brick and mortar store

What Is a Brick And Mortar Store

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Are you a business owner considering a retail location? Wondering what benefits and challenges come with having a physical store space? brick and mortar stores are still an incredibly popular option for many shoppers, so let’s dive into the basics of creating and operating one.

Starting with the definition of brick and mortar (also known as ‘bricks’), stores are typically physical locations where customers can enter to browse products or seek assistance from staff. While there may be questions about which type of storefront is best suited for your operation, this post will cover everything you need to know about what it takes to run a successful brick and mortar store.

Defining the term brick and mortar

In the simplest terms, a brick and mortar store refers to a traditional street-side business that offers products and services to its customers face-to-face in an office or store that the business owns or rents. The term “brick and mortar” is used to differentiate physical stores from those that operate exclusively online.

Operating a brick and mortar store entails a unique set of challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, the physical presence of a store helps in establishing trust, enabling customers to touch, feel, and sample products before making a purchase, and providing immediate gratification as they can take home their purchases immediately. On the other hand, brick and mortar stores require significant overhead costs, including rent, utilities, and staff salaries. A brick and mortar business exists as a physical store or as a range of stores.

Despite the growth of ecommerce, brick and mortar stores still play a pivotal role in the retail landscape. They provide a tactile shopping experience that online platforms cannot replicate. Many customers prefer browsing through products in person, seeking advice from sales associates, and making immediate purchases. Therefore, the key to successful brick and mortar retailing lies in leveraging these strengths, offering a superior customer experience, and integrating online and offline channels to create a seamless shopping journey for the customers.

brack and mortar stores

Types of brick and mortar stores

brick and mortar stores come in various types, each catering to varying customer needs and preferences. Department stores are large retail brick and mortar establishments that carry a wide variety of product lines in different departments. They offer an assortment of merchandise ranging from clothing and cosmetics to furniture and appliances.

Supermarkets focus on food products alongside household items. They cater to daily shopping needs and typically emphasize low prices and convenience. Specialty stores focus on specific product categories like books, jewelry, or sporting goods. They often offer a comprehensive range of products within the chosen category, along with expert advice and service.

Chain stores are part of a group of the same stores owned and operated by a single organization. They are often found in numerous towns and cities across the country. Independent stores, on the other hand, are locally owned businesses. They often focus on providing personalized service and unique product selections. The type of products and services offered at brick and mortar stores vary widely based on the store type and target market.

From tangible goods like electronics, clothing, and groceries to services like repair work, salon services, or fitness training, the spectrum is broad and diverse. Some stores offer experiential services like cooking classes or DIY workshops.

Others provide consultative services where knowledgeable staff guide customers in making informed buying decisions, such as choosing the right skincare products or assembling a wardrobe. The key is to offer an in-store experience that extends beyond mere product purchase, fostering a deeper connection with customers.

Tips for setting up a successful brick and mortar store

Focus on Customer Experience: The key differentiator of a brick and mortar store from an online platform is the personal, tangible experience it offers. Ensure your store layout is inviting and easy to navigate. Trained, friendly staff can enhance the shopping experience, offering expert advice and personalized service.

Implement a Customer Loyalty Program: Rewarding repeat customers not only encourages them to come back but also helps to establish a strong customer base. Consider implementing a customer loyalty program that offers exclusive deals, discounts, or rewards for regular customers.

Leverage Local SEO: Make sure your store is searchable and visible online, especially in local search results. Optimize your website and online listings for local SEO, include your location in key search terms, and keep your Google My Business profile up to date.

Host Events and Workshops: Hosting in-store events or workshops related to your products or services can attract potential customers and create a sense of community. For example, a bookstore could host author readings or writing workshops, while a kitchen supply store could offer cooking classes.

Adopt Omnichannel Retailing: Embrace the integration of physical and online sales by offering services like “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) or “click and collect.” This approach can increase foot traffic to your store and offer convenience to your customers.

Following these strategies can help build a successful brick and mortar store in today’s challenging retail landscape. The key is to continually adapt, innovate, and focus on providing exceptional value and service to your customers.

Remember, while online shopping may be growing in popularity, many consumers still prefer the hands-on experience and personal touch of a traditional brick and mortar store. brick and mortar businesses are not limited to having a physical presence only; they may also have an online presence, such as Tesco, which offers an online grocery service as well as a brick and mortar retail presence.

How to create an attractive storefront that will draw customers in

Creating an attractive storefront requires a blend of aesthetic appeal, functionality, and relevance to your business type. Start with the basics: cleanliness and maintenance. Keeping your storefront clean, well-lit, and in good repair sets a positive tone and invites customers in.

The next step is to communicate your brand identity clearly. This might involve using your brand colors, displaying your logo prominently, or incorporating other design elements that signify what your business is all about. Window displays can be instrumental in this, showcasing your best products or creating visually appealing setups that reflect the current season or any ongoing sales or events.

Beyond aesthetics, your storefront should also offer practical information. This includes clear signage with your store name, business hours posted visibly, and any other details a customer might need before deciding to enter your store.

attractove brick and mortar stores

Lastly, remember that your storefront is an ongoing project. Regular updates, fresh displays, and seasonal decorations can keep your business looking vibrant and interesting, encouraging repeat visits. With a thoughtful, well-designed storefront, you can make your brick and mortar store a destination in its own right, standing out in the local retail landscape.

Advantages and disadvantages of brick and mortar

Brick and Mortar Store Advantages

Brick and mortar stores hold a unique advantage when it comes to offering a rich, tangible customer experience. The ability to physically interact with products can be a significant selling point, allowing customers to try items on, assess quality firsthand, and make more informed purchasing decisions. Furthermore, in-store shopping provides instant gratification, with no waiting time for shipping.

