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3 On Your Side: Showroom Showdown

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When you go shopping do you use your smartphone to see if you can find items for less somewhere else?

If so, you’re not alone. And as 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan finds that stores around the country, are now fighting back.

Before Jeffrey Goldstein buys anything while he’s in a store, he whips out his smartphone, uses an app to scan the bar code of the item and he comparison shops for the lowest price online.

“I will take a look at everything on the shopping list,” said Goldstein.

What Jeffrey’s doing has been dubbed the “scan and scram” or showrooming”.

One study found that 25 percent of adult cell phone owners used their phones in a store to see where they could buy an item for less. And five percent of them then bought the item online.

Amazon and eBay even launched price comparison apps to make it easier for shoppers.

This online jewelry store, which says it offers the same rings large retail chains do for less, was actually surprised to see that eight percent of its customers purchased their new bling through their phones.

“As soon as they find the deal they want they’re ready to jump on it because they’ve been educated.
They’re fully aware of what’s out there and what they want,” said Vipul Lakhi with Mytriorings.com

Some traditional retail stores are fighting back through a number of tactics. Target offers exclusive products you can’t buy anywhere else. Nordstrom offers free shipping if you buy something in a store, or online. Macy’s and Old Navy send in-store only coupons.

But they’ll have to try harder to convince showrooming shopper Jeffrey to stop.

“In the big picture you can save a lot of money,” said Goldstein.

Some stores will offer to match the prices of online retailers, so it may be worth showing the manager of the store you’re standing in the price comparison you found online and see if they’ll give you the same price.

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