Brick and Mortar Stores vs Online Stores in 2022

  • Updated on: January 4, 2022
Brick and Mortar Stores vs Online Stores in 2022

Over the past decades, the traditional form of shopping at a brick-and-mortar store has been accompanied by another form of shopping, online shopping from e-commerce businesses.

Oftentimes people have wondered where the shift in shopping trends is headed towards. Will online retailers be the default way to shop, or will brick-and-mortar stores still be a popular place to shop in the future as they are now.

In this article, we will be taking a look at brick-and-mortar stores vs online stores, to see which option will be better going into 2022. Furthermore, both brick stores and online stores will be compared based on the following 6 factors:

  1. Product Prices
  2. Convenience
  3. Product Assurity
  4. Product Information
  5. Accessibility
  6. Overall Shopping Experience

Both brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce businesses (online stores) will be compared for the above-mentioned features, and at the end of each “round”, a winner will be picked to decide the result of brick-and-mortar stores vs online stores.

Round 1: Prices

bricks and mortar vs online stores prices

The first thing a person checks and compares, regardless of whether he/she is shopping at a brick-and-mortar store or an online store, is prices. After all, the price of a product is what finally makes a person decide to buy or not buy a product.

bricks and mortar vs online stores prices 2022

Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Product prices at brick-and-mortar stores tend to be standardized to a certain degree, you will find that prices don’t vary too much between the same products at different brick-and-mortar stores. Furthermore, even when compared to online retailers, the price for the same product remains largely unchanged.

Brick-and-mortar stores do occasionally have promotional events where products are sold at discounted prices or in special offers. Furthermore, promotional events make buying at a brick-and-mortar store more attractive to customers who are encouraged to visit the physical store to buy products.

Clearance sales are also another occasion where brick-and-mortar store owners slash their prices because they need to clear a certain amount of products quickly to make room for new ones. For shoppers, clearance sales are seen as an excellent opportunity to get products at a lower price.

Online Stores

Similar to brick-and-mortar stores, different online stores more or less tend to have the same product prices across various categories.

Online stores also have promotional or seasonal events where products are offered at discounted prices and in special offers. However, when compared to physical stores, online retailers do tend to have more frequent promotional events with greater discounts. 

It is much easier for a customer to check which other online stores are having a promotional event as all it requires is opening a new web page. Therefore, online retailers have a significant advantage that allows customers to quickly move back and forth between different stores to check and compare prices, which will be quite time consuming while visiting physical stores

Winner and Final Thoughts

bricks and mortar vs online stores winners

Online stores win this round due to having more frequent discounted prices, and the ability to let customers compare prices quickly between different online stores.

Brick-and-mortar Stores (0): Online Stores (1)

Round 2: Convenience

bricks and mortar vs online stores convenience

In this round, we will compare the convenience of a brick-and-mortar store vs an online store. Moreover, convenience is a measure of how easy it is to buy a product from a store, and it usually takes the following factors into consideration:

  1. Distance of the store from point of origin
  2. Ease in commuting to the location
  3. Time to complete the transaction  
bricks and mortar vs online stores convenience 2022

Brick-and-Mortar Stores

For a brick-and-mortar store convenience can either be highly convenient, highly inconvenient, or something in the middle. Furthermore, it all depends on the following factors that measure the convenience of a brick-and-mortar store.

Firstly, the store has to be located close to the customer’s origin point so that they don’t have to travel long distances to get to the physical store. Moreover, physical stores that are a long distance from the customer’s origin point are more likely to be easily dismissed as a place to go to. 

Secondly, the location of the store has to be properly mentioned to guide customers to the store. Luckily, there are product/store locator plugins, such as Agile Store Locator Plugin, WP Maps, which are specially designed to provide your customers with accurate information about your store, such as location directions, address, store timing, etc. Thus ensuring your customers find your store easily, which also increases your stores’ convenience rating.

Lastly, the physical store must be able to complete a customer’s transaction fairly quickly, as no one likes to wait in a long line at the checkout counter. Therefore, improvements such as self-checkout and express checkout are very useful in providing convenience for customers.

Online Stores

Online stores are very convenient as they don’t require traveling to a store to make the purchase, all they need is an electronic device and an internet connection. 

Customers can simply go to an online store, browse and select the products, and make the payment. Moreover, once the transaction is complete, the product will be delivered to either their home or office, saving the customer the effort of going out and buying the product themselves.

All these features make online stores a very convenient place for shopping.

Winner and Final Thoughts

bricks and mortar vs online stores winners 2

Online stores take the win in this round as well.

Due to the high level of convenience online stores offer through online purchasing, home delivery, and quick checkout, we can say without a doubt that online stores provide a level of convenience that physical stores can’t match.

Brick-and-mortar stores (0): Online Stores (2)

Round 3: Product Assurity

bricks and mortar vs online stores product assurity

In this round, we will take a look at product assurity for a brick-and-mortar store vs an online store.

Product assurity means how sure customers are that what they buy will:

  1. Come into their possession
  2. Meet their expectations
bricks and mortar vs online stores product assurity comparison

Brick-and-Mortar Store

For brick-and-mortar stores, product assurity is extremely high because a person has the option to physically go to the store, look and try the product, purchase it, and bring it home. As a result, product assurity from a brick-and-mortar store is almost 100% guaranteed.

Online Stores

In the case of online stores or e-commerce retailers, there is always an element of doubt while buying a product. For example, unless you buy from a well-known store, there is always a chance that the product bought from an online retailer might be fake, defective, or not-as-advertised. Furthermore, in some cases, customers might end up being victims of fraud, where online retailers pretend to sell a certain product but, in reality, they only wish to take the customer’s money and disappear.

