commerce", Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/In-store-mobile-commerce.aspx, retrieved 2012-02-01