Brick and Mortar Stores Vs Online: How To Combine The Two

The rumors that brick and mortar stores will eventually phase out are more frequent than ever. Especially with the newest numbers released on how many stores are closing just this year. The online retail and e-commerce sites seem to be taking over and forcing their way through to consumers.

While total retail sales rose 3.6 percent from 2016 to 2017, the start of the e-commerce explosion, brick and mortar stores contributed to that amount as well.

In fact, brick and mortar stores have increased in sales by at least two percent every year since 2016. All together the percentage for total retail sales in brick and mortar and e-commerce has risen 5.1 percent from 2007 to over 13% in 2018.

Though online and e-commerce companies have taken off recently; brick and mortar stores remain tried-and-true for some consumers. Both channels offer their own pros and cons but using the two together can achieve a better overall outcome for the company.

It is important for companies to understand the differences that each channel has to offer and the benefits once they are combined.

Why Consumers Shop at Brick-And-Mortar Stores.

There are several types of consumers. There are consumers that compare every detail of a product to others including prices, material, where the product is made and much more. There are also consumers that window shop, and consumers who only go in a store to get exactly what they need and get out.

These are all defining factors of what type of person and who shops in brick and mortar stores. Brick and mortar stores seem to pull in a very diverse group of people.

The average person who shops in a brick and mortar store is millennials or anyone under the age of 35, and senior citizens, anyone over the age of 65 or retired.

Though these groups are very different, they both have one main thing in common. TIME. Consumers in their early twenties and mid-sixties rarely have children in their home and they may not work much, or at all. This allows them to spend the extra time to go to a physical store rather than ordering online.

Consumers shopping in a physical location get the immediate gratification of being able to pick up a product and take it home with them that day. Online, however, you must wait a few days for shipping. Not to mention the additional charge in paying for shipping some stores have.

Handling returns and exchanges are also a big factor for why someone would shop in a physical store rather than online.

For women, the most purchased item in stores is clothes. Many women find that not every store fits the same, so trying on clothes before buying them is a must. The consumer may be searching for a certain style, fit, color and shape of a product that is too hard to differentiate online.

Why Consumers Choose To Shop Online.

Over the past couple of years, online shopping has vastly increased, including what all you can now purchase online. We can now order groceries, takeout, or even a car on your phone and pay for it online or through an app. The options for online shopping is no longer limited to clothes and things held in department stores.

Many e-commerce businesses don’t even sell physical products, but they sell systems, programs, classes, and even eBooks.

With all the different options that online shopping has, it is made for the convenience of the consumers. While most stores close at night, online companies are always open. This includes all hours of the day and even holidays.

When shopping in a brick and mortar store, many stops to eat or get a snack, spending more money than they had hoped or planned. In an online store, this does not happen. There are also fewer impulse purchases when shopping online since they are not seeing the point of sale items when they are checking out.

Online stores allow consumers to be laser-focused on why they are on the site and what they intend to purchase. They do not have to worry about a pesky salesperson constantly approaching them while they shop. While consumers shopping in brick and mortar stores stand in lines and make their way through a crowded area, online stores rarely have ques to wait in.

The consumer can shop from anywhere, resulting in their being no commute, leaving more time for shopping

Why Some Consumers Use Multiple Channels for Their Shopping:

Many consumers do not just choose one channel for their shopping needs; they use both. For some online retailers, some consumers are on the website solely to review a product and compare prices rather than purchasing through the online portal.

When considering purchasing a new product, many will go online and research the product just to find out that their local brick and mortar store does not carry it.

This is when a potential brick and mortar sale turns into an online sale.

Often shoppers go to the brick and mortar store to get a feeling for the product or what it might look like and then purchase the larger piece online since it will have to be shipped anyway. Or vice versa and the consumer buys a larger piece in-store and needs accessories or some additions after the purchase; so they order online for convenience.

Consumers are always searching for deals. Even if a customer is predominantly a brick and mortar shopper, when it’s offered online for cheaper, they are most likely going with that option.

There are many people who will shop at both stores for convenience. They may be in the area and stop at the physical location, or they may be states away from the closest store, so they choose to support the company by ordering online.

Effects Of Combining Two Channels:

Focusing solely on one channel allows a company to become hyper-focused with its merchandising and marketing efforts to ensure that they are capturing the attention of their consumers.

Brick and mortar stores must keep a close eye on prices not only with other physical companies but also online retailers. While online retailers must make sure their website is sharp, sleek and laid out perfectly with easy to find tabs.

There are benefits and downfalls to both channels; however, combining the two channels can reach a much larger target audience. In return, overall sales will increase by implementing more options and ways for a consumer to shop.

Some customers may like to look around and physically touch what they will purchase, desiring to go into a physical store. After comparing it with competitors, they could end up purchasing products online. This is a great example of using both channels for one big purchase.

Overall, consumers love options. Consumers want what is best and most convenient for them. While some customers show loyalty to certain companies, many consumers go with what is easiest. Combining the two channels will give companies a greater outcome for reaching more consumers. This will help not only profit margins but will also grab consumers that may have slipped through the cracks if other channels were not offered.