How to Succeed at Bricks and Clicks: A Guide for Omni-channel Retailers
We’ll take a look at how Bricks and Clicks retailers can grow their businesses in 2023.
The retail industry is awash with various buzzwords and it can be hard to know what the latest focus is. Now more than ever, retail is evolving over various platforms with ‘customer experience’ being at the centre.
‘Bricks and clicks’ is one of the latest in retail terminology and describes retail businesses which exist both online and in physical stores. Usually customers can walk into the physical shop, hence ‘bricks’ or purchase via eCommerce ‘clicks’, and so the term simply refers to customers shopping seamlessly with your brand across both physical and online stores.
Although operating with separate channels, bricks and clicks retail businesses operate as a single body so the terms ‘omni-channel’ and ‘bricks and clicks’ can be used interchangeably. If you’re an omni-channel retail business then getting the customer experience right across your bricks and clicks is essential, and getting it wrong can be catastrophic.
In this guide, we share how to succeed with your bricks and clicks retail business.
Do You Need to be a Bricks and Clicks retailer?
Since the development of online platforms, the consumer journey has become far less straightforward. Social media has played a big part in the transformation of the way people make decisions for purchases. Unsurprisingly, retailers have needed to adapt to this shift in order to keep up. Simply put, it’s not enough to be a single-channel retail business.
The ONS reports a decline in internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales since they peaked during the COVID19 pandemic. These levels are still elevated compared to the beginning of 2020 so we know that internet shopping is not to be overlooked.
According to a recent report, ‘understanding how customers want to engage with a brand is a constant battle.’ The benefits of quick and convenient shopping may attract some consumers, while a more personal experience in a physical store may be preferable to others. There is also the balance of ‘webrooming’ and ‘showrooming’ to consider:
- Webrooming - Researching a product online and making the purchase in store.
- Showrooming - Viewing a product in store and making the purchase online.
Certainly when buying more expensive items, 79% of customers still prefer to visit a physical store to make the purchase, even if they’ve been researching via an online platform. In contrast to this, 70% of customers have seen a product in store and then made the final purchase online.
Clearly the synergy between shopping online and in-store is what attracts customers and their ability to move fluidly between bricks and clicks depending on their level of trust in a company. With such a large percentage of consumers researching their purchases online but putting their trust in the physical stores, it’s essential to be a bricks and clicks retailer.
How do I become a Bricks and Clicks Retailer?
Choose your channels
There are various online channels to choose from these days and much to consider for each of them:
- Online Store - You can launch your own branded store with an eCommerce platform such as Saledock. You can also create an app to simplify shopping for your customers and encourage mobile sales.
- Social Media - Meta platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and other social media platforms now have built-in eCommerce. The rise of influencer partnerships and paid ads means that customers are now shopping, even if they don’t realise it.
- Third Party Marketplaces - In addition to your own online store, or instead of, you can list your products on such sites as eBay, Etsy or Amazon to name a few. The benefit of these sites is that they have a loyal following already so you can get your brand out there.
- Comparison Shopping Engines - Although similar to third party marketplaces, the direct comparison of products on Google Shopping for example, is what drives the customer experience.
The channels you choose should be a decision made carefully by considering your audience. For instance, a younger consumer is more likely to engage with your brand through social media platforms so investing in your social media presence would be a must. If you’re looking to attract a wider audience then gaining exposure to your brand on third party marketplaces or comparison engines would be the way to go.
Set up your back office
When you’re sure of the channels that make sense for your omni-channel business, it’s time to set up a unified system for logistics. Despite having great online sales channels, your retail business is nothing if you’re not on top of your stock. Common problems with inventory management can include selling items twice due to not having up-to-date data for your stock, overstocking or understocking. Mistakes like these can be very costly to retailers and most consumers will quickly move onto your competitor to supply them.
With Saledock’s unified ePOS, you can manage your multi-store, online and marketplace inventory from a single app. Inventory levels are instantly updated with every sale, whether it’s made in store, online or on social media.
Promote your sales channels
In such a fiercely competitive market, you can’t expect customers to simply find your online channels. You have to make your presence known with promotions and marketing. This could include:
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Direct mail
- Signage and in-store promotion
In addition to this you might also want to consider:
- Paid digital advertising
- Influencer partnerships
Analyse the customer experience
Having data from your bricks and clicks will give you a wide-angle view of your whole business. With Saledock’s reporting and insights tools you can understand your business better with real-time eCommerce and point of sale reporting and analytics. Saledock allows you to discover customer buying habits, how often they shop and how much they spend. With these insights, you can personalise your customers shopping experience and target your marketing campaigns more effectively.
Top Tips for Successful Bricks and Clicks
We have a few top tips to share:
- Be a truly omni-channel business - Bricks and clicks isn’t just about being a physical store with an online shop and vice versa, the single most important element is the unified and seamless experience for customers. In order to be successful, they must feel as though they are receiving a consistent brand experience no matter where they shop with you.
- Choose a unified ePOS solution that’s designed with omni-channel retailers in mind - A solution like Saledock will give you everything you need from a single subscription and keeps all of your business in one place.
- Meet the needs of your customers - A true omni-channel business can keep up with demand creating a seamless experience across all of your channels.
So What’s Next?
The first step on your eCommerce journey is to equip your physical stores with a powerful ePOS to start off on the right foot. Saledock offers a true all-in-one ePOS, eCommerce and inventory solution:
- Bespoke to you - Quality websites built on Saledock’s eCommerce platform
- Sell on social - Advertise your products across multiple platforms
- Marketplace shopping - Read a wider audience with Google Shopping
Sign up for our 14-day FREE trial or why not book a demo? You’ll get unlimited access to all Pro Plan features for a full two weeks with no credit card required. See for yourself why Saledock has been named Point of Sale Technology of the year at the 2022 Retail Systems Awards! Get in touch to find out how Saledock can help you get started with bricks and clicks retail.
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