Brick and Mortar

06/07/2021 1 By indiafreenotes

The term “brick-and-mortar” refers to a traditional street-side business that offers products and services to its customers face-to-face in an office or store that the business owns or rents. The local grocery store and the corner bank are examples of brick-and-mortar companies. Brick-and-mortar businesses have found it difficult to compete with mostly web-based businesses like Inc. (AMZN) because the latter usually have lower operating costs and greater flexibility.

Brick and mortar (also bricks and mortar or B&M) refers to a physical presence of an organization or business in a building or other structure. The term brick-and-mortar business is often used to refer to a company that possesses or leases retail shops, factory production facilities, or warehouses for its operations. More specifically, in the jargon of e-commerce businesses in the 2000s, brick-and-mortar businesses are companies that have a physical presence (e.g., a retail shop in a building) and offer face-to-face customer experiences.

This term is usually used to contrast with a transitory business or an Internet-only presence, such as fully online shops, which have no physical presence for shoppers to visit, talk with staff in person, touch and handle products and buy from the firm in person. However, such online businesses normally have non-public physical facilities from which they either run business operations (e.g., the company headquarters and back office facilities), and/or warehouses for storing and distributing products. Concerns such as foot traffic, storefront visibility, and appealing interior design apply to brick-and-mortar businesses rather than online ones. An online-only business needs to have an attractive, well-designed website, a reliable e-commerce system for payment, a good delivery or shipping service and effective online marketing tactics to drive web traffic to the site. Governments are also adopting e-government approaches, which is the use of online services for citizens to enable them to fill in government forms, pay tax bills and register for government programs online; these services aim to cut bricks and mortar costs (building leasing/purchase and staff costs) and improve services to citizens (by offering 24/7 access to information and services).


The presence of brick and mortar establishments may bring many benefits to businesses;

  • Customer service: face-to-face customer service can be a big contributor into increasing sales of a business and improving customer satisfaction. When customers can take a product back to the store to ask staff questions or help them learn to use it, it can make customers feel more satisfied with their purchase. Research has shown that 86% of customers will pay more for a product if they have received great customer service.
  • Face-to-face interaction: Many consumers prefer to be able to touch products, and experience and test them out before they buy. This is often attributed to Baby Boomers, older Generation X customers and the elderly being used to a more traditional in-person approach when it comes to shopping and preferring to have a demonstration of products or services, especially when buying new technology. Other studies show, given equal prices, a 90% preference for the in-person shopping experience, including among teens, who combine social interaction with shopping. On the other hand, many of these consumers engage in showrooming: trying on clothes or otherwise examining merchandise in-store, and then buying online at cheaper prices.
  • Trust: Online commerce presents an increased risk of internet fraud, and thus some consumers may be averse to it.

Attracting More Attention to Physical Stores

Online retailers often find an easier time attracting customers because it takes less effort and time to draw them in. Online sales continue to grow over the years because customers can shop from the convenience of their homes, 24 hours a day.

Brick and mortar stores must employ more tricks in order to entice customers to leave their homes and come and shop in a physical store. The reality is that technology and the internet are also vital to the success of brick and mortar stores in today’s world. Stores that offer the latest in technology-based payment systems, ordering options, and websites are usually the ones that bring in the most business. Consumers are constantly looking for easier and faster ways to shop and purchase the things they want and need.

Brick and mortar stores, while not as necessary as they once were, are still thriving. While online retail stores seem to be taking over, many companies are embracing the changing times and now operate with both online and brick and mortar options.