Brick & Mortar: Dying Trend or a Necessity for Holiday Sales?

brick mortar public relations 04.01.16

Many people have written off the brick and mortar stores, saying in effect that they aren’t relevant anymore. They cite the increase of online sales and the ease of shopping for things on the Internet opposed to the store. It can be said that online sales drive most of the holiday sales. It can also be said however that brick and mortar stores still play a vital role in holiday sales. The need for instant gratification that you really don’t get online is still one of the most persuasive drivers for the continuing need for brick and mortar stores. On the other hand, brick and mortar stores sometimes don’t have the right product available.

There are positive and negative aspects to both brick and mortar stores and online stores. There are also ways that both can work together to drive customers to purchase product. The key is to capitalize on the positive aspects of both to serve the customers’ needs. This is beginning to happen now in some key markets. Combining the online search feature and matching the product to have it available at the store is a great way to drive customers to the store. It shows that the company is willing to help the customer get what they need quickly without worrying about shipping and handling fees.

Another good thing about combining the positive aspects of online shopping with in-store purchasing is that it improves the local economy and creates jobs. Contrary to what some people say, brick and mortar stores still play an integral role in creating jobs and increasing sales. The necessity of having brick and mortar stores can’t be emphasized enough.

Online sales are here to stay. It’s a given that it is so easy to click on a product online, pay for it and get it shipped directly to your home. The deep discounts online also drive people to shop online, opposed to at a brick and mortar store. Vast selections of products that rival any brick and mortar store await the person willing to browse the online store. Online stores are open 24/7 and usually have good customer service feedback.

The drawbacks of online sales are few. Some would even argue that no one goes to a physical store anymore. This isn’t true. You can’t physically see the product in an online store or test it out. You’re at the mercy of the shipping company’s schedule. You risk security breaches from unsecure websites.

The necessity of a physical store has proven itself in the past year or so. Online sales, brisk as they sometimes are, will not replace the physical browsing of product at a store. The buildup of a famous store isn’t possible without the physical presence of a product. Being able to purchase something physically and have it immediately still trumps ordering products online and having to wait for them. Having the ability to try things on isn’t something you can do online. Paying cash and not worrying about security is priceless.

Yes, there are many drawbacks for physical store sales. One of the most glaring deficiencies is the lack of product available. Physical stores only have a limited space to display product. Physical stores have set hours. Long lines and long waits are common, especially during the holiday season. You have to deal with parking issues and availability. Clerks are sometimes rude and don’t have the right information for you to make an intelligent decision about a product.

Pop-up stores have been discussed as a way to incorporate the positive aspects of having the right products physically available. They do fulfill a need for customers to physically see the product before purchasing it. They can also be a temporary answer for businesses wanting to sell their product for a limited time period.

Many vendors in the past have set up these pop-up stores to sell unique products in malls and shopping centers. A good way to utilize both the online aspects of selling products while still having a physical presence is to promote discounts for visiting the online store and printing out coupons to be used in the physical location.

Brick and mortar stores have a good reputation for driving holiday sales. It is because of this reputation that many customers still visit their stores, even if they are only online. The driving force of a famous store that has garnered a strong reputation offline will garner more sales online.

The combination of both physical and online stores is a “win-win” for the customer and for the business. The brick and mortar location is far from dead as some suppose it is. Working together in create a whole new shopping experience will revitalize local communities and online portals for years to come. Pop-up stores will also be part of the equation in the future.


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