Are you team brick and mortar stores or team online retail stores?
It's a debate that has been raging for years, as consumers and businesses alike grapple with the changing landscape of commerce.
On one hand, you have the classic experience of walking into a store, touching the products, and interacting with knowledgeable salespeople.
On the other hand, you have the convenience and accessibility of shopping from your couch, with endless options at your fingertips.
So, which is better?
In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of each, and help you decide which one is right for you. Let's dive in!
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This is where customers can go to purchase products as they can offer a variety of products, including clothing, electronics, household items, and more.
Such stores range from small boutiques to large department stores and typically employ sales associates who can assist customers with their purchases.
Many retail stores also offer services such as alterations or repairs, gift wrapping, and personal shopping.
Retail sales are expected to rise in the next few years despite the economic downturn that is affecting both US and international markets, rising by almost $5 trillion between 2022 and 2025 to reach about $33 trillion.
Types Of Retail Stores
If you're interested in exploring the world of retail, it's important to understand the different type of retailers that exist.
From big box retailers to specialty boutiques, each type of store serves a unique purpose and caters to different customer needs.
Below is a list of some types:
1. Department Stores:
These are large stores that sell a wide range of products, including clothing, electronics, home goods, and more.
They often have multiple floors and offer a variety of brands and price points. Department stores may also offer services such as alterations, gift wrapping, and personal shopping.
2. Specialty Stores:
These are stores that focus on a particular product category, such as shoes, beauty products, or sporting goods.
They typically offer a narrower range of products than department stores but have a more extensive selection within their specialty category.
3. Discount Stores:
These offer products at lower prices than traditional retailers and often have a smaller selection of products but are known for offering competitive prices.
These often have a wide selection of products like groceries and household items and sometimes they also offer additional services such as a pharmacy or deli.
5. Convenience Stores:
These are small stores that are open 24 hours a day and offer a limited selection of products such as snacks, drinks, and basic household items.
6. Online Retailers:
These are also a type of retailers that sell products through an e-commerce website or mobile application. Online retailers may specialize in a particular product category or offer a wide range of products.
An example of this is a social commerce platform called Markaz. It offers wholesale items and the opportunity to become resellers and earn money online.
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7. Pop-Up Shops:
These are temporary stores that are set up for a limited period, often in response to a particular event or trend. Pop-up shops may be used to test new products or build brand awareness.
In the upcoming year, 32% of brands plan to start using pop-up shops and in-person experiences or increase their current usage.
Brick And Mortar Stores VS Online Stores
Brick and mortar stores refer to businesses that have a physical presence in the real world, such as a store, office, or warehouse. The term "brick and mortar" is used to distinguish these businesses from online-only or virtual businesses that exist solely in the digital realm.
Meanwhile, online retail refers to businesses that sell products or services online through a website or mobile app.
Also known as e-commerce, this type of store has become increasingly popular in recent years, driven by advances in technology, changes in consumer behavior, and the convenience and accessibility of online shopping.
By 2026, it is anticipated that 24% of all retail sales would be conducted online, with the remaining 76% of consumers continuing to value in-person interactions.
Now let’s look at these two in more detail.
Brick And Mortar Stores
Brick and mortar businesses have been around for centuries and have played a critical role in commerce and trade. These businesses provide customers with a tangible, in-person experience and allow them to see, touch, and try products before making a purchase.
They also offer a level of trust and legitimacy that can be difficult to establish with online-only businesses. Brick and mortar businesses come in many different shapes and sizes, from small mom-and-pop shops to large multinational corporations. They may sell a variety of products or services, including clothing, electronics, food, and more.
Note: Global retail sales are anticipated to increase by 4.5% in 2023 and reach $30.3 trillion by the end of the year.
Advantages Of Brick And Mortar Stores
If you're a fan of in-person shopping experiences, these stores have a lot to offer. Here is a list of some of the main advantages.
1. Tangible Experience:
Brick and mortar stores provide a tangible experience for customers. Customers can touch, feel, and see the products they want to buy. This sensory experience can be especially beneficial for products such as clothing, furniture, or electronics.
