Is There a Case to Be Made for Retailer “Just Looking” Fees?

Should Retailers Charge Just Browsing FeesBelieve it or not, POPAI, the Global Association for Marketing at Retail posted an interesting article by Gregory Smith (February 2013) about some retailers charging “just looking” or “just browsing” fees. As outrageous as this sounds is this fee a good thing or something to avoid?


Fees to Window Shop


First off, in the article, Smith mentioned two retailers, a Vera Wang bridal store in China and a specialty store in Australia. The Vera Wang store initially set their “just looking” fee at the equivalent of $482 just for trying on gowns. The specialty store has a large following for its dietary supplements and charged a $5.00 fee for “just browsing.”


Brides-to-be were angry enough at the Vera Wang store so they discontinued the fee but the specialty retailer in Australia says her $5.00 fee is appropriate. She backs up her claim because of what she feels adds up to hours of free advice to her customers for choosing the right supplement and that “$5.00 is surely worth my time.”


Is the “just browsing” fee something retailers should consider? Maybe, but probably not.


Is This Fee Just an “Overhead” Fee?


Don't charge just shopping feesIn reality, consumers already pay a “just looking” fee when they go to trade shows and expos. These are the places where retailers and product manufacturers show of the newest of the new to entice consumers and gain interest.


Advice from a knowledgeable expert on what dietary supplement to take should come with the product right? After all, when we go to buy electronics, we often utilize the sales personnel to help us make the best decision based on our needs and do they charge a “just looking” fee?


Perhaps the word missing here is “overhead.” Retailers have operating expenses like payroll, rent, utilities, display products, etc. So, do you mark-up products to include free advice or customer assistance? A case could be made that you should but if your price point is too high, consumers will go elsewhere.


We bet overhead, even if it is only cents on each product, that some retail stores do indeed include an overhead mark-up. Their case might be they wouldn’t make enough of a profit to cover all of their overhead expenses.


To tell a potential customer, however, they must pay or deposit a $5.00 browsing or looking fee is probably the wrong choice. Even if you can get customers to pay the fee and tell them it will be deducted from their purchase, retailing just isn’t at this level—at least not now.


What do you think of these fees? A go or a total no? Leave us a comment!


Save on Display and Promotional Products


Now on to really exciting news here at Metropolitan Display—our April “Great Event Event Sale!” From April 1st through April 30th, we’re offering 10% off all the following items—just enter EVENT10 at checkout or mention the promo code to one of our operators:


Tent and Event Products 10% Off



  • Event displays
  • Custom Feather Banner Signs
  • Flying Banner Sails
  • Pop-Up Displays
  • Pop-Up Tents
  • Sail Sign Banners
  • Tables and Table Covers
  • Tents
  • Trade Show Displays


Click on the sale promo image above and it will take you right where you need to be to browse (with no fee) save on all of these fantastic items. Finally, for trade shows and expos, potential customers are willing to pay a fee so be sure to standout and shine at your expo events this year!



This entry was posted in Display Tables, Flying Banner Sails, Get a Quote, Retail Space Display Tips, Trade Show Displays, Uncategorized, Wedding Trade Show Displays and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>