Brick and Mortar – What does it mean?
Brick and Mortar is a kind of business that offers goods and services to its customers face-to-face through a physical outlet. Examples of brick and mortar businesses are retail stores, factories, boutiques and the like. Operations of a brick and mortar business are opposite to the workings of an e-commerce firm such as Amazon.
Understanding Brick and Mortar with Examples
You must have heard of the term Brick and Mortar stores quite often. These stores operate from a building. Think of that age-old grocery store we had been visiting regularly until e-commerce started delivering stuff to our doorstep.
A classic example is that of a renowned restaurant chain, McDonald’s. It started its operations with a small physical store and never looked back ever since! Now, it has a global presence.
History and the changing scenario
It is interesting to note that brick and mortar business goes back to earlier times when vendors sold their produce at roadside stalls. The industry boomed with time. It witnessed a monumental growth in the 19thh and 20th century as even the smallest businesses tried to own a respectable store.
An important feature that kept the industry shining throughout was the strong connection between the buyers and sellers due to regular interactions.
Sadly, several stores went out of business when e-commerce giants took over. The businesses couldn’t stand the stiff competition arising due to the facility of easy home delivery. Add the crippling impacts of Covid-19 to that; the sales dropped to appalling levels. In the latest research from McKinsey, it says the retails are going to suffer further due to the pandemic.
Characteristics of Brick and Mortar
Did you ever wonder what keeps such a business still relevant? Let us talk about their characters in detail, and you’d get an answer.
- They have a physical location in a building. Examples are plenty like a Marks & Spencer store. The refreshing ambience of a store is something an online store would never be able to provide.
- Such stores offer us an opportunity to speak with the salesperson face to face, express our opinions and try out products before purchasing them.
- Regular customers develop a bond with the sellers over time. Many small retailers allow their frequent buyers to purchase goods on credit.
Brick and Mortar vs Ecommerce
Let us learn about the vast differences between the two.
- Brick and mortar businesses have physical locations through which they deal with their customers. However, e-commerce businesses don’t necessarily have a physical store. They sell their products and services through digital modes.
- E-commerce businesses can reach out to their customers through more one channel. They interact with customers using SMS, emails, phone calls, as well as chatbots. On the other hand, the store owners are yet to adopt such channels of communication.
- Operating expenses are much less in e-commerce stores, especially at the beginning of the business.
- It provides customers with a more personalized experience.
- Such businesses are believed to hold better credibility.
- Many customers still don’t feel comfortable about online shopping. They make a significant portion of their existing customer base.
- It takes up a large investment and start-up cost to set up a brick and mortar store.
- Because of the geographical limitation, only the customers present in these stores’ vicinity can visit them.
- Nowadays, there is an extreme time crunch for people, and as such, they avoid going physically to the shops. E-commerce has been scoring for this reason.
- Since the fixed costs associated with such businesses are high, the prices of the products sold by them are higher than those offered by an e-commerce store.
- Due to large scale storage problems, they offer a limited range of products compared to the plethora of items offered on online shopping sites.
- Brick and Mortar is a kind of business that offers goods and services to its customers face-to-face through a physical outlet.
- Examples of brick and mortar businesses are retail stores, shopping malls, factories, boutiques and the like.
- Operations of a brick and mortar business are opposite to the workings of an e-commerce firm such as Amazon.
This has been a guide to What is Brick and Mortar & its Meaning. Here we discuss brick and mortar characteristics, history, and why it’s important along with examples, benefits, and drawbacks. You can learn more about from the following articles –