2. Immediate Gratification:
These stores offer customers the ability to purchase products immediately, without having to wait for shipping or delivery. This can be especially beneficial for customers who need a product right away.
3. Personalized Customer Service:
They offer customers the opportunity to receive personalized customer service from sales associates who can answer questions, provide recommendations, and help with purchases.
4. Brand Awareness:
These stores can help build brand awareness by providing a physical location for customers to engage with a brand. A well-designed store can create a memorable experience for customers and help build brand loyalty.
Disadvantages Of Brick And Mortar Stores
While brick and mortar stores certainly have their benefits, they also have some drawbacks to consider. Here is a list of some of the main disadvantages.
1. Higher Overhead Costs:
They often have higher overhead costs than online retailers, as they must pay for rent, utilities, and employee salaries.
2. Limited Store Hours:
They are often limited by their store hours, which can make it difficult for customers to shop outside of regular business hours.
3. Limited Reach:
They are often limited by their physical location, which can make it difficult to reach customers outside of their local area.
4. Limited Inventory:
They are often limited by their physical space, which can make it difficult to offer a wide selection of products.
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Online retail businesses can range from small, independent shops to large multinational corporations, and they can sell a wide variety of products or services, including clothing, electronics, home goods, food, and more.
They typically offer a range of features and services to make online shopping as easy and convenient as possible for customers, such as search and filtering options, customer reviews and ratings, and various payment and shipping options.
Advantages Of Online Business:
If you prefer the convenience of shopping from your computer or phone, online retail is a great option.
Here is a list of some of the main advantages of online business:
Online retail offers customers the ability to shop from anywhere, at any time. Customers can browse and purchase products from the comfort of their own homes, without having to travel to a physical store.
2. Wider Selection:
They offer customers a wider selection of products than brick and mortar businesses. Online retailers can offer a greater variety of products, as they are not limited by physical store space.
3. Lower Prices:
Online retail can often offer lower prices than brick and mortar businesses, as they have lower overhead costs. Online retailers can pass these savings to customers in the form of lower prices.
They can offer customers personalized shopping experiences through features such as targeted advertising, recommendations based on previous purchases, and customized product suggestions.
Disadvantages Of Online Retail:
While online retail has revolutionized the way we shop, it's not without its downsides. Here is a list of some of the main disadvantages to consider.
1. Lack Of Tangible Experience:
Online retail lacks the tangible, in-person experience that brick and mortar businesses can offer. Customers cannot see, touch, or try on products before making a purchase, which can lead to concerns about quality, fit, or appearance.
2. Shipping Costs:
Online retail often requires shipping costs, which can add to the overall cost of the product.
3. Security Concerns:
Online retail requires customers to provide personal and financial information, which can be a concern for some customers.
4. Limited Customer Service:
Online retail can sometimes lack personalized customer service which can lead to frustration for customers who need assistance with their purchases.
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Future Of Shopping
As technology continues to evolve, the line between brick and mortar stores and online retail will likely continue to blur.
Many traditional retailers are investing in e-commerce platforms and mobile applications to reach a wider audience, while many online retailers are opening physical stores to offer customers the ability to see and touch products before making a purchase.
In conclusion, whether you're a die-hard brick and mortar shopper or an online retail aficionado, there's no denying that both have their advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference and individual needs.
But no matter which side you're on, we can all agree that retail therapy is a real thing, and there's nothing quite like the feeling of finding that perfect item.
So, whether you're hitting the stores or browsing from home, happy shopping!
Is there a future for brick and mortar retail?
Consider the fact that small business income has increased by 53.05% between 2016 and 2022 to see how bright the future is for brick and mortar stores, but only if they can learn from the past and embrace the future.
What will retail look like in 2030?
By 2030, consumers will enjoy seamless social platform purchasing experiences, with smart chatbots cutting down on customer service wait times and user-generated content offering highly personalized experiences.
Which retailer is more profitable?
The most lucrative retail venture in India is a coffee shop, but it takes significant upfront capital.