+1 800 967-0030

What Does Brick And Mortar Mean To Retailers Now?

In a retail environment where it seems like there are a lot more clicks than bricks these days, retailers, their employers and shoppers alike wonder what the future holds for old-fashioned brick-and-mortar shops. According to the National Retail Federation, just 21 percent of consumers made purchases in-store over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018. Is this another sign that physical retail is dying a slow death?

Brick and Mortar Finds New Ways to Stay Relevant

For most of their histories, traditional stores have been the end point of the supply chain. This worked out well for them. Customers could pop in, pick up the toaster, vacuum cleaner or television of their wildest dreams and then drive it home the same day. Easy as pie. Except that retailers had the tricky job of having to predict what customers were going to want tomorrow when it was still last week.

This challenge could lead to overstocks or returns when the in-store selection proved inadequate. And once the Internet became the world’s biggest shopping mall, all bets were off.  Experts in every sector said that retail was over and done with. And for a while, it definitely looked that way, especially in low margin sectors like consumer electronics. But then retailers got brave and started experimenting with the customers they still had.

By providing apps to help navigate the store, track loyalty programs and display a list of other nearby stores that have an out of stock item available for purchase, retailers took their first big step toward remaining useful.

Retail’s Core Benefit: Experiences

Unlike Internet retailers, which are not really able to demonstrate their products in real life, a brick-and-mortar retailer has lots of products to show off. This is where they shine, it just look them a while to figure out that their survival depended on being the best place to try out the newest laptop. This year’s Thanksgiving weekend may have favored strictly online shopping to strictly offline shopping, but it was dominated by multichannel purchases, which claimed 54 percent of the shoppers surveyed by the NRF.  

Did the Retail Grinch’s Heart Grow Three Sizes that Day?

By taking the convenience and easy comparison shopping of online stores and marrying it with the showplace concept in every kind of facility possible, from pop-ups to well-known retail operations, something new happened. It didn’t happen overnight, it wasn’t magic, it may have even just been the natural evolution of retail. Rather than leading with pushy, overworked salespeople, retailers hired people to act more like brand ambassadors. After all, everyone knows you can look up reviews for anything online in about two seconds using a smartphone, so there’s no point in puffing the features of a particular product. What these retailers did instead was to offer help finding the perfect gift, even if they did manage to sneak in an upsell here and there.  But is it really an unwanted upsell if you go to a store to buy a smart hub and end up leaving with that plus devices to use with it?

Brick and mortar is still trying to find a good fit in the retail landscape, but the more these stores become giant showrooms with experts who can help you buy the ideal among the bigger ticket items, the better it will be for them and their supply chain partners.

February 20, 2019
Share This:

Related Posts


Real-Time Order Tracking Or Bust

Gps tracking map. Track navigation pins on street maps, navigate mapping technology and locate position pin. Futuristic travel gps map or location navigator vector illustration “Where is my order?” “When will my package arrive?” If you are inundated with questions...

First In, First Out Warehousing and Fulfillment

Are you a seasoned inventory manager? If so, the acronym FIFO - which stands for First In, First Out - might be a familiar term to you. Put simply, the items are sold in the order they are received in the store or warehouse. FIFO is the go-to inventory management...

Grow Your Amazon Business With A Standout Listing

Do you sell on Amazon? If so, you are in great company. At the end of 2022, Amazon had over 2 million active sellers worldwide, making it one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world. Businesses have the opportunity to reach millions of customers in over 180...

Scroll, Click, Buy: How to Sell On Instagram

Do you have an Instagram shop? Instagram Shopping is quickly becoming the preferred way for consumers not only to learn about new brands and products on Instagram, but also to purchase them in just a few simple steps. If you are not already selling directly on...

New Year, New You?

Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to spark positive change, adopt new habits, or even reinvent themselves. The recurring themes each year include a more active approach to health and fitness, improved finances, better relationships,...