Showrooming is a big problem for retailers. When people stroll into stores to check out goods but buy them elsewhere, retailers lose money.

While retailers have tried a number of tactics to counter this problem, the tactic that an Australian gluten-free shop attempted might be the dumbest of them all.

Noticing that lots of customers were visiting the store and not buying anything, its owners announced that they would charge vistitors a $5 “looking fee,” which would be given back to them once they bought something.


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Dumb? Musguided? Completely counterproductive? Yes to all of the above.

The real problem here isn’t even showrooming — it’s the fact that the store owners are taking a chain saw to an issue that requires the use of a scalpel. Would you visit a store that charged you just to walk inside it? I know I wouldn’t, and I’m pretty sure most of this store’s (now former) customers won’t either.

The last thing retailers should do is turn their potential customers into their enemies, which is exactly what insane measures like this do. If this store wasn’t going out of business before, it most certainly will if it maintains this policy.

Here’s the full text of the sign. It’s OK if you cringe while reading it.

As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for “just looking.”

The $5 fee will be deducted when goods are purchased.

Why has this come about?

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.

Photo via Reddit user Barrett Fox 

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