A retailer who has a physically established store may plan to expand its business through the e-commerce platform. At the same time, a successful online business may be converted into a brick-and-model store to provide an in-person experience to the customers. The brick-and-click business model operates in both ways. Hence it can be said that this model is specific for individual businesses. Apart from the direction of implementation, the brick-and-click model follows a few basic principles of operation. They are as follows:
Flexibility: This model aims to provide flexibility to customers to choose from two types of purchase channels. It increases customer convenience and reliance on the business due to its presence on different platforms. A simple example of customer satisfaction from this model is the easy return of online delivered orders to the physical retail store, which helps customers save their shipping charges and avail feedback or complaint services more conveniently.
Unified shopping experience: This principle revolves around providing a wholesome, smooth, and seamless experience to the customer by placing the functions of both channels in a synchronized way. A suitable example would be using the online platform to update the customer with inventory stock before they visit an offline retail store to purchase them. Better customer service: The involvement of two channels and their unified operation can help customers get more access to the merchandise information, convenience of purchase, pre-order placement, better visibility, and so on. Growth and brand building: Providing better customer experience, accessing to get more customers, and becoming more visible can help a retailer build its brand. This may help the business to get more profit and grow.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Bricks and Clicks Model
Just like any other growth and marketing strategy, the application of the clicks and bricks model has its pros and cons. 1. Benefits :
The benefits of bricks and clicks are as follows:
This business model helps the business to come out of the concept of fixed customer size. The online channels of stores distribute their goods outside a local area and make it reach global consumers.
Analytics is a powerful tool to analyze customer behavior. They help refined and customized in-person service in the retail store. Also, physical stores can help collect real-time customer feedback and reflect their modified service in the online platform.
A wide range of customers is reached and served with this business model. Existence in multiple platforms can help retailers remain up to date, competitive and relevant.
The drawbacks of bricks and clicks are as follows:
Working as an online store and functioning in physical form incurs extra costs like purchasing a security system, variable bills like electricity, labor charges, online website maintenance fee, etc.
As brick and mortal retail stores are traditionally established ways of selling, it takes time. Moreover, it involves a learning curve to adapt to the new online, internet, and e-commerce system.
Implementation of Brick and Click Model
The implementation of this business model will depend on whether a retailer is planning to add an e-commerce segment or a retail location to the current business strategy. While the latter requires a broader plan about store location, inventory, labor, etc., the former is simpler to launch. However, whatever the situation is, focusing on the following business areas can help implement this business model.
Developing a robust Point of Sale (POS) system: The POS system is vital for any physical retail store, thus important for a click and brick business. The POS should include major operations like payments, staff management, inventory, and integration with the online website to smooth sales and customer service.
Keeping a higher level of merchandise: Product stock and their display must be planned in the best way to attract customers by promoting them through both online and offline channels. There should be a consistent style, brand personality for all the channels.
Keep inventory consistent: It is very important to keep inventory up-to-date, synchronizing both online and offline channels to ensure an ideal experience for customers.
Making smooth order shipping and returning: Customers in a click and brick model should enjoy an easy hustle-free delivery of orders and their return. Both platforms should ensure that customers receive their services in the best, most comfortable way. To make these possible, shipping and returning policies must be set in a manner that both these channels can synchronize and maintain transparency.
Keep the best version of the online system: The internet keeps changing very fast with new software updates, innovations, etc. Therefore, it is very important to keep track and integrate the latest updates, including mobile-friendly websites, best analytical tools, and security.
Customer engagement: Click and brick model aims to develop both customer experience and retail business. Hence it should be implemented to keep customers in the loop, connecting with them in the best possible ways like encouraging feedbacks, seeking approvals through surveys, sending regular emails on birthdays, festivals, offering discounts, etc. This will help build brand loyalty among customers.
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