For many shoppers, buying something at full price in store just doesn’t feel right knowing you could find the same item discounted, just by scrolling through your phone. Introducing ‘showrooming’, essentially shopping any brick-and-mortar store, trying something on, falling in love, and then tapping into your mobile to find it cheaper. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
If you weren’t already doing it, we hope we haven’t given you any ideas because now, just trying something on will cost you — especially if you’re a shoe girl.
According to WWD, independent shoe retailers are fervently trying to combat showrooming, and rumors are swirling online that stores beginning to charge shoppers for trying on their shoes. These shoe-fitting fees apparently range from $5 and $25 and are instated to make certain that their staff is not wasting their time on the sales floor. However, few stores have actually gone on record about about these new policies.
If you recall, Vera Wang recently came under fire for instituting a $500 try on fee for wedding gowns at her Shanghai flagship with a store staffer explaining to WWD, “A lot of high school and college students were coming here and weren’t serious about buying a wedding dress so that’s why we started the fitting fee.” The difference with this case is that these students were trying on the gowns for fun (something us gals have been doing for recreation since the beginning of shopping). Wang also defended the fee saying that it was put in place to prevent counterfeiters from stealing her designs. Whatever the case, after a surplus of backlash, the company abolished the fees.
We can see it both ways. For one, we’re always game for a bargain and believe that designer markups can make something we really, really want seem unattainable. Additionally, we think this is a sound way for retailers to further discourage shoppers from coming to stores in the first place. On the other hand, we don’t think taking a sales person’s time knowing full well that you won’t be making a purchase, and then taking your business elsewhere, just doesn’t seem right.
One thing we do know is that if there are enough ladies out there like Carrie Bradshaw, whose impulse for shoes is so irrepressible that they don’t have the patience for e-commerce, there is hope for shopping the old fashioned way. And to make another case for retailers who are considering showroom fees, we think Bradshaw would be fine paying a small price to cruise Manolo Blahniks.
The question still remains whether or not independent footwear retailers will be bold enough to take a stand against showrooming and start charging each and every one of us to sample sandals. If they do, will they be able to maintain the new policy or will it face a similar to fate to that of Vera Wang? Only time will tell as e-commerce continues to shake up the sales floors.