The owner of Celiac Supplies, a specialty food store in Brisbane, Australia, has decided to introduce a $5 AUD ‘just looking’ charge for visitors to the store in an attempt to prevent ‘showrooming’.
‘Showrooming’ is a fairly new term used to describe shoppers that go into a store, examine the products and then go online in a bid to purchase the same items for a cheaper price.
A Redditor posted a picture of the sign to the social media platform and it soon gained notoriety. After seeing the attention the Reddit post got, the Australian Associated Press tracked down the store owner to see what she had to say about it.
The owner of Celiac Supplies, which is self-described as the only gluten-free and wheat-free store in Brisbane, said she had no alternative but to put up such a sign, stating that she spent “hours each week” dishing out advice to people only to witness them walk out and purchase a similar product elsewhere. She said; “I’m not here to dispense a charity service for [large supermarkets] to make more money.”
When customers make a purchase, they are refunded their $5 ‘just looking’ fee.
As far as we are aware, no U.S. or UK stores have introduced a ‘showrooming tax’ on store visitors, though some have thought of other ways to ensure that their customers buy rather than just look. Best Buy introduced an internet-price-matching offer and free delivery on out of stock items during the holiday season. They recently announced that the offer would remain in place and said that it heralded “the end of showrooming”.
I can understand why the owner of Celiac Supplies might be a little pissy with the way her store visitors have been behaving recently, but I doubt her $5 ‘just looking’ tax will end up being a good financial move. People resent paying a door charge (even if it’s miniscule) to enter a type of establishment that is usually free and this is, in effect what she is doing.
What do you think? Will the ‘just looking’ tax end up backfiring on Celiac Supplies? Leave a comment and let us know.