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What Is Click-and-Mortar Business and How Does It Work?

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As the retail markets evolve, there is no question that retailers should evolve as well and look to improve themselves. Retail sales worldwide dropped by 3% due to the pandemic we went through in 2020 while eCommerce performed above expectations during the year. As per the projection of Statista, eCommerce sales will have an increasing slice of the whole retail market in the upcoming years. It is estimated that the total eCommerce sales will account for almost 22% of the whole retail market. With the constantly improving online access across countries around the world and the pandemic still among us, there is no question that going online either in full or partially with your business is something you need to look into in the future.

For this reason, when you are operating a brick-and-mortar store, an online shop is no longer a niche to have but an essential if you want to be competitive in the market. Also, when you have an eCommerce store, creating a physical pick-up location might be highly beneficial for you as you can avoid using couriers and get your customers to pay delivery fees. If you are wondering how you can do this, just keep reading further and get yourself familiar with the click-and-mortar business model.

What is a click-and-mortar business?

First, let’s see what is the definition of a click-and-mortar business to better understand this concept. A click-and-mortar business is referred to as a business that has both online and offline operations and that follows an omnichannel approach. These mainly consist of an online shop and a physical store or stores at multiple locations. This business model provides your customers with the benefit of fast and easy online transactions while they can pick up their ordered goods from a physical location. This will not only enable them to compare prices online and decide on buying the product when it is the most convenient for them but at the same time receive that face-to-face service many are still seeking.

Why would a click-and-mortar business be beneficial?

Potentially lowering your costs

By establishing a click-and-mortar business you can reduce internal costs such as labor, shipping, and inventory holding on-site. When you are operating a solely brick and mortar store that means that you need to hire a high number of personnel to assist your customers through the whole purchasing process. But when you have a click-and-mortar business, you can reduce this number as you would only need a few people to be on site. The rest of the business will be operated online which is less expensive to set up, operate and there are multiple options for automation as well.

This also works the other way around when you are starting off with an eCommerce store and adding a physical location as well. By adding a physical storefront you can significantly lower your marketing costs while increasing the traffic in your online store. Also, it will help you to increase your brand recognition and get your customers more engaged with your brand. These storefronts can serve as showrooms where your customers can familiarize themselves with the product and then make a purchase online. Many companies installed online kiosks in their showrooms where customers can order the goods they want directly from the store.

Reach a wider market

While only having physical locations, you can only target customers locally. On the other hand, an online shop provides you with access to a much broader, even international market. Moreover, your customers will be able to access your product offering, information on your products, and make a purchase any time around the clock without having to visit a physical location. Those who first meet your products online but prefer to try them or see them first handed before making a purchase can still visit your brick-and-mortar store.

Offer a wider range of services

Having both a physical store and an eCommerce shop helps you to offer a wider range of services to your customers. When running a click-and-mortar business you provide the opportunity to your customers to visit your physical location and familiarize themselves with your brand first hand before making a purchase. Once they engage with your brand, you have better chances of making a sale either in-store or on your website that they can access around the clock. When you are having a click-and-mortar business, you can also offer the flexibility to your customers to decide on how they wish to make a return if they need to. Many will be glad to see that there are several options and pick the one that best serves their convenience.

Get to know your customers better

Having an online store besides your brick-and-mortar store can help you collect much more data on your customers than you would be able to collect while they are browsing or shopping from your product offering in your physical store. A click-and-mortar business setup allows you to monitor your customers’ purchasing behavior and the products and promotions they are potentially interested in. This way you will be able to merge your sales strategies and learn about your customers’ habits both when they are shopping online and offline. Also, by advertising online you can easily gather important data which then you could use for target marketing or re-marketing. This way you will be able to target them with further offers, buying guides, and detailed information on products they have expressed an interest in.

How to integrate your online and offline stores?

Now that you know the potential benefits of operating a click-and-mortar business, you might be wondering how this works in real life. In the next section of this article, we will guide you through the necessary steps you will need to take.

Connect with a reliable supplier that can support your online and offline operations

By having the supplier that best fits your click-and-mortar business you can make your life a lot easier. For example, when you consider operating a brick-and-mortar location and an online business as well, BrandsGateway could be your perfect to-go supplier to partner with. With its wholesale buying option, you can stock up both your physical store and online store with the best-selling products or those you feel that will appeal the most to your local clientele. In the meantime, if you don’t want to deal with shipping, you can also easily transform your online store into a dropshipping store where you can integrate BrandsGateway’s whole product catalog and offer a wider selection to a wider audience.

If this is something that would be appealing to you and a good suit for your business you might need to gain more in-depth knowledge on dropshipping and the trends that will shape this business segment during 2021.

Use the same system for all your sales channels

When creating a click-and-mortar business, undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges is integrating your sales systems both in your digital and physical stores. Without the adequate level of integration, you would be risking losing the count of your inventory and you might accidentally end up overselling your stock. For this reason, the best solution could be to use one point-of-sale (POS) system for both your offline and online operations.

Provide several fulfillment options

In the case of a click-and-mortar store, providing several fulfillment options to your customers is vital. Whether your customers are ordering from your eCommerce or your brick-and-mortar store, make sure that they have the options to get the product delivered to them or arrange a pick up at your physical store. If they opt for the delivery, you should be offering several delivery speeds and rates for everyone to find the ideal option for themselves.

Equip your brick-and-mortar store with technology

While so far the biggest focus was on providing the best possible physical experience and the most information possible in the online sphere, now adding digital technology to a physical store is gaining more and more awareness. Customers want the in-person shopping experience to be as streamlined as possible with which technology can be a huge help for you. These can include a number of solutions to make the purchasing decision faster and easier for your customers. For example, you can include digital signage in your physical store so your customers find the products they are looking for easier. Also, you can install ordering and contactless payment kiosks around your shop as well that allow your customers to place an online order for the products they liked in your showroom.

Keep an eye out for new channels

Having a click-and-mortar store does not mean that you are benefitting from all sales channels you could on the market. The online sphere has many other opportunities besides an online store that you can expand into and pursue. The more channels you expand to, the more people you can potentially reach with your brand. So, once you are operating a successful click-and-mortar business look into other channels such as social media and online marketplaces as well.

To conclude

Now that you are familiar with all the benefits of having a click-and-mortar business and you have a guide on how to set it up you have all the basic knowledge to tap into a new market and start attracting a wider audience. It is important that you keep an eye out for new trends and click-and-mortar market leaders. This will allow you to see what are the new ways you can marry technology and the traditional brick-and-mortar store format in order to better serve your customers and create a unique customer experience.

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About the Author

Lilla Stefanovszky

Fashion marketing professional turned digital marketer. My name is Lilla and I have been working in the fashion industry for 5 years. Currently working at BrandsGateway and helping with the development of the marketing strategy and on occasions writing articles for our audience. When away form the computer, I enjoy outdoors and running with my dogs.

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