eCommerce websites vs. brick and mortar shops

Bricks vs clicks – the debate between buying products in store or online.

A company may operate either by an in store ‘brick and mortar’ model, or by an online ‘clicks’ model, but which is best for the company and the consumer?

Advantages of buying in store include the interpersonal experience between shoppers and shop assistants, as they can offer advice when buying products such as electronic goods, or when offering style advice in clothes shops. The shoppers are also able to physically see the product or try it on for size before they buy. Shopping in store can often also encourage impulse purchases, such as products at the till in supermarkets.

On the other hand, some consumers may prefer to purchase goods online to save time, and to compare products over a wider range of companies for price and quality. Some websites offer this service, an example being mysupermarket whereby consumers can work out which supermarket is the cheapest. Some consumers may prefer to buy products online, such as those that are used to online communication rather than face to face interaction. Due to lower fixed costs for the company, the price of their products are often reduced and companies begin to compete on price, which may reduce the quality of the goods.

Similarly to buying in store, online shopping can also encourage impulse purchases in the form of recommended items which relate to previous products that were purchased, such as the “customers who bought this also bought…” on

Bricks vs clicks also offers advantages and disadvantages for businesses. Starting up a business solely online can benefit a business as fixed costs are reduced, enabling the business to penetrate the market and build up brand awareness. However, some businesses which only sell occasionally bought, expensive products, such as cars, are more likely to want a physical presence as it is a longer purchasing decision for the consumer.


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