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Bricks and clicks, i.e. multichannel distribution. What is this about?

Bricks and clicks is an increasingly popular sales model that is used primarily by large enterprises focused on developing and building a strong brand. The company’s presence in multiple channels is the requirement of our times owing to constantly growing needs and expectations of consumers. What is bricks and clicks really about and what benefits does the model bring?

What is the bricks and clicks model about?

Bricks and clicks is one of the business models that relies on the integration of two areas of business – online and offline. It is used chiefly by large retail companies that have a well-developed logistics network. The model is ever more often implemented by the financial industry, but physical representation inspires trust to a greater extent than virtual customer service. This is especially true of the generation X which is less active in the web environment. Millennials (generation Y) are not so used to tradition; on the contrary – they are marked by greater flexibility and openness to new technologies. They expect businesses to offer a multi-channel shopping experience, combining visits to brick-and-mortar stores and online shopping, also via mobile applications.

In Q2 2020, the e-commerce share in total US retail sales stood at 16.1%, compared to 10.8% in the same quarter last year. Online shopping was the most popular choice of Internet users of the millennials (amounting to 84.8%) who are increasingly often buying via mobile devices.

Applying the bricks and clicks model

Multichannel distribution is particularly useful for large businesses that have retail outlets, complemented by an online store. However, more and more often online businesses are being expanded to include brick-and-mortar stores. For example, a DIY store can present products on request in its traditional outlet, while a customer has the opportunity to set the conditions and purchase online. Another example is an online electronics store, where the selected product can be collected from a brick-and-mortar shop. Online sales generate lower costs, since there is no need to rent space; however, large brands involved in multichannel commerce usually enjoy greater customer trust.

What are the benefits of multichannel distribution?

On the one hand, online stores do not need to incur expenses related to brick-and-mortar operations; however, the multichannel gives the opportunity to develop a strong, more recognisable brand, and what is equally important – the brick and mortar commerce instils greater confidence among consumers. Many companies which decided to apply bricks and clicks have achieved their marketing goals, proving the model’s success. In order for a brand to grow stronger, it needs to observe changes in the minds of consumers who expect modern solutions and the ability to buy smoothly through any sales channel.

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