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The Concept of Brick-and-click E-commerce
Electronic commerce, or E-commerce, is taking over the stage in today’s business era. E-commerce, in simple terms, is the digital marketplace for companies and buyers. It is the place where buyers and sellers can interact with each other, negotiate the buying agreement, compare different brands and products, and then make the final purchase decision. It is replacing the traditional physical distribution channels for the company. E-commerce as a digital marketplace reduces costs for the company, provides more customer reach, and provides an easier way to conduct business operations. E-commerce companies can be of the following two types −
Pure-click e-commerce companies
Brick-and-click e-commerce companies
Hence, in this article, we will be diving deep into the concept of brick-and-click e-commerce, how these companies operate, the benefits of purchasing through e-commerce and physical outlets, and some renowned examples from the business world of brick-and-click e-commerce companies.
The concept of brick-and-click e-commerce companies
Brick-and-click e-commerce companies are those that have both a physical outlet as well as a digital presence. In this sense, you can purchase goods from both online and offline mediums. These companies understand that, though the Internet has a lot of potentials to offer, it can never really replace brick-and-mortar stores. For customers, the brick-and-mortar store may stand for the buying experience, a medium for personal connection, a sort of therapy, and other feelings.
Humans are complicated individuals with feelings, and hence, companies cannot lose the connection that they have with their customers. Customers are rational beings who make logical decisions, but hedonic factors also play an important role in them. This is the reason why companies can charge customers three times the MRP of a product in a restaurant. Something as simple as a water bottle
Some renowned examples of brick-and-click e-commerce companies are −
Procter & Gamble (P&G)
Pantaloons and others
Strategies for the acceptance of brick-and-click e-commerce companies −
If the company decides to go it alone, it will face a lot of resistance from the retailers for obvious reasons. Retailers face a huge blowout from internet marketing. The variety, price, and ease of use that internet marketing provides to customers are unparalleled. Retail outlets, because of the lack of resources, cannot compete with it. Hence, the companies have to find a way out. We have seen many renowned companies choose any one of the three methods mentioned below, or a mixture of them, for their convenience
Companies can offer different brands to customers in the online medium and different brands in the offline medium. To elaborate further, the same brand is going to have different sub-brands, and these sub-brands will be exclusive to the offline and online mediums.
Companies can offer retailers an extra margin as a cushion for the blowout that they are going to face when the brand goes online. It means the amount of commission that the retailers received earlier is going to increase.
Companies can create their own websites, and whenever a customer places an order digitally, they will have the nearest store deliver it to them. JioMart as a brand is using this as their USP for the business. They have joined hands with various ration shops that deliver the goods to the customers when an order is placed online.
The benefits of selling through brick-and-mortar stores are −
Helps the company develop personal connections − Selling through websites might be a profitable attempt, but many website users have stated that they miss the personal connection that they used to have with the sales representative of the brand while shopping. The connection or communication helps the customer make better and more informed choices. On the other hand, we also see that brick-and-mortar companies work on a relationship marketing basis. The small shop owners connect with the customers, and because of their limited exposure, they remember details about each customer and use that to sell the products.
Helps the company gain customer trust − offline marketing helps the customer trust better. In many developing countries, there is this fear of online payments because of the increasing number of frauds. With physical stores, customers gain a certain level of trust when they can hold the product and take it home after payment.
Increases brand awareness − A physical outlet with its name written on a board acts as a form of marketing for the brand. It is the habit of general customers to read the brand name and maybe think about it at their leisure.
Ensures reach to a wider target audience − With e-commerce, customers can only buy products when they do not need them for immediate use when they have a device and internet connection, and when they have money for the online transaction. Though the world is moving towards digitalization, brand companies cannot ignore the less privileged and their customers with the above factors. A physical outlet helps the company overcome this issue.
Provides the consumer with an experience − Not all customers just want the product or service from the brand; many find it rewarding to be there in the shop, making choices, and just being there. It is a matter of social status, personal recognition, and recognition from peers and others for the customers.
The benefits of selling through e-commerce websites are −
No physical outlet required − Companies can keep their products in the warehouse, and they do not have to worry about having a physical store in every district for the customer’s convenience. They can save a lot of costs in terms of the rent of the place, the creation of the store, salaries for the employees, and others.
Higher margins of profit − Since firms do not have to share a percentage of their profits with the intermediaries, they can easily book themselves higher profits.
Can reach a mass audience − Companies can easily reach more consumers with the help of e-commerce. Customers from all over the world can shop at the company and have their purchases delivered to them.
There will be no overstocking or understocking of inventory − since the goods are available in the warehouse and we do not have individual stores. This will reduce the problem of inventory understocking and overstocking. Companies will be able to serve consumers better.
Brick-and-click e-commerce companies offer business owners benefits from both ends. It is like sailing on two ships at a time. Though it is difficult to maintain brick-and-click e-commerce companies because of the clash of interests between online retailers and offline retailers, it is worth the cost and investment. Companies cannot ignore the opportunities and potential that the Internet has to offer the business and its customers, and at the same time, they have to work on relationship marketing.
A transactional form of marketing is not something that is acceptable to customers in today's fast-paced, dynamic world. In this cutthroat environment, companies have to always innovate and adapt themselves to the latest technologies. They cannot sit back and follow age-old practices. Change is the only constant, and brick-and-click e-commerce companies are an awesome example of adapting to the market while keeping the core of their businesses intact.
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