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TNNA Survey Says: Showrooming and What to Do About It

Posted By India Hart Wood, Hart Business Research, Tuesday, May 3, 2016

State of Specialty NeedleArtsTNNA Survey Says is a biweekly series of articles featuring useful business advice based upon the TNNA State of Specialty NeedleArts 2016 surveys of more than 15,000 fiber artists, retailers, and wholesalers.

The Prevalence of Showrooming, and What To Do About It

Myth busted! More fiber artists reverse-showroom than showroom. That is, more look at products online and buy them locally than the reverse. Many do both. Your customers are looking at products and buying them across an integrated landscape of local and online. More than one-third of needle arts retailers have responded to this by having both a local shop and an online store in 2016.

If you are a local-only retailer, take advantage of your physical location but promote strongly online, too. According to fiber artists, local stores should do what they do best: emphasize their local identity, get to know customers and help them with projects, and let customers touch and see fibers and other products. Local stores should post new product information online via email, Ravelry, blogs, and/or Facebook. Include product reviews and how-to. Don’t fear showrooming too much; many customers are coming to you to buy something they’ve seen online.

Percentage of fiber artists indicating they reverse showroomed, showroomed, or neither, in past year:


Survey question was “Have you done these while shopping in the past year?” The possible answers were as follows: saw something on an online store and then bought it locally, saw something at a local store and then bought it online, both, neither.

  • Sources: TNNA Fiber Artist Survey (results released April 15), TNNA Needle Arts Retailer Survey (results available May 9)
  • Freshness: Fiber artists surveyed January 25 to February 15, 2016. Retailers surveyed February 23 to March 28, 2016.
  • Respondents: 15,288 U.S. fiber artists and 393 U.S. and Canadian yarn and needlework retailers

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