Secondly, even if a product is purchased from a reputable online retailer, there is still a chance the product could get lost, mishandled, or not reach its final destination at all. In this case, the customer will have to go through, sometimes, complicated refund policies and procedures to be compensated.

Winner and Final Thoughts

Brick-and-mortar stores take their first win in this round, due to having almost a 100% product assurity. Moreover, in a brick-and-mortar business, the customers can have more peace of mind while buying products, because they know that what they are buying is exactly what they are getting.

Brick-and-mortar stores (1): Online Stores (2)

Round 4: Product Information

bricks and mortar vs online stores product information

While shopping, people like to know more about the products they are buying, and it is the retailer’s job to provide adequate product information to a customer so that they can make a purchasing decision.

In this round, we will compare how the product information is conveyed for a brick-and-mortar store vs an online store.

bricks and mortar vs online stores product information comparison

Brick-and-Mortar Stores

To convey product information to customers, brick-and-mortar stores use product descriptions, product demonstrations, and free trials to provide their customers with all the information they need to make a purchasing decision. 

However, the most valuable way through which brick-and-mortar stores convey information is by having trained customer service agents who are well-versed in product knowledge. Furthermore, customers feel more satisfied receiving product information from another human being, rather than a machine.

Online Stores

Online retailers and stores also provide customers with product information through product descriptions, images, and videos.

While some online retailers may have features such as live chat available for customers to ask questions, a live chat session is not as capable of providing adequate product information as a face-to-face session with another human being does.

Winner and Final Thoughts

Brick-and-mortar stores take the win for this round due to being able to provide accurate product information through customer service agents. Furthermore, a customer service agent is more effective in providing customers with product information than any method an online retailer uses.

Brick-and-mortar stores (2): Online Stores (2)

Round 5: Accessibility 

bricks and mortar vs online stores accessibility

In this round, we will compare the accessibility of a brick-and-mortar store vs an online store.

Accessibility is defined as how easy it is to get to or gain access to either a physical store or an online store.

bricks and mortar vs online stores accessibility comparison

Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Brick-and-mortar stores have generally high levels of accessibility because literally anyone can visit or go to a physical store. Furthermore, there are no restrictions whatsoever for entering a physical store, you don’t need to have special equipment or access to visit stores, they are open to everyone.

The only time a store’s accessibility declines is if it’s located far away from a customer’s origin point or if the store’s location is not familiar to the customer. However, there are website plugins that solve the problem of smoothly directing customers to your physical store, these plugins are called product/store locators.

Product/store locator plugins, such as WP Maps, are an excellent way to increase your stores’ accessibility, and this is done by providing your customers with accurate information such as directions, location, address, and store timings. Therefore, product/store locators are a must-have tool for all brick-and-mortar businesses that are looking to increase the accessibility of their store for customers.

Online Store

Online stores tend to have a higher barrier of accessibility for some customers because to use an online store a customer needs to have the following prerequisites:

  1. An electronic device such as a smartphone, PC, tablet, etc.
  2. A stable Internet connection
  3. Credit/debit card to make cashless payments

Without any of the above requirements, it will become almost impossible to buy something from an online retailer. Moreover, an electronic device and internet connection are must-haves to access an online store, without these access to an online store is next to impossible.

A credit/debit card is also usually needed to make a purchase at an online store. However, not everyone has access to credit/debit cards, which makes them unable to purchase products from stores that don’t accept cash-on-delivery.

Winner and Final Thoughts

The winner for this round is brick-and-mortar stores for being more accessible than online stores. Furthermore, unlike online stores, a physical store does not need you to have certain equipment, such as smartphones or an internet connection, to pay them a visit.

Brick-and-mortar stores (3): Online store (2)

Round 6: Overall Shopping Experience

bricks and mortar vs online stores overall shopping

In this round, we will compare the overall shopping experience in a brick-and-mortar store vs an online store.

Whether your customers are shopping at a physical store or an online store, one of the most important things you need to provide them is a good shopping experience. A good shopping experience is one that usually involves having an overall good time by:

  1. Having fun shopping
  2. Buying something new or exciting
  3. Having a smooth checkout
  4. Spending time with family and friends
bricks and mortar vs online stores shopping experience comparison

Brick-and-mortar stores 

Generally, brick-and-mortar stores provide an overall positive shopping experience because shopping in physical stores is an activity that can be shared with other people such as family and friends. Moreover, for many people, nothing beats a fun shopping trip with family and friends. This is mainly because shopping at a physical store is a more social form of shopping that involves:

  1. Commuting to and from the store
  2. Interacting with products and people directly
  3.  Experiencing something new 
  4. Trying out new and different products

Shopping at a physical store can be a form of outing for many people as it involves physically walking, and talking with other people. As a result, physical stores can provide a much more social experience than online stores.

Online Stores

Although online stores are great for buying products, the issue here is that shopping at an online store is mostly a solitary experience. 

Once you have placed your order while shopping online, there is not much else to do, except to wait and receive your product. Moreover, in online shopping, there are no social or physical actions taking place such as driving to the store or talking to sales representatives. 

For the above reasons, online shopping does not exactly provide a fun, social experience that a traditional physical store does.

Winner and Final Thoughts

Brick-and-mortar stores take the win for the final round due to offering a much better shopping experience that is filled with travel, human interaction, and discovery.

Brick-and-mortar stores (4): Online Stores (2)

Overall Winner and Final Thoughts

bricks and mortar vs online stores final thoughts

Total Score:

Brick-and-mortar stores (4): Online Stores (2)

With 4 points going to brick-and-mortar stores in comparison to 2 points for online stores, it seems the overall winner for the comparison of brick-and-mortar stores vs online stores is brick-and-mortar stores.

Despite the popularity of online shopping, it seems that brick-and-mortar stores are still going strong, and they will no doubt continue to remain relevant in the future as well.

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