The term “bricks and clicks” describes a strategy that uses elements from ecommerce sales with traditional brick-and-mortar storefront sales. Though either type of business may be successful, combining them in one business strategy to create one model can be more profitable. If you’re considering this approach, understanding how to form a practical, unified strategy is vital.
In this article, we discuss the bricks-and-clicks business model, provide examples of it in the real world, describe how it works, give tips for succeeding with this model and explain why some customers prefer physical stores.
What is a bricks-and-clicks business model?
A bricks-and-clicks business, also known as a click-and-mortar shop, is a business model where merchants run both an online store and a physical retail outlet. The approach unifies two revenue channels, allowing businesses to expand their client base by opening more opportunities for existing customers to make purchases.
The model can also increase a product’s accessibility to a broader market. While ecommerce is a popular sales technique, businesses may benefit from physical premises for clients who want to purchase or order merchandise in person. Traditional businesses use brick-and-click models to meet clients’ diverse needs. Meanwhile, enhancing visibility through an official website can help a retail store understand more about its customers’ behavior.
Examples of businesses using a combination model
Here are some theoretical examples of businesses using a click-and-mortar method to help improve your understanding of how they may function in the real world:
A local bookstore with a historic physical location serves many local customers who enjoy coming in to browse books and enjoy the cozy atmosphere. To make it easier for customers to find the books they’re looking for, the bookstore opens a website that includes a searchable inventory. Individuals can now order books online or reserve them for in-store pickup, in addition to traditional, in-person browsing and purchasing options.
A sock store opens as an entirely online business, allowing customers to design their socks or pick from a colorful selection of patterns by artists around the world. After achieving success online, the owners decide to open one in-person store location in their founding city. This location allows customers to try on socks before purchasing and use in-store computers to create their designs. There’s also a coffee shop where customers can relax, making the store a destination for events and weekends, improving company sales.
How a bricks-and-clicks strategy works
The model that combines traditional stores and online shopping implements the following principles:
Improves flexibility of operations
A primary goal for businesses that use this model is to give clients more flexibility. For example, retailers with online and physical shopping opportunities allow customers to:
Choose how to make their purchases
Have their merchandise shipped to designated areas
Return goods to the physical stores, gaining access to quick refunds
Avoid shipping costs
Unifies shopping experience
The click-and-mortar model’s two channels strengthen each other for a more cohesive and satisfactory shopping experience. For example, if a customer travels a long distance to a retail store and discovers their favorite merchandise is out of stock, they may decide to shop at a competitor’s establishment. Using this model may prevent this from occurring.
This strategy also effectively strengthens the relationship between businesses and their clients. By syncing inventory across multiple channels, consumers can:
Check online to see whether the items they need are available before placing an order or visiting physical stores
Preorder a new product
Inquire when the item in question may be available in the store
Improves client experience
The unified model caters to diverse customer needs and preferences. Using customer insights to help improve the shopping experience can show that businesses value their relationship with customers. It can even help businesses penetrate new markets and access customers who competing businesses haven’t reached yet. Integrating the two channels enables a business to benefit from both revenue channels to enhance customer experience.
For example, a business can offer an experience where clients order goods online and pick them up in their preferred in-store location. Using this model can enhance customer loyalty.
Increases brand and business growth
The goal of any business strategy is financial success. If a business sees a large increase in sales and orders after implementing a combined in-person and ecommerce strategy, it successfully affects growth and visibility. Reaching more clients with an enhanced shopping experience is vital to achieving this. The combined model offers:
A system to increase brand awareness through integrated marketing strategies
Opportunities for new advertisement approaches
An increase in brand presence both online and offline
A way for businesses to inform customers about newly available products and how to place orders
Tips for a successful combination strategy
Consider the following tips if you’re interested in implementing the click-and-mortar model:
Use the right point of sales (POS) system
An effective POS system is an integral element when implementing the combination of brick-and-mortar and ecommerce models. It’s important to have a system that integrates vital parts of business operations, including:
It should also combine these aspects across online and in-store operations. For example, integrating the POS system with the business website can help effectively manage physical and online retail stores.
Keep a consistent inventory
The combination model lets clients browse the list of products in various ways. Keeping a consistent inventory and syncing it across channels can help ensure:
Customers have an ideal shopping experience
Businesses establish and communicate company shipping and return policies
Retailers can partner with a suitable shipping service provider to fulfill orders in an efficient and cost-effective manner
Invest in mobile optimization
Successful implementation of the combination model includes creating a mobile-friendly website. Businesses need to think about mobile optimization when planning to open an e-commerce branch. Most clients interact with websites from smartphones or tablets, so it’s beneficial to have a website that facilitates fast browsing and order placement on mobile devices.
Pay attention to customer engagement
A successful click-and-mortar model encourages customers to offer feedback through the official website. Engagement tactics include:
Enacting loyalty programs
Giving discounts on products
Engagement shows businesses what customers think about their products and services. Often, customer loyalty also depends on how businesses address issues and show commitment to offering excellent service continually.
Why consumers may prefer a physical location
Several factors play a role in influencing consumers’ choice to buy their products from the nearest physical store over placing an order online. These include:
Time to fulfill orders: The time to fulfill an order online has been a significant concern when choosing between virtual shopping and visiting a physical store. Customers may avoid online shopping if they continuously experience delivery delays and instead decide to visit physical stores.
Physical contact with the product: Traditional shopping models allow customers to have a firsthand experience with the merchandise before deciding to make a purchase, which some individuals value so highly they avoid shopping online. At a physical store, consumers can determine if the goods fulfill their needs and compare them with similar products to make a well-informed decision about the purchase.