The working paradigm of business has seen a significant shift in the way they are carried out. Just a couple of decades ago, whenever someone wanted to purchase any product or take up any service, the only option they had was to go down to a brick and mortar store to purchase it. However, with the advent of time and the advancement of technology, people have started choosing and relying on e-commerce portals significantly instead of traditional shopping.
Even though both the virtual and offline shopping alternatives provide the same products and services, people are mostly confused between them. While people know that a brick and mortar store is a physical storefront where they can purchase goods and services, and e-commerce is where businesses run their operations entirely on digital platforms; there is more to it. Below we have mentioned the basic differences between e-commerce and a brick-and-mortar store.
E-commerce does not necessarily include a physical store; they sell their products through online shopping, virtual carts, and websites. A digital literate can easily purchase almost anything online, and a person who does not know much about operating or purchasing things online can learn it as well. Orders are entered, and the goods are then mailed or delivered to the customers.
Brick and mortar, on the other hand, have physical stores, addresses, and locations. There is either a single outlet or multiple chains of stores.
Promotion is a very important tool for both physical stores and e-commerce as it fosters growth and helps in expansion. However, due to the difference in the way they operate, there are prominent differences in the way marketing is done. The brick and mortar shops usually use traditional forms of advertising such as newspaper, flyers, banners, and billboards.
E-commerce companies use online methods such as digital advertising through emails, social media platforms, and broadcasting on television. The reason for using digital space for promotion is that it is more effective, price-efficient, and reaches a greater audience while making a significant impact.
3. Sale transactions
How companies deal with accepting payments has changed over the years. However, many brick and mortar stores still resort to traditional methods like cash and debit and credit cards for a legal way of transaction.
On the other hand, e-commerce outlets offer many payment options such as cash on delivery (COD), net banking, debit and credit cards, and mobile apps like Google pay or Apple pay. This makes the whole process of transaction easier, convenient, safe, and cashless.
However, since physical stores have also started to resort to various online digital methods for payments, flexibility has led to more structural capabilities for them.
4. Customer attention
As customers are the assets for any company, customer services, and proper attention to them are vital for companies. In a brick and mortar store, the salespersons or the store in charge can easily clear any doubt of shoppers and assist the customer without any delay. The face-to-face interaction with the customers also increases loyalty and trust.
On the other hand, e-commerce businesses lack this advantage, and the only way they can cater to the needs and attention of hundreds and thousands of customers on time is through phone, email, or chat boxes.
5. Operational expenses
While one might think that the operating expenses of e-commerce companies are lesser than that of brick and mortar shops, this might not always be the case. The expenses of e-commerce can include huge shipping charges, infrastructure charges, cost of new customer acquisition, or growing cost for web hosting.
Even though a brick and mortar store might have to bear the expenses of rent, salaries, inventory warehousing, or property taxes, it’s still cheaper than the operating costs of an e-commerce business.
Nevertheless, the expenses of the companies depend on a variety of factors influencing it, and all these factors must be taken into consideration.
One cannot compare the importance of a brick and mortar store and an e-commerce company as they both serve a purpose preferred by a different variety of people. However, both types of businesses can always alter the way they operate to increase efficiency and profits.
Brick and mortar stores should try to stay up-to-date with trends, especially those in the digital and technological sphere, to enhance customer experience and convenience. This can include trends of e-commerce as well. On the other hand, as there is a disadvantage of no face-to-face communication between the dealer and the customer in an e-commerce setup, they must try to include more effective communication methods and mix a few advantages of the physical store.
The positive news, in this case, is that as time passes, the clear demarcation between brick and mortar and e-commerce continues to blur, and the shopping experience continues to get better for the customers.