- The bricks and clicks business model involve a merchant operating both an online store and a physical retail outlet.
- The bricks and clicks model may describe a physical retail business that establishes an online presence or the reverse scenario. Many businesses in the latter category are direct-to-consumer (D2C brands).
- To be successful, the bricks and clicks model relies on a few key qualities. These include flexible return policies, immersive product displays, augmented browsing, and consistency in inventory. It is also important to integrate the instant gratification of in-store shopping with the convenience of online shopping.
Understanding the bricks and clicks business model
The bricks and clicks business model involve a merchant operating both an online store and a physical retail outlet.
The bricks and clicks business model refers to a combination of a physical retail store (the “brick”) and an eCommerce presence (the “click”). The model allows businesses to take advantage of both sales channels, drive more sales, and increase brand reach.
Nowadays, many businesses can be classified under the bricks and clicks business model because of the importance of having an online presence. Established retailers such as Target and Walmart are two obvious examples of companies that started with retail stores and then expanded into eCommerce.
However, the bricks and clicks model also works in reverse. Companies that started online and then opened real-world retail locations include Casper, Warby Parker, Bonobos, Allbirds, Glossier, Peloton, and even Tesla. Many of these companies, the keen observer will note, are direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands.
What makes the bricks and clicks business model successful?
Here are a few qualities that make the model successful:
- Buy online, pick up in-store – while no one can doubt the popularity of eCommerce, it will never be able to match traditional shopping in terms of instant gratification. But shopping in a store has its own problems such as having to search for an item or standing in a long queue. Brands that utilize the bricks and clicks model combine convenience with instant gratification and allow the customer to get the best of both worlds.
- Consistent inventory – one of the most common customer frustrations is arriving at a physical store to find that a product the website said was in stock is actually out of stock. To combat this, bricks and clicks retailers need to ensure there is consistency between their online and offline inventory systems.
- Flexible return policies – this means that items must be convenient to return irrespective of how they were purchased. The business must allow in-store purchases to be returned in the mail and online purchases to be returned in-store.
- Product displays – for many consumers, one of the only reasons to visit a bricks-and-mortar store is the experience of viewing a product in person. To encourage offline fanatics to interact with its brand online, the business can ensure that its product listings are immersive, interactive, and accurately represent what is being sold.
- Augmented browsing – for better or worse, the sheer diversity of products available online causes some shoppers to become disappointed when they walk into a physical store. Retailers who operate smaller stores with fewer products can expand their product range virtually using tablets, QR codes, and self-service stations that connect directly to their online store.
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