Ecommerce vs. Brick & Mortar – Is there room for both?

By the year 2040 NASDAQ has predicted that 95% of all purchases will be made through ecommerce channels.

With so much success in the digital space, do these statistics spell out impending doom for brick-and-mortar retailers? Or will brick-and-mortar retail endure?

People browsing an upscale brick-and-mortar boutique.

Although ecommerce isn’t slowing down anytime soon, neither are traditional brick-and-mortar retail shops, with only 10% of Q1 2019 retail purchases being online, according to the US Census. It’s a total myth that physical retail is dying. Instead, what we’re seeing is its evolution to work alongside ecommerce channels.

How? Think of it this way. Modern shoppers prefer to make their purchases over multiple touchpoints. In-person, on websites, mobile apps, via text messages, and social media with friends are just a few of these channels.

Smiling woman shopping from her favorite boutique from her smartphone

Your brand must be present at all of these not only for happy customer experiences but for the exposure. With multi-channel retailing, your shop becomes seemingly everywhere. It allows you more opportunities to reach current customers and reach new ones.

As a frequent traveler, it’s exciting to visit a niche boutique somewhere and find out they have an online store to shop from later. This hybrid sales model captures shoppers in ways they’ll participate in on their terms. It also allows retailers to build face to face relationships and continue them online, seamlessly.

A boutique cashier talks to a customer making a purchase

Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) is an excellent example of how Brick-and-Mortar retailers are winning with ecommerce. Picture this – you need a pair of dancing boots, but you don’t want to shop around the mall for hours or drive from one boutique to the next. Instead, get online, find the boots, pick up in-store, and win!

Customers love the convenience, and retailers can benefit just as well. BOPIS increases foot traffic and gives a tremendous opportunity to cross-sell, upsell, and motivate impulse purchases.

Final Thoughts

Simply put, there’s plenty of room for both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retailing. In the future, we will only see more and more efforts to align these channels as they continue to strengthen one another.

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