Click And Mortar

Updated on April 12, 2024
Article byJyotsna Suthar
Edited byJyotsna Suthar
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Click And Mortar Definition

Click and mortar is a business model merging offline (physical) and online (e-commerce) operations. The main objective of these stores is to elevate the shopping experience of customers at a certain level and ensure business growth. 

Click And Mortar

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The idea of click and mortar retailing became popular among businesses during the dot-com era. Hence, this approach integrates traditional physical retail spaces with online e-commerce platforms, creating a seamless customer shopping experience across both channels. Moreover, this model increases customer satisfaction, broader market reach, and a more robust overall business strategy.

Key Takeaways

  •  Click and mortar refers to the business model that involves operations at both physical and e-commerce stores. It is a blend of offline and online stores.
  • There are several legislations regarding these stores in many countries. Some include returns and refunds within a certain period (14 or 3 days).
  • A few examples include Walmart, Amazon, and other retail outlets with physical stores and online platforms.
  • This model offers several benefits, including catering to a broader customer base, providing an omnichannel experience, and combining immediate in-store gratification.

Click And Mortar Explained

Click and mortar retailing is a combination store that offers the experience of both physical and online stores. It allows customers to access products on their devices and in the shop. Plus, they can enjoy faster transactions that contribute to a seemingly soothing shopping experience. In short, it is a simple attempt to compete in the brick-and-mortar business that concentrates only on physical locations.

Furthermore, click-and-mortar marketing aims to create a holistic customer journey by seamlessly blending a business’s digital and physical aspects. Thus, it combines the convenience of online shopping with the tangible experience of physical stores, creating a holistic shopping journey that caters to diverse customer preferences.

Moreover, the term click and mortar business is made up of two words. The former (click) refers to the online purchases made by customers. At the same time, mortar refers to a mixture of materials to form bricks that eventually construct stores. Therefore, businesses try to capture audiences in digital and physical space for expansion purposes. So, if a person intends to purchase an electronic gadget, they will visit the store, experience the product, and later buy from the online channels.

As click and mortar retailing has popularity among businesses, the rights of the consumers are also hampered. And to secure them, the legislature of major nations has passed laws adhering to this model. For example, in the U.S., the “3-day rule” allows customers to return products purchased via an online store within three days. Likewise, even the United Kingdom has specific regulations that will enable a return facility within 14 days and refund to customers.

Overall, click and mortar stores have recognized the importance of providing customers with a flexible, integrated shopping experience that meets their diverse preferences.

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Let us look at the examples to understand the concept better.

Example #1

Suppose David owns a clothing apparel store, Ann Inc. His father, Mr. George, first started this store in the 1990s. They have captured 80% of the market share of their city. However, in the later years, David decided to expand the business via the click-and-mortar model. Therefore, he started an e-commerce site on the Internet. Through this online store, David could attract new customers and strengthen its presence among its competitors. In addition, he also offered discounts, clearance sales, free delivery, and similar offers to the customers.

As soon as David implemented this strategy, the business’s sales rose. From the financial data, 70% of the sales were from physical locations and the rest via online modes. Moreover, he also noticed that customers would enter their stores and perform online shopping. Later, they used their site discounts and bought clothes online. From a broader perspective, it was a beneficial deal for businesses and consumers.

Example #2

Walmart had expected its online sales to increase by 21% in 2021 to $65 billion due to the rise in click-and-collect consumer behavior. As a result, 2021 was a boom year for Walmart.

Therefore, Walmart’s proportion of U.S. online sales will increase from 6.7% in 2020 to 7.1% in 2021, per analysis from Moreover, according to a news release on the data results, Walmart is outpacing a few other retailers in terms of online growth, double eBay and surpassing the combined online sales of Target, Home Depot, and Best Buy. Whereas the retailer’s online growth is around one-sixth of Amazon’s. Hence, per the report, one major factor fueling Walmart’s development is its physical presence, which promotes click-and-collect online sales and broad consumer adoption.

Advantages And Disadvantages

Click and mortar stores have better incentives for businesses and customers. However, there are a few limitations to it. Let us look at them:

Customers benefit from a convenient shopping experience and after-sales service.Implementation of the omnichannel can be tedious, complex, and tiring.
There is an easy choice of products from a wide range via online stores for consumers.Moreover, there is more expenditure involved to develop click-and-mortar stores.
Businesses offer a consistent brand experience across multiple channels, enhancing customer loyalty and engagement.Online stores bring a severe threat to the customer’s privacy.
 It saves time and cost for the customer by providing after-sales and return service.  Many customers may do window shopping from one store and purchase from another store.
Also, the inventory and operating costs of the businesses are reduced.Sometimes, there might be conflicts between online and offline channels, such as pricing discrepancies or inventory management challenges.
Consumers can examine the product through personal visits to the physical stores and buy it later.Operating online exposes the business to cyber threats and data breaches, requiring robust security measures.
Businesses can acquire audiences on both local and global levels. As a result, the company’s consumer base increases.Fulfilling orders from both online and in-store purchases can lead to logistical challenges and potential delays.
It leads to more sales and foot traffic for the business.Deciding how to allocate resources between online and offline operations can be a strategic challenge.

Click And Mortar vs Brick And Mortar

Both click and mortar and brick and mortar include physical stores, yet, they have a different composition. So, let us look at the differences between them:

AspectClick And MortarBrick And Mortar
Here, there is no delivery option offered by brick-and-mortar models.It refers to a blend of physical and online stores.Brick-and-mortar allows customers to buy items from physical stores only.
PurposeTo enable offline and online purchases to provide customers with a smooth shopping experience.Customers can feel and experience the traditional shopping experience here.
Origin or PopularityDuring the internet era that existed during the late 1990s.This business model dates back to 800 B.C. However, the term was coined by novelist Herman Melville in the 19th century.
ServicesMoreover, this model provides home delivery and pickup service for purchased items.Here, there is no delivery option offered by brick and mortar models.
Return and RefundHere, customers can apply for a return and refund within a certain period.It usually depends on the retail store.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is click and mortar and click and collect the same?

Yes, these terms are the same as the former, which also provides pickup service to the customers. So, these stores enable purchases from online mode and collect the respective item list from the physical locations.

2. How to implement a click and mortar business?

Following are the steps for implementing a click-and-mortar business:
● Determine the most used channels of customers via surveys.
● Prepare the inventory system and invest in it.
● Use a tested, trusted, and reliable point-of-sale system.
● Strengthen the logistics team and shipping services.
● Provide better customer experience after every purchase.

3. How does click and mortar impact customer loyalty? 

Click-and-mortar businesses can enhance customer loyalty by offering consistent experiences across channels, providing convenience through various shopping options, and leveraging data to personalize interactions.

This has been a guide to Click & Mortar and its definition. We compare it with brick and mortar and explain its examples, advantages and disadvantages. You can learn more about it from the following articles –

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