South Africans prefer buying products in store, even after seeing them online

shopping retail kiwihug unsplash south africa

How often have you seen an item online only to purchase it in a physical store? If seems that this phenomenon, called “webrooming”, is pretty popular in South Africa.

According to research firm GfK South Africa’s latest study, a majority — 58% — of South Africans use their smartphones for research, but venture into physical stores to complete purchases.

47% of consumers do the opposite — purchase a product online after seeing it in a physical store.

This is in stark contracts to the other BRICS nations, which tend to purchase items online after seeing it in a brick and mortar store. This is known as “showrooming”.

Some 22% bought a product online from the same store’s website after seeing it in a physical shop, while 25% saw a product in-store and purchased through a competitor’s digital channels,” the study reads.

Additionally, South Africans also use digital channels to compare prices, search for info on a product, and to access product reviews.

According to Cherelle Laubscher, senior retail manager at GfK, South Africans prefer the immediacy of a physical store, even if global retail trends are moving towards digital.

The research shows digital and physical retail should no longer be treated as separate channels since they form an integrated experience from the consumer’s point of view,” Laubscher adds.

“It is important for brands to have an omnichannel approach to truly capture all avenues customers are exposed to.”

Feature image: kiwihug via Unsplash

Andy Walker, former editor


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