Does anyone remember “window shopping?”

Does anyone remember “window shopping?”



In the high-paced multi-channel marais in which we live and shop we have become transfixed with “show-rooming, web-rooming” and an array of other social behaviour terminologies expressing every expression of our complex lives.

For those with a vaguely nostalgic air, however, window-shopping was a regular part of our social schedule, a major inspiration behind the enjoyment of buying, and a key driver behind shopping firmly entrenching itself as the nations number one leisure activity.

Behind this quaint tradition are two fundamental shopping premises that stand the test of time, and which would do us all good to remember in the current clamour for traffic & sales.

Firstly, and the clue is in the name, was that it was OK to go “shopping” without buying anything.

Think about that one, as we continue to read the affronted accounts of retailers who seem positively insulted at the thought that someone enters your store, takes up your service time, uses up your lighting without buying anything, and god forbid even intending to buy anything.

And here’s the best one of all, the ultimate snub! That behind the apparently relaxed banter and camaraderie of the “window-shopping” crowd was the intention to compare different shops. Yes – compare styles, compare colours, compare specifications and absolutely always to compare price.

No wonder “window-shopping” and the perpetrators of it, have faded into terminological extinction as they carried out their heinous crimes.

Of course, the reason for revisiting window-shopping is to highlight that what we now call “webrooming” or “showrooming” is as old as the hills, the ones that had towns and streets and shops at the bottom of them, and that the reasons that these phenomena exist is the same as that of their aging ancestor.

The differences are simply the channels of shopping comparison, the range of competitors and strangely the reaction of some less-enlightened retailers.

Customers enjoy store shopping as much as ever, and they also now enjoy online shopping.

As ever they critically enjoy the experience of shopping as much as the buying of goods and still flock to online sites and physical stores that deliver that “enjoyable, satisfying and fulfilling experience.” Whether they buy on every occasional visit, or not as is undoubtedly the case, they will keep coming back to those attractive, stimulating and dynamic destinations as much as ever.

The lessons for today’s retailer, is that “not buying” is as important as “buying” and that all encounters should be celebrated in the journey to build loyalty with visitors and shoppers alike. This type of celebration is easier when you stock an attractive assortment, are competitively priced and  engage in responsive customer service, than when your selling mentality is more based on opportunism and getting the “sale above the smile.”

The battle to survive, should never be underestimated.

Remember those sepia toned store names that failed to maintain a foothold in those timeless hills of retail. But do consider that in our perfectly colour-matched modern world, it is OK for the customer to shop around, and if you find that ultimately they go somewhere else to buy, then it’s “their right” and not “their wrong” to do so. Also consider that the reason for this failure to engage passing opportunities almost certainly lies much closer to home that we might find comfortable to admit. If this bad news is familiar to you, then please don’t continue to shoot the messenger, or your proverbial foot may well turn into a terminal illness.


VM-unleashed works with retailers on building and displaying the perfect assortment…


…here are a few people that we’ve helped that you may have heard of too…

Ferrari, Luxottica, Marks & Spencer, Primark, AllSaints, Carrefour, Camper, Cortefiel, Boots, Sainsbury, Sonae, Otto Versand, BonPrix, National Geographic, Flex, Gruppo Vestebene, Alessi, Eroski, Coin, Oviesse, Bally, Adidas, Sony, Clarks, Benetton, Orange, KappAhl, Imaginarium, Porcelanosa, Trucco and Ben Sherman.

some of our clients…

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if you would like to know more about our expertise, and how it could work for you, then please drop us a line.

+44 (0)7967 609849

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