"Showrooming" becoming more common


Jon Garaizer is an artist, a student, and a shopper on a budget.

"Budget's a big, big issue for me," he said.

So, as he looks at cameras in an Oakland Best Buy store, he already knows where he's going next.

"The main reason I'm here is to just check these things out so I can get a feel for them, get them in my hands, see what they do, see how they work, but then I'm going to go home, look online at something like Newegg, something like that, see if I can find a more competitive price," Garaizer said.

Garaizer is what retailers call a "showroomer;" he's there to look, but not to buy.

"The showrooming effect is already causing lots of stores to close down -- people go into stores and they buy online anyways," TechBargains.com President Yung Trang said.

The reason is simple, says Trang, online prices can be ten to thirty percent cheaper and shoppers know it.

"More often, I've found better deals online; they don't seem to be able to [match the prices] most cases," shopper Ken Lee said.

But if you assume the best price is always online, you might me missing out; in a few cases, the best deal can be found in the store.

Peter Grayson says he's going home with a new television after he did a little research.

"I checked my phone as well while I'm here, and I think i'm just going to buy one of these right now, yeah," he said.

For Grayson and others, smartphones have changed the game of shopping. Apps scan bar codes and instantly compare prices.

"The world's changed and the tech that's available to us, I think has really just kind of change the whole approach to the holidays," WebiMax founder Kenneth Wisnefski said.

Wisnefski says he expects apps like Amazon's Price Check, or the new one from TechBargains will make Black Friday less of a windfall for big box retailers.

"People are going to go to these stores on Friday, they're going to see they can buy things cheaper online, and they're going to go and just use their mobile phones to make some of these purchases," Wisnefski said.

Or some may skip the stores altogether.

"You can find 95 plus percent of these deals online, in the comfort of your own home in your pajamas, without sitting outside in the cold," Trang said.

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