Showrooming -- the booming trend that finds shoppers checking out potential purchases in bricks-and-mortar stores, then whipping out their smartphones to find the same products cheaper at online retailers -- is crushing many chains.
It isn't a fair fight. Physical retailers just can't compete with the lean overhead and occasional state-sales-tax advantages of Web-based retailers. Since any given mom-and-pop shop is now competing against every single online outlet -- instead of merely a slightly cheaper rival at the other end of town -- it's hard to keep loyal customers when the savings can be substantial in cyberspace.
However, a few retailers seem to be holding up just fine in the fight against discounting dot-com merchants. Some of them are taking steps to fortify their physical storefronts, while others simply have models that provide some natural protection.
Let's take a look at the chains that are built to withstand the growing threat of showrooming.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Best Buy, and Costco Wholesale. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Costco Wholesale, eBay, hhgregg, and Amazon.com.