From standing in a queue to having groceries delivered to your door, the shopping experience has seen many changes over the last decade.
In recent years, Covid has had a massive effect on consumers’ shopping experience and has accelerated some changes.
Even after the global lockdown, consumers are returning to brick-and-mortar stores, proving that this form of commerce is far from obsolete.
Consequently, the question now arises: which is superior in 2023, brick-and-mortar or e-commerce retail?
Brick-and-mortar vs e-commerce
Many differences between brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce need to be understood before deciding which you should choose for your venture.
According to tokinomo, brick-and-mortar is a term that can be used for any business that stocks products in a physical location. These traditional street-side stores do not sell their products online.
Brick-and-mortar stores are open during regular working hours and allow customers to either test or experience the product they are interested in. Inspecting products is a great way of ensuring the quality is up to standard.
Businesses that sell their products both in-store and online are called brick-and-click and fall into a different category from the aforementioned.
E-commerce stores are businesses that only sell their products online, using various platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and websites.
Online shopping offers an entirely different experience for shoppers. Consumers can browse any time of day or night on online shopping platforms, however, they are not able to examine products prior to purchasing them.
Why do people prefer in-store shopping?
In-store shopping offers a unique experience for many customers. For some, this is the only reason they visit a brick-and-mortar business, however, there are many reasons why individuals prefer traditional shopping.
According to Collectique, many customers’ main reason for visiting brick-and-mortar stores is to receive expert advice.
This asset is a great way for employees to create trust between themselves and their customers. This win-win situation allows customers to receive guidance, and businesses to make sales.
Most people can agree that time is our most valuable asset. Waiting days for a product to be shipped is often reason enough for customers to abandon online shopping.
Walk-in stores allow customers to receive their products immediately. Having stock on hand saves time for the consumer and is an excellent way of boosting customer service.
Moreover, clients will remain loyal to your business if you provide swift and effective service.
Online stores often have complicated return policies that cause frustration and unpleasant interactions with “customer service”.
Directly talking to an employee or manager at a brick-and-mortar store resolves matters much faster. Returning a product is as easy as taking it and the receipt back to the store, immediately being refunded or exchanging it for something else.
While photo technology has advanced to such a point that even cell phones are capable of capturing hyperrealism, a photo still can’t equate 100% to human eye perception.
Photos can be deceiving, even more so with photo manipulation programmes. This nuisance has left many online shoppers disappointed, even outraged with their purchases.
Traditional stores give individuals the opportunity to test out the quality of the product before buying it. Customers can touch, look at, and even smell a product before buying it. This results in fewer dissatisfied customers and easier management for the owner.
In addition to the inconvenient waiting period for shipping is the cost of having products delivered.
According to business, 10.8% of individuals prefer shopping at brick-and-mortar stores because they don’t want to pay for shipping. Shipping costs not only vary from store to store but also from the country you reside in.
Why do people prefer shopping online?
Contrary to brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce businesses offer a completely different shopping experience. Online shopping is popular for many reasons, from convenience to avoiding traffic.
Driving from one store to another trying to find the best deal is no longer necessary, e-commerce has made comparing a variety of products and prices effortless.
Almost any product can be found on hundreds of websites from the comfort of your bed.
Negotiating the price of a product in a store is often intimidating and even frowned upon.
Online stores frequently discount products to draw customers. According to Finical, online stores enable consumers to compare products and select the best deal from an infinite number of sellers.
While researching a product, browsing the internet can quickly help you conclude whether it is a savvy purchase.
There are usually many forums, reviews, and opinions available for a product. These platforms offer users a chance to give their honest opinion about products.
In addition to discovering the quality of a product, reviews can provide you with an overview of the product’s features. By doing so, you will be able to decide if it meets your requirements.
It is near impossible for an employee of a large company to gain a complete understanding of all the products.
Brick-and-mortar stores more than often, unfortunately, have minimal information available on the products they carry.
However, e-commerce stores list the technical specifications of every product they stock, making it much easier for customers to buy the product best suited for them.
The brick-and-mortar experience has much appeal to those who do not just go to the store to buy a product as it provides sensory pleasure in addition.
Conversely, those who cannot stand in lengthy lines or be among a large crowd are best suited to shop online.
More often, these consumers know exactly what they want and are not interested in wandering around stores mindlessly.
In this day and age buying everything you need can be done with a few clicks of your mouse, even having all your goods delivered to your door a couple of hours later.
Whether you enjoy the social aspect of a brick-and-mortar store or the convenience of shopping online, it seems as though both have their place and are not disappearing anytime soon.