Noted by The Consumerist earlier today, a gluten free grocery store in Brisbane, Australia called Celiac Supplies has implemented a cover charge of sorts that’s designed to penalize customers that browse for specific products before leaving the store to purchase the same products at a lower price through an online retailer. Called showrooming by Best Buy and other major retailers within the United States, the practice is particularly popular among consumers that are in the market for electronics or other expensive items. For instance, someone interested in purchasing a new smart television on Amazon may visit Best Buy first to check out the picture quality, but ultimately spend money through the popular online retailer.
Regarding the reasoning behind the addition of the showrooming fee, store management wrote “There has been high volume of people who use this store as a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere. These people are unaware our prices are almost the same as the other stores plus we have products simply not available anywhere else. This policy is line with many other clothing, shoe and electronic stores who are also facing the same issue.“
Images of the store’s showrooming policy first appeared on Reddit (posted by Reddit user BarrettFox) as well as a photo of the store’s facade posted by another member of the site that happened to walk past the same store over the weekend.
In reference to the showrooming policy, Daily Finance reporter Matt Brownell stated “While it’s undoubtedly frustrating to have people use your store as a showroom just so they can buy the same goods online, imposing a cover charge is hardly the ideal solution. The goal of any retailer should be to impress customers with competitive pricing and great customer service — not treat their customers with suspicion and hostility from the moment they walk in the door.”