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What is the Brick-And-Click Dilemma?

Brick-and-clicks is a term you may hear when exploring eCommerce options for your physical business.

Usually, this term is applied to companies like yours that are looking to enter the eCommerce realm, but retailers already in the fray may also find it applicable. The dilemma that today’s retailers face with their bricks-and-clicks systems is a lack of precedent for establishing their fulfillment configuration. There’s no one system that works for every company, which makes jumping into eCommerce product fulfillment a bit of a pickle.

Bricks-and-Clicks for Small Business

Large companies like Walmart and IKEA have spent millions of dollars getting their bricks-and-clicks organized properly, but for a company with a smaller budget, this can be a trying proposition. Rather than give up your retail location entirely, or scrap the idea of having an online store, you need to find a way to serve both to the best of your ability.

These are a few examples of how other businesses have managed their arms:

  • Omnichannel shopping. Giving your customers the option to choose whether to buy from your physical location or your online shop has been on the table for a while. Omnichannel makes that option cheaper and smarter for you, since your fulfillment can come from any of your stores or warehouses, depending on which is closest to the customer. Order fulfillment is faster for online shoppers and your customers are happier overall. It’s a win-win.
  • Streamlined retail. Increasingly, retailers are responding to pressures from online retail by downsizing their shops or offering fewer products in their established building. Streamlining not only saves you stolen or broken merchandise on your floor, it gives you a chance to really show off your stuff (and your wares).

    Some retailers, like toy giant FAO Schwartz for instance, long ago turned retail into an experience. It’s a tactic that still works to draw customers in when they generally prefer to order items online.

  • Display-only stores. In a display-only store, there’s nothing to sell. Your sales people instead help customers try out items and decide which is best for them so they can then order from your online store. These shops generally deal in electronics, but there’s no reason that you couldn’t do the same with small kitchen appliances, better quality housewares or even home decor. The display-only store has been met with mixed reviews, but if your shipping is fast, they can be a great experience for both retailer and visitor.

The brick-and-click dilemma doesn’t have to be a real problem for your business. If you carefully consider how you want to approach it, you can build a plan with specific targets for accomplishing various phases of integration over time.

April 25, 2017
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