A brick-and-mortar store is an actual physical store that customers can shop at in person.
Many retail businesses have a combination of an online store and brick and mortar stores. However, traditional brick and mortar businesses often have difficulty competing with purely online businesses, as they have higher overheads.
Some businesses start with an eCommerce model and later open brick and mortar stores as they expand. For example, Amazon started as an eCommerce business but has since also opened physical stores selling books, groceries, and other products.
Is Opening a Brick and Mortar Store Worth It?
Having a brick-and-mortar store gives a retail business more opportunities to engage with its customers by providing in-store events and experiences.
When a business has a brick-and-mortar storefront, it can also make it appear more legitimate to consumers and give them better opportunities to try and return products and resolve issues. Some consumers are wary to give their payment details to a business that has only an online presence.
Having a physical storefront may also be a requirement to become an authorized retailer for certain brands.
However, businesses must weigh up these benefits against the negatives of keeping a brick and mortar store running, including extra expense and administration time to lease the building, pay for utilities, and hiring staff to run and maintain the store.
POS Solutions for Brick and Mortar Stores
While all an eCommerce business needs is some kind of checkout system to take payments, physical stores usually must think more carefully about their point of sale.
Customers may want to pay with cash at a physical store or use other payment methods that are not typically accepted by eCommerce websites.
It’s also critical to ensure inventory and sales are integrated between the online and offline presence of your business to avoid stock shortages. This is particularly the case if your inventory is stored on the shop floor and you don’t have separate stock for your website.
Modern POS solutions integrate directly with your eCommerce systems to help staff locate stock, allow customers to pay by different methods, take and update customer information, update your inventory as you make sales, and produce reports on how both your offline and online businesses are performing.
Alternatives to Brick and Mortar Stores
If opening a traditional store is out of your budget or too much hassle, there are other cheaper and easier alternatives. Some options to consider include:
- A pop-up shop or kiosk in a mall or large retailer
- Selling in farmers and craft markets
- Food trucks and mobile units
- Wholesale distribution through other retailers
How Having an eCommerce Site Can Help Your Brick and Mortar Store
Having an omnichannel strategy (selling your products through multiple channels) can help to make sure your retail business is a success.
Consumers like to have options of where they shop, and enabling them to buy products from you both online and in a physical location can optimize your sales.
Many shoppers prefer to look at products in person before shopping on a website and alternately, customers may also look for products online before they browse in-store.
Giving customers the option to collect and return their website purchases in-store and save on shipping costs also provides a better experience and more options to suit their lifestyle.
Your website and online presence can be an important source of foot traffic for your physical store. Google mobile searches are more likely to recommend local businesses that have an established online presence.
Getting casual browsers to sign up to your mailing list and retargeting them with online advertising is also a great way to grow your customer base and keep your customers informed of in-store events and special promotions.