So, you have heard Best Buy is closing 50 selected stores, but do you wonder why? Best Buy is the behemoth of brick and mortar electronic stores, and it’s a surprise for people to hear Best Buy is closing down 50 selected stores. Some people think when Best Buy is frantic over losing profitability to online stores and have to reorganize their business model and structure, it’s a telltale sign of the end of brick and mortar stores in general. I think it’s quite the opposite! No, I’m not meaning that Best Buy will be OK or not OK, because I don’t know the future! What I do know is that brick and mortar stores have some advantages over online stores, but some brick and mortar stores are just so underestimating the online competitors or shooting themselves in the foot.
What advantages of brick and mortar stores have over online stores? Let me mention few examples. The first example is that brick and mortar stores can sell the products to their customers right away, because the customers don’t have to wait for their products to be shipped to them however many days later. This is a very important point! When people want something, they want it quick! They want to have that wish of theirs to be granted quick, because one more day to wait is one more day to dream about something they want so bad. When brick and mortar stores fail to cut prices of their products low enough or provide services that are attractive enough, the incentive isn’t there and so the customers might as well measure the pain between waiting for a product online to be shipped or dealing with the headaches of shopping in brick and mortar stores. I think the main point is to make the advantages of shopping with brick and mortar stores stand out like an oasis in a desert.
Have you heard how postal service might want to save cost by cutting back a day or two for delivering mails and physical packages? You see, ordering online products can be expensive if the postal service gets less efficient and practical, because the private delivery services can then raise prices as there is one less competitor in the market (i.e., the government). This is why I think it’s bad idea for postal service to go out of business, but I’ve digressed. Anyway, brick and mortar stores have the advantage of allowing people to see that they don’t have to deal with the headaches of shipping. When selling products in brick and mortar stores, the shipping should not even be considered as the part of the business model unless the brick and mortar stores carry products in huge sizes (i.e., that cannot be hauled away by customers’ vehicles). When shipping has to be included in the brick and mortar business model, the shipping has to be less painful than how customers have to deal with online stores’ delivery services.
Brick and mortar stores have the advantage of allowing the customers just to walk in and return/switch products as long the products aren’t being used past however many days, according to a product return policy. Online stores’ do allow people to return products, but the wait between the shippings is just not so enticing! Whenever a business model has a delay variable in it, there is less incentive for the customers to be attracted to such business model. I think as long brick and mortar stores write good product return policy (i.e., within reasons for both customers and the business), I can see the customers prefer to shop with brick and mortar stores since they can return or switch the products within couple hours. I don’t think online stores can do that!
Brick and mortar stores should concentrate on providing excellent services. When I talk about excellent services, I mean the display of the products, the customer service, and the whole nine yard. You see, online stores only have digital pictures and reviews and testimonies to boost the trust of certain products, but brick and mortar stores have the direct connection to their customers. It’s befuddled me to see a direct connection to the customers is losing out to something less direct such as digital images and unknown reviews/testimonies. Sure, popular online stores have the well known brand to back their products, but popular brand names can only back the products so far. One example of the resiliency of popular brand names is the trust of delivering the products to customers fast and safe, but I don’t think the resiliency of popular brand names can guarantee that the customers will be 100% satisfactory with the products they purchase through online stores. A direct connection with the customers through brick and mortar stores is instantaneous, therefore the customer service representatives can help solve the customers’ problems right in the stores. When the customer service representatives fail to help the customers in the stores on a constant basis, how do you expect to have the brick and mortar business that is capable in competing against the super efficient online stores?
Brick and mortar stores can become the showrooms for online stores when prices of the products within the stores are pricing at unreasonable prices! When the prices of the products are just a tad more expensive than online stores’ products, I think the customers rather buy their products through brick and mortar stores right away since they don’t have to wait for the products to be shipped. Some popular online stores ship their products super fast, but the customers might just want to carry the products home and try the products out in an hour or two later. This is why I think brick and mortar stores have to track the prices of online stores so they can price their products competitively.
I don’t go to business school, and yet I’m able to provide few pointers to brick and mortar stores. How come? It’s all about common sense I think. Not to brag, but I think any customer can come up with the same pointers as I had. Of course, I might have missed many more pointers, but I don’t intent to sit and think so hard on this matter (i.e., I’m not running a brick and mortar store). In fact, I just want to prove how easy it’s for a customer like me to raise a few pointers in regarding to how to improve brick and mortar stores! In the end, I think brick and mortar stores can compete against online stores if they do it right! Plus, brick and mortar stores can also have online presences easily since creating online stores isn’t too hard or expensive nowadays. What’s better to have an excellent operation going on through brick and mortar stores and then providing even more capable online presence? That’s a killer combo I think!
- Direct Line To Consumer is the Future (seanmalstrom.wordpress.com)
- Where to Buy Running Shoes – Brick and Mortar Vs Online Stores (fashionairmax.wordpress.com)
- Need a Chicago Brick and Mortar Store with Obama Merchandise (ask.metafilter.com)
- Could 40% Of Brick & Mortar Stores Close By 2017? Retail Experts Say Yes! (glamour.com)
- Little Independent: An online marketplace for brick and mortar stores (thenextweb.com)
- Rumor: Amazon opening a brick-and-mortar store (news.consumerreports.org)
- Best Buy Closing 50 Stores, Will Refocus Efforts On E-Commerce, Customer Service (inquisitr.com)
- Books a Million refuses to carry Amazon-published titles; Amazon may open brick and mortar stores (teleread.com)
- Brick and mortar stores are alive and well (experiencesfromthestorefront.com)
- Use Foursquare to sell products even if you don’t have brick and mortar locations (cruc.es)