A new poll suggests marketers should be just as concerned about webrooming as they are with showrooming.

Showrooming has been a game-changing trend that forced companies to get serious about their content marketing and SEO strategies.  With internet-enabled devices, consumers don’t have to trust retailers’ price points. They can compare prices no matter where they are. Marketers worried this development would cut into sales, but the industry hasn’t seen a catastrophic impact. Part of the reason for brick-and-mortar buoyancy may be a separate trend, called webrooming, that nurtures leads online with brand content before prospects are ready to buy in stores.

Basically the reverse of showrooming, webrooming is the practice of looking up product information online before going into physical storefronts to conduct transactions. According to a Harris Interactive poll of 2,250 United States adults in November 2013, webrooming is actually more common than showrooming.

Of consumers polled, 1,509 said they had previously webroomed, while 997 had showroomed in the past. This supports stats Brafton covered at the start of the holiday season, reporting that 89 percent of people planned to go online to research products and services before making purchase decisions.

Webrooming consumers bought $203 worth of goods on average, more than showrooming consumers who spent just under $175 each.

Empowered consumers are visiting brands websites, reading their online content and browsing virtual store shelves before deciding which outlets have the best selections at the right price points. Surprisingly, this pre-purchase planning seems to be inspiring spending rather than saving shoppers money. The Harris Poll found webrooming consumers bought $203 worth of goods on average, more than showrooming consumers who spent just under $175 each.

What appears to be a changing of the tides (essentially reversing the effects of showrooming), webrooming proves how much brands have to gain by building out their websites with content. A proper content strategy will contain both informative or entertaining formats to draw in readers as well as promotional formats that push people through the sales funnel.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.