Click and Mortar: What are the Benefits for Your Business?
The modern day shopper expects a unique and personalized experience when making a purchase with their retailer of choice. This requires companies to lean into digital offerings, even when they have a brick and mortar presence. Enter: click and mortar – an omnichannel retail strategy that retail companies across the country are deploying to ensure their customers have a phygital (physical meets digital) experience when shopping.

Are you curious to learn more about click and mortar, what the benefits are, and how companies are using this retail strategy successfully today? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Click and Mortar?

Gone are the days of siloed online or in-person shopping – today, we have phygital offerings that bridge the gap for consumers by providing an omnichannel retail experience. Because of the preference for modern day shoppers to experience retail in a way that perfectly fits their unique needs, companies are prioritizing curation of a cohesive online (click) and in-person (mortar) shopping experience for their customers, (a.k.a. “click and mortar”).

Many retailers consider this type of shopping the perfect way to balance between online and in-person shopping because you have a little bit of both sprinkled into a strong and sound click and mortar strategy.

Examples of a Click and Mortar Offerings: Virtual Showrooms, Endless Aisle, and Interactive Kiosks

  • Virtual Showrooms: While you used to only be able to try on clothes or get the look and feel of a product in person, many retailers are now building out virtual showrooms as a part of their click and mortar strategy. In this type of retail experience, the end user can browse a virtual storefront, often designed to look similar to what a store’s physical storefront looks like, and try on clothing or browse products in a virtual environment as if they were in a physical store. Pretty neat, huh? This type of experience truly is the perfect middle ground for both an online and brick and mortar shopping experience.

Photo courtesy of b8ta and Cogent360

  • Endless Aisle: When entering a store, a number of retailers now offer “endless aisle” shopping that combines the online shopping experience with in-store purchasing power. Given that many stores have finite shelf space and are downsizing to save money on rent costs, the endless aisle provides a valuable solution for customers to browse an entire product catalog. This allows customers to see more than meets the eye by viewing products that may be out of stock or not in the store itself, for the products to arrive at their home in a few short days. These purchases are typically made on an interactive kiosk in the store – which leads us to…
  • Interactive Kiosks: As retailers consider the many touch points they have with their customers, they may consider adding digital interactive kiosks throughout their retail locations. These kiosks can help a customer locate a product within the store, order an out of stock item, show how a product is used, provide store information, purchase an item without visiting a checkout desk, and stand in for employee customer interactions.

Click and Mortar vs. Brick and Mortar: What’s the Difference?

While click and mortar blurs the line between online and in-person shopping, brick and mortar focuses solely on the physical storefront experience. This may seem straightforward at a glance, but it does present a few things that are important to consider as you build our a click and mortar strategy, such as:

Click and Mortar Payment

At the risk of stating the obvious, you can’t pay with cash online, but you often can in stores, so click and mortar presents an opportunity for you to evaluate how you accept payment (e.g., cash, digital wallets, credit and debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, etc.) in both your online and physical retail locations.

Click and Mortar Marketing and Promotional Activities

With an omnichannel retail strategy, you also need to have an omnichannel marketing strategy. For example, for your online storefront, perhaps you drive to it by using digital marketing efforts (Google ads, social media posts, SEO, etc.), but with your physical storefront, perhaps you also prioritize offline marketing strategies (billboards, print ads, direct mail, etc.) that encourage customers to visit you in person. Both digital and offline marketing efforts are equally important if you have a click and mortar strategy, but your mix of marketing will definitely need to be evaluated and iterated on to achieve your goals.

Click and Mortar Product Delivery or Pickup

Click and mortar requires you to sell products both in person and online, so you’ll need to evaluate your product storage, shipping and delivery, and order online but pick up in store offerings.

Clicks to bricks or bricks to clicks strategy

What’s interesting about click and mortar is that many companies that are only online are thinking about building out a small physical storefront to improve their customer experience – this is often referred to as clicks to bricks. Same goes for brick and mortar only stores as they work to offer online shopping for their customers – a.k.a. bricks to clicks. The truth is, in today’s world, it’s smart to have both – that’s why click and mortar is such an important strategy to consider as you build out your retail plan for the year(s) to come.

4 Key Benefits of Click and Mortar

As you consider click and mortar for your own retail business, you’re probably wondering how it may enhance what you’ve already built. Here are the four key benefits as we see it:

  1. Downsize your retail footprint: In a time when rents are increasing across the country, retail locations are looking to downsize and can do so more easily when incorporating a click and mortar strategy into their business.
  2. Save on shipping by offering in-person pickup: By offering optional pick up in person for online shoppers to get at the physical brick and mortar location, both the retailer and customers are able to save on shipping costs. Win win.
  3. Reach more people with your products: When you have both an online and brick and mortar presence, you’re bound to reach more customers that may not have seen your brand if one or the other didn’t exist. For example, those that are local and can visit your brick and mortar location may know about it, but by offering an online shopping experience they get both. For those who aren’t local, selling products online automatically makes it more accessible for them to be a brand loyal customer for you.
  4. Create a more personalized and memorable experience for your customers: The crux of click and mortar is that you’re creating an experience that is memorable and personalized based on the customer’s individual wants and needs. Some people prefer in-person shopping, others live and die by online only, and some want phygital all the way. Lucky for you, click and mortar allows for the best of all worlds.

Retailers That Implemented a Successful Click and Mortar Strategy: Toys R Us and Wayfair

Toys R Us: Making a Comeback by Upgrading Digital In-Store Experience

After closing its doors in 2017, Toys R Us came to MINT with the goal of revamping its in-store digital offerings to create a phygital environment for its young customers. We worked closely with the Toys R Us team to build and deliver a technology-driven experience for kids – we did this by building an interactive video wall in the Event Theater of the store. In this section, children can attend relevant online events, play with the Toys R Us gaming consoles, watch their favorite movies, and much more. Ahead of visiting the store, parents can check online to see what events are being hosted that day as well.

To round out the phygital experience, the company also invested in interactive kiosks throughout the store that ran MINT’s content management system and offered the endless aisle feature we discussed earlier. These digital kiosks allow customers to shop, share their in-store experience on social media, and make a purchase that would later be delivered to their home.

Wayfair: Putting Design Back in the Customer’s Hands

When opening its first brick and mortar store location in Boston, Wayfair wanted to blend in-store and online shopping so that customers could more easily envision their furniture of choice in their house. The company developed Digital Design Studio: an interactive digital kiosk that enables customers to interactively create furniture layouts by placing and moving physical furniture cards and viewing 3D life-like visuals.

This tech enabled approach leaves customers feeling inspired and enabled to create a room they love, while still providing a hands-on shopping experience within a brick and mortar location. The result? A memorable customer experience they won’t forget in the future.

Photo courtesy of Wayfair

Should You Build Out a Click and Mortar Strategy for Your Business?

As you consider a click and mortar strategy for your business, ensure you’re working with a partner who understands how to bridge the gap between the two types of retail environments and can champion bringing your business to the next level. If you’re interested in partnering with the MINT team, please get in touch. We’d love to work with you.

May 22, 2023