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Clicks or Bricks? Retail Businesses Aren't Just Choosing One

In 2020, it is rare for a brick and mortar business not to have an online presence. It is important to supplement their storefront with dedicated online platforms, including a web-based marketplace, social media profiles, an email presence, and the like. This is the concept behind “clicks and bricks”.

Click and brick, as described, is business model for merchants operating both an online store and a physical retail outlet. In other terms, click and brick lends to the notion that retailers give their customers both an online and offline channel to conduct business. Modern trends show clearly that the e-commerce industry is tremendously gaining traction. Still, regardless, it has been a "must" priority for most retailers to have physical premises as well. This explains why most retailers take steps to sync the two together.

On the other hand, there are businesses that have started off online, and grow to need a physical store. They will step out of their virtual platform to build physical stores in cities and neighborhoods where consumers can see, touch, try out/on their merchandise.

Making your business digitally visible is quite useful in a number of ways. But thanks to the prevalence of third-party ecommerce platforms (the "click" of brick and click) which neutralizes the imbalance, a physical store owner can now make the most out of both their stationary and online spaces.

Running a Click and Brick Business

Retailers in this day and age need access to appropriate data from their e-commerce sites and the physical stores in order to get a better idea of its customers' wants, behaviors and buying trends. Fortunately, mainstream online sales channels seem to be automated and straightforward. All you need to do is get acquainted with tools such as Google Trends and Google Analytics to gain accurate insights. In doing so, business owners are better able to track their sales, inventory and demand, among other important metrics to keep their businesses alive and thriving.

To enhance the shopping experience, sellers today also need a sturdy card reading system that integrates with a comprehensive point of sale system. After all, we can't ignore the number of customers who prefer using advanced payment methods such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, along with those who prefer to shop online. Such a tipping point is significant enough to incorporate in a click and brick store. That way, transactions can be monitored both on the web and in-person, thus streamlining the sales monitoring pipeline. But that doesn’t mean a digital payment system designates online-only business. With a renewed interested in leisure shopping and browsing, there are many individuals who prefer the access to a stationary store – a place where they can see, feel, test, try on, and physically review an item before deciding to make a purchase.

The Stationary Store Preference

Many "traditional" shoppers prefer to choose the nearest shopping center or brick and mortar store over shopping online. As previously mentioned, one of the benefits of store shopping is the ability to interact with a product or service before committing to a purchase. Though there are tech-savvy millennials and generations z’s who exhibit higher online-shopping habits, that's still not to say all of them have the patience to wait for an online order to get processed, shipped and delivered.

This unfolds one weighty reason as to why an ecommerce merchant benefit from setting up a shop somewhere close to the market demand. If a customer experiences any persistent delays with the delivery, they'll definitely opt out of online shopping. As a result, they end up going for the physical store.

The Best of Both Worlds

There is also a Hybrid shopper out there – one who enjoys the interaction with a product but also prefers not to hassle with taking boxes and bags home. This shopper is used to having products delivered, and is accustomed to the routine that it requires. As a result, many of the “brick” locations allow you to touch and feel the product, then “click” in the store to pay and have the product delivered. Many of these store locations have very little inventory on hand, relying primarily on delivery from the warehouse to the customer.

Case in point is the King Street Shopping District in Historic Charleston, South Carolina. Many retailers, including William Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and West Elm have traditional “brick” locations with little inventory in stock. The majority of their customers relish the in-store experience and “click” on their way home to complete the purchase.

Putting the “Brick” in Brick and Click

The team of independent appraisers at Valbridge specialize in appraising all types of property across the U.S. That means that we have in-depth knowledge of many markets and have the local expertise to understand the how and why of retail.  

Valbridge appraisers evaluate commercial property based on objective criteria, in-depth knowledge of local property markets, and the unique market and niche of your business. We pair that information with our time-tested judgement to find the ideal property for your business.  We identify and analyze the variables that affect value, often seeing what others don’t see based on our expertise and independence.

Whether you’re just getting started with setting up a click and brick business, or you’re ready to operate a stationary space to supplement your online marketplace, Valbridge is here to help. Get in touch with us today to learn more.