Click-and-mortar is a new business model also known as “clicks to bricks” or “omnichannel” selling. This method of retail was developed in order to help retailers reach more customers, more often and in more ways. The pandemic also spurred on this trend with retailers quickly redeveloping their models to accommodate rolling lockdowns and channel disruptions. As a result, more and more we are seeing this model where retailers have both an online and in-person mode of selling. Here, retailers merge online and offline sales channels in an effort to streamline the customer’s entire shopping experience. In this way, customers can now choose how to buy from their favourite retailer and this composite approach to selling gives click-and-mortar retailers the edge over those who only specialize in one channel. 

Click-and-mortar vs. Brick-and-mortar

The first and most obvious difference between the two is that brick-and-mortar stores only have a physical storefront and only sell to their customers in person, while click-and-mortar stores will have both an in-person and online app-based or website presence. Click-and-mortar stores typically accept many different types of payment methods from debit, to credit, to Zapper, to SnapScan, to e-Wallets, and they may even accept EFT payments. Bricks-and-mortar stores however may also accept these payments but will place a stronger emphasis on cash and credit card transactions. When it comes to marketing, click-and-mortar stores may prefer to focus on digital marketing opportunities, while brick-and-mortar stores may choose a hybrid with some aspects of traditional marketing that wouldn’t be as relevant to digital stores.

What are the advantages of click-and-mortar retail?

A much larger market

Bricks-and-mortar stores are geographically bound and rely on customers going to the effort of seeking them out and coming in-store. While this offers a great in-store experience of the brand, it requires effort and may not be the most convenient option for the customer. However, click-and-mortar stores can harness this aspect with the added advantage of being in many places at once. This gives you access to a much wider market geographically and more space covered means more potential customers and a better bottom line. 

More opportunities to serve your customer

Customers care about how they can find you again in the event that they are unhappy, confused about their purchase, or if they simply want to buy from you again. So a big pro of click-and-mortar stores is that they offer different forms of after-sales services which can happen both online and in person. This encourages confidence in the customer as they will be willing to risk investment and be likely to buy again if the initial experience is convenient and satisfactory. Click-and-mortar buying also empowers the customer with time-saving opportunities as they can buy online and choose to pick it up at their convenience. 

What are the disadvantages of click-and-mortar retail?

More management

A big challenge of this model is that many channels require effective management. It can be very challenging to monitor and streamline all these operations. Channel conflict can be a real concern where one part of the business isn’t communicating effectively with another. To combat this, you need to ensure that your process is digitized and integrated so that all touch points are under control. When you try to do too many things all at once, you risk confusing your customer and dropping the ball. So if you diversify into click-and-mortar it is essential that your operations can handle the move, while maintaining high standards across the business at large.  

Higher costs and intricate systems

Another challenge with converting your brick-and-mortar into click-and-mortar is that it comes with a high price tag. This may take the form of building an app, upgrading your website, marketing through multiple channels, and hiring staff to coordinate your systems simultaneously. These can be very costly.

Cyber crime 

Cybercrime is an invisible threat that all online businesses need to be aware of. In the online space, customer information is vulnerable in ways that aren’t of real concern in physical retail spaces. So e-stores need to have all the right information protection in place and have a strong technical team to support the store in the event of a breach. 

The bottom line

The pandemic has created a sharp incline in click-and-mortar stores which are now straddling online and in-person channels. Click-and-mortar offers many pros and can be an effective way to naturally extend your retail presence. All the while understanding that this is a strategic decision that requires thought-out planning, and effective funding to support your growth ambitions. For more information on how to fund your click-and-mortar store in the next 48 hours, consider a Merchant Capital Cash Advance

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