Have you heard the term "showrooming"? Have you ever done it? If you are scratching your head and thinking "Is this what you do when you go to NY?" then you aren't on the right track!
The definition of showrooming from Wikipedia is: "The practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it, but then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item." As you can imagine, overhead costs for online stores are much less than a bricks and mortar store. So they can often offer items for a less expensive price.
I've had showrooming occur at a small store like Zoe, believe it or not. One of the ways that stores can combat showrooming is by carrying products that aren't commonly available through other sources. It is one of the reasons I love to carry small, independent designers who create limited amounts of product. And we always ground ship anywhere in the US at no cost with no purchase thresholds to meet for free shipping. And while Zoe would never do this, some stores in the UK have instituted a browsing fee that is refundable if the customer makes a purchase! (That is extreme!)
The American Independent Business Alliance had a great article on why communities and local governments (as well as local businesses) should want to combat showrooming. Next time you are considering showrooming, think about the impact on your favorite businesses!