A new retail model has emerged based on a hybrid of physical and digital sales known as "bricks-and-clicks". This concept has helped diminish market perceptions that the era of the brick-and-mortar store is over. The booming popularity of online shopping has been so disruptive that traditional retailers have decided to embrace the direction of modern consumer shopping trends. The offline-online hybrid store model is giving physical retailers a new life.
Reasons for Becoming a Bricks-and-Clicks Retailer
This new "click-and-mortar" business model is steadily gaining adoption by traditional retailers for multiple reasons. Despite declining in-store sales in 2020 due to the pandemic, many shoppers showed up in physical establishments based on internet research.
E-commerce purchasing accounted for about 12 percent of retail sales in 2020. This market segment can be further broken down into "buy online, pick up in-store" (BOPIS) and "ship-from-store" sales. In 2019, over 75 percent of Canadian holiday shoppers conducted online research with a mobile app as part of their purchasing process.
It's clear that consumers aren't about to stop using smartphones as part of the shopping experience. Since that's the case, physical retailers have a choice to make if they want to remain in competition with online retailers.
Bricks-And-Clicks Retailer Transformation
Since there are so many marketing channels available now to businesses, smaller companies may want to focus on specific channels. Larger companies are more likely to have adequate resources for venturing into widespread omnichannel marketing. Here are some of the channels used in the bricks-and-clicks space.
- Online Storefronts - It's easy to set up professional online storefronts with existing platforms such as Shopify, Big Commerce, and WooCommerce. These sites provide tools and templates, although they require plenty of customization to avoid looking generic. Remember that mobile users, who are the most ready-to-buy shoppers, expect a mobile-friendly experience. Content must look clear on small screens.
- Social Media Pages - One of the most powerful commercial uses of social media is brand building. Social media also allows for digital transactions with buyer and seller tools, as well as customized campaigns. The number of retailers using social media in the past decade has grown from below 20 percent to over 33 percent.
- Third-Party Marketplaces - Amazon, eBay, and various other online marketplaces allow you to tap into existing markets of online shoppers. Listing products on these platforms can help move sales on a global level. These popular platforms bring millions of buyers and sellers together to potentially move products more quickly than other channels.
- Comparison Shopping Engines - Similar to third-party marketplaces, comparison shopping engines allow consumers to compare prices and find the best deals. You can sell your products on these platforms through Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, and similar sites to compete in the comparison of products.
In order to maximize multiple channels in your marketing, you'll need to set up your backend operations for big data collection, which will generate plenty of analytics. You can then use the data to analyze the customer experience so you can make adjustments to your campaigns accordingly.
Bricks-and-Clicks Success Stories
Online stores have grabbed the headlines in recent years, so many physical establishments are responding by going more digital. Adopting a hybrid model is becoming more common. Here are a few merchants that have successfully transformed to selling online and offline:
- Lammes Candies - Based in Austin, Texas, this candy store chain has five physical stores, each connected with e-commerce. In order to get an edge over the increased competition, it was vital for the brand to present itself with a modern interactive website. The brand has attracted interest by emphasizing relevance and authenticity in its content.
- TYLER’S - Launched in 1978, this Tyler, Texas-based retailer has evolved from specializing in tennis and running products to aiming for a broader market. The brand now encompasses apparel, footwear, and accessories available in its nine Texas locations. Tyler's has sustained its market by enhancing the customer experience via social media retargeting on Facebook and Instagram. Other improvements have been made on navigation, search, email marketing, and fraud protection.