When comparing ecommerce websites to brick and mortar shops there are a number of elements to consider. Such as
- Customer service- which presence can offer the best customer service? The truth is both forms can have advantages and disadvantages with regards customer service. Mortar shops will have staff who are there to help customers and if trained properly can provide excellent service, however staff are only human and therefore will be difficult to offer great service all of the time. With regards to ecommerce websites if customers are having problems it may be difficult to solve these problems. However if the site is up to date, easy to use and timely customers should be satisfied.
- Impulse purchases and convenience- it is of course more convenient for buyers to order online and there is a higher chance of an impulse decision being made online, for example maybe an advert has attracted has attracted a customer and with the ease and convenience of buying something online, the purchase is more likely to be made over the internet.
- Personal interactions- Many people like to have personal and face to face interactions when purchasing a product or service and this is where brick and mortar shops are beneficial. Although interactions can happen online they are not face to face and also you can not actually touch the product which can put a customer off from buying a product.
- Security- this poses a problem of both methods. With regards to ecommerce websites, security coms from people trying to hack into the site and therefore websites need to be updated regular and not prone to bugs or system failures. With a store there is always a risk of somebody breaking in and stealing products and assets of the business.
- Post purchase aftercare- it is important for businesses to keep in contact with the customer beyond the point of sale in order to gain feedback and ensure repeat purchases in the future. Both bricks and clicks allow post purchase aftercare although the customer may find it easier to go to a physical store and speak to someone in person about a problem. However an ecommerce site can also keep in contact with consumers via email etc.
All in all it is impossible to say that one method is better or more efficient than the other but it depends on the industry that the business is operating in. For example it would be completely inappropriate for a business selling cars to not have a physical presence where possible consumers can come a view the cars, however there have been many successful business’s who only have an online presence such as Amazon and Google and therefore it is difficult to say which presence is better, it just has to be suitable to your business model.
Of course it is also important to remember that many business’s choose to have both an online presence and a mortar shop which is very beneficial as they can take advantages of the positives of either made and supply goods to the consumer through multiple channels.