What Are Brick And Mortar Stores? (With Examples And FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Traditional shops are transforming as they adjust to compete with online businesses. While conventional retail businesses are likely to endure, several are taking steps to cater to the growing retail sector. Learning why customers may prefer physical locations is essential for identifying the steps you can take to strengthen a business or if you want to join the retail industry. In this article, we discuss what bricks and mortar are, explain the importance of this business and answer some frequently asked questions related to them.

What is a brick and mortar shop?

Brick and mortar is a business that sells to customers via retail shops, industrial manufacturing facilities or warehouses. This type of shop is a fairly standard and traditional establishment that offers products and services to clients from a shop or office that it either rents or owns. Buyers can visit actual locations to select and check the products and interact with shop personnel before purchasing the item.

Related: What Does A Retail Salesperson Do? (Duties And Career Path)

Why are physical shops important to consumers?

There are many reasons these shops are still important and enjoy a substantial clientele. Given below are some reasons customers might choose to buy from physical shops rather than from an online business:

Direct interaction with the staff

Customers might wish to receive product advice and expertise from employees in person and the chance to ask questions about the product before purchasing it. When customers require help in understanding how to use a product, they are more likely to get the same from in-store employees. They may also try an item bought from the shop and may instead prefer to choose a replacement with the help of shop employees.

Related: What Does A Retail Manager Do? (With Duties And Skills)

Maintaining customer relationships

Despite the convenience of online shopping, several people might prefer to shop in a physical location because they appreciate face-to-face interactions. They are more likely to trust a salesperson as they can meet them personally. Many customers are generally cautious of what they see on the Internet and are wary of shopping online.

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Trying the products before making a purchase

You can actually see, feel and even sample or test a product before placing an order by going to a physical store, unlike most online businesses. Many buyers may explore multiple products and read the reviews and ratings online before heading to the shop to get the selected item in question. For example, people might often check reviews of different restaurants before deciding on one, depending on the ratings, cuisine or mood. For some products like shoes, customers usually find the right fit or comfortable pair after trying a few pairs and walking a few steps in the showroom.

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Increased trust

Many people are hesitant to use their credit cards for online purchases. Customers may also believe that a company that operates from a physical location that the public can visit and buy from is usually more trustworthy. For example, customers may wish to check important elements like expiry dates, ingredient lists before they decide upon a product. They can do this more easily in a physical store. This is especially true for luxury items like gold jewellery or branded perfumes.

Additional reasons customers prefer brick and mortar shops

Besides the reasons mentioned above, many people might not be aware of how to make an online purchase or are unable to access the internet or devices like mobile phones or computers. Consumers can enjoy immediate gratification from these businesses as soon as they make a purchase. It might also be the easier option sometimes. For example, if people require a loaf of bread, they can typically visit the nearest grocery shop and buy the items instantly rather than waiting for online delivery.

Examples of offline businesses

Grocery shops, service stations, hair salons, car showrooms and dental offices are examples of brick and mortar shops. Some apparel businesses, for example, offer special customer services to their clients, including drinks and snacks for customers to enjoy as they buy, along with styling advice. These new features improve sales potential while keeping customers in the shop for longer periods, resulting in higher average order values.

Related: What Is Customer Service? Definition And Career Advice

Frequently asked questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about physical retail stores:

What is secret or mystery shopping?

Secret shopping refers to the act of hiring mystery shoppers to acquire data about the customer's experience with specific businesses. While any firm can use secret shopping to better understand their customers' experiences, it is the most commonly used in shopping and dining outlets to evaluate staff customer interactions and the overall purchasing process. Third-party vendor or agency that recruits mystery shoppers and assigns them tasks, keeping both the businesses and individuals in the business under scrutiny unaware of the mystery shopper.

How do businesses manage an offline shop?

Most businesses perform the following activities daily to manage the shop:

  • Recruiting and training people: Store employees can generally conduct transactions, stock inventory and respond to client questions. When employing staff, proprietors usually look for people who can provide excellent customer service and solve problems.

  • Taking inventory: Most shops place orders for goods before they are out of stock to make sure they arrive on time. This usually entails checking inventory regularly to see the sales of in-store products.

  • Stocking the shelves: Customers typically enjoy aesthetic qualities, which they may achieve by stocking shelves properly, making eye-catching arrangements and keeping things orderly.

  • Managing the money: Store managers or cashiers may count the money in cash register drawers and balance ledgers at the end of each day to check that transactions are proper.

  • Advertising the products: Stores use social media, advertising campaigns and special sales to promote the products regularly.

  • Offering an outstanding customer experience: Most businesses try to ensure that the customer service is exceptional. They expect their clients to find shopping at their shop enjoyable and beneficial.

What brings customers to a shop?

Many customers prefer to be in an exciting shopping environment. That is why, besides the location, it is critical to train your personnel to roam around your shop. Customers might require help and want to know they are not alone in the shop. New products, new shops and newly renovated shops can draw the attention of the customers with able and continued assistance at the store.

How do shop personnel interact with or approach their customers?

There are three common steps to begin an interaction with a customer at a shop. Store personnel may approach patrons with a smile on their faces. Then, they make eye contact and try to judge if the customer needs assistance or has a question about a product or service. After judging their nonverbal cues, the employee can ask if they might help the customer.

What are some retail sales techniques businesses can employ? Why are they important?

Retail sales strategies inform the associate how to proceed with a transaction. These might include welcoming the clients to establishing rapport, showing the customers around, identifying customer requirements, offering a product, completing the sale and inviting them back. These sales methods assure a great experience for the consumer. Employees who receive retail sales training usually have more chances to be successful at sales. That is why it is very important to train salespeople and other shop personnel in retail sales techniques.

What is visual merchandising?

Visual merchandising is a marketing technique that employs visual and spatial layout to draw customers, awaken their interest and hold their attention. Its goal is to increase sales and promote customer loyalty and boost repeat business while also establishing a strong and positive brand image. The four key components to successful visual merchandising are lights, colours, signage and space.

Shopping is primarily a visual experience, but one may enhance it by including other senses. Choosing background music wisely to help clients to relax while spending time is a helpful strategy. Introducing a unique fragrance that you can smell throughout the shop may help customers recollect it. Encouraging the customer to touch and examine the products on display can also encourage them to buy them.

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