Brick and Mortar Retail vs. E-Commerce. What Is the Solution?

Topics: Electronic commerce, Supply chain management, Marketing Pages: 17 (5704 words) Published: April 19, 2008
Brick and Mortar Retail vs. E-commerce
What is the Solution?
1. Executive Summary
Although the recent development of the Internet has skyrocketed business sales for the average e-commerce company, there are many advantages that they are missing out on that a brick and mortar organization can provide. So where is the ultimate middle-ground a firm can search for when aspiring to provide quality products and quality customer service in the most efficient way? The following is a discussion on the differences between brick and mortar retail and e-commerce followed by a description of what the final solution is to solve this problem. 2. Introduction

In a world where technology is changing every day, traditional businesses are becoming more developed and taking advantage of the many positive attributes that e-commerce can offer. While traditional businesses (brick and mortars) have recently been faced with stiff competition from e-commerce; traditional firms are attempting to survive by making an evolutionary leap into the electronic medium. As the overall business climate continues to change, traditional firms are beginning to add new capabilities that are conducive to the Internet. The question is, what is the middle-ground solution to allow companies to truly reach their full potential? In order to fully understand why this giant leap is necessary, it is essential to first understand a brick and mortar versus e-commerce. Once this is fully recognized, it is essential to look at the advantages and disadvantages of each so that one can truly understand why adaptation is necessary for survival. 3. Brick and Mortar

A brick and mortar refers to “a company which possesses a building for operations” (Brick and Mortar Business). These traditional businesses deal with customers face to face; therefore, they are able to provide customer service better than a click and mortar. An example of a brick and mortar is the local grocery store such as Harris Teeter or Lowes Foods. Here, consumers can walk into a physical store location, purchase selected items, and retreat to their final destination. a. Advantages of a Brick and Mortar

While there are many criticisms against the operation of a brick and mortar, there are numerous advantages that give organizations that support this idea a competitive advantage. First, customer interaction plays a large role in the success of a corporation. So often, many companies that operate solely online experience the consequences of unsatisfied customers when customers realize they purchased a product that they could not actually see, and then have to deal with the repercussions of poor customer service by not being able to discuss their unsatisfactory experience face to face with an associate. Second, by maintaining a retail outlet, firms are able to keep up with industry trends. Charlene Steinhauer, CEO of Children’s Wear, Inc. says about her brick and mortar company, “By interacting with customers face to face, we’ve learned what they want in children’s merchandise and how they want to buy it” (McGarvey, Connecting the DOTS). Third, a brick and mortar provides real-world warehousing for merchandise that an online operation cannot. When a customer visits a particular store, he has the ability to visually test and choose what he wants in a matter of minutes. Fourth, depending on ones type of business, having a physical location has the potential to attract walk-in customers. Finally, this movement gives a corporation the appropriate space to work freely and allows one to become mentally and physically immersed in running a business. b. Criticisms against a Brick and Mortar

Among the advantages described above, there are numerous disadvantages of brick and mortars that are notable. Primarily, it frequently occurs that that sales staff on the floor are notoriously uneducated about the specific products the company sells; therefore, it may be difficult to give the knowledgeable consumer...
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