Another significant advantage lies in the personalized service that these stores can offer. Face-to-face interaction allows for a level of customer service that’s hard to replicate online. Store associates can address customer inquiries immediately, provide product demonstrations, and even suggest complementary products, enhancing the overall purchase experience.

Challenges of Running a brick and mortar Store

Despite these benefits, running a brick and mortar store comes with its own set of challenges. One of the most significant is the overhead costs associated with maintaining a physical storefront. These include rent, utilities, and upkeep, all of which are ongoing expenses, irrespective of sales performance.

Staffing is another substantial expense, requiring not only salaries but also time and resources for hiring, training, and management. Unlike online businesses that can operate around the clock with minimal staff, physical stores need to have employees present during business hours.

Furthermore, brick and mortar stores are limited by their geographic location. They can only serve customers within a certain radius, and expanding to new markets requires substantial investment. This contrasts with online retailers, who have the potential to reach a global audience with relatively little additional expense.

brick and mortar vs ecommerce

As we delve deeper into the comparison between brick and mortar stores and ecommerce, it’s crucial to highlight the unique advantages and disadvantages of each. On one hand, the brick and mortar retail experience offers a tactile interaction that is impossible to achieve online. Customers can touch, feel, and try products before buying, giving them confidence in their purchase decisions. This physical interaction, coupled with direct customer service, creates a personal touch that often leads to higher customer loyalty.

On the other hand, ecommerce platforms provide a level of convenience and variety that physical stores struggle to match. Customers can shop from the comfort of their homes at any time of day without the limitations of store hours or travel time. Plus, online shopping offers a wider range of products since it isn’t restricted by physical store space. This means customers often have more options and can easily compare prices and read reviews before making a purchase.

However, ecommerce also has its drawbacks. The lack of personal touch and physical examination of products can sometimes lead to dissatisfaction and higher return rates. Also, shipping charges and wait times can deter customers from being used to the instant gratification provided by brick and mortar stores.

While each retail model has its strengths and shortcomings, the choice between brick and mortar and ecommerce often depends on the type of product being sold and the target customer’s shopping preferences. As the retail landscape continues to evolve, many businesses are finding success with a hybrid model that combines the best of both worlds.

Examples of successful brick and mortar stores

Apple Stores are prime examples of successful brick and mortar stores. Known for their sleek design and interactive product displays, Apple Stores not only allow customers to explore and try out Apple’s products, but they also provide expert in-store services such as the Genius Bar for technical support and repairs. These stores create an immersive brand experience that reinforces customer loyalty and has been a significant factor in driving Apple’s global retail success.

Walmart, the multinational retail corporation, is another example of a successful brick and mortar store. Known for its vast selection of products and competitively low prices, Walmart has become a go-to destination for everyday shopping needs. Walmart’s physical stores serve millions of customers daily, providing a convenient one-stop shopping experience. They also leverage technology in their stores for services like Scan & Go and grocery stores, enhancing customer convenience and streamlining the shopping experience.

Amazon Go is a revolutionary brick and mortar store concept by Amazon. These stores feature ‘Just Walk Out’ technology that lets shoppers pick up items and leave the store without going through a traditional checkout process. The items are automatically charged to the shopper’s Amazon account, making for a seamless, friction-free shopping experience. Despite being an ecommerce giant, Amazon’s foray into physical retail exemplifies the ongoing relevance and potential innovation in brick and mortar retail.

Strategies for competing with online retailers

In the face of increasing competition from online retailers, brick and mortar stores must leverage their unique strengths and develop innovative strategies. One such strategy is to focus on creating exceptional in-store experiences. Unlike online shopping, physical stores provide customers with the opportunity to touch, feel, or try products before purchasing. Retailers can enhance this experience by designing attractive store layouts, hosting in-store events, and providing excellent customer service.

Another strategy is the implementation of a ‘Click-and-Collect’ or ‘Buy Online, Pickup in Store’ (BOPIS) model. This approach blends the convenience of online shopping with the immediacy of brick and mortar retail, allowing customers to make purchases online and then pick up their orders in-store at their convenience. This not only drives traffic to the physical store but also leads to additional in-store purchases when customers arrive for pickup.

Lastly, utilizing technology in-store can significantly improve the shopping experience and give brick and mortar stores a competitive edge. Interactive displays, digital signage, self-service kiosks, and mobile payment options are all ways that technology can be used to streamline the shopping process, improve customer engagement, and enhance overall satisfaction. By integrating these strategies, brick and mortar stores can remain competitively relevant and continue to thrive in the retail landscape.

How to open your first brick and mortar store

Technology has significantly impacted the success of brick and mortar stores, with online ordering systems and mobile payments standing out as key players. Online ordering systems have provided a new level of convenience for customers. By offering the ability to browse and order products online, physical locations have transformed into a more accessible platform for consumers.

This shift enhances the customer experience by saving them time and providing a more streamlined shopping process. It also allows stores to expand their customer base beyond their geographical location, reaching out to a global audience. Furthermore, data generated from online orders can provide valuable insights into customer preferences, enabling retailers to implement personalized marketing strategies and improve inventory management.

Mobile payments, on the other hand, have revolutionized the payment process in brick and mortar stores. They offer a faster, more convenient, and secure way for customers to pay for their purchases. This enhanced experience can lead to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and repeat purchases.

Furthermore, mobile payments allow for the integration of loyalty programs and promotional offers, further incentivizing customers to choose brick and mortar stores over online alternatives.

How customers can benefit from shopping at a brick and mortar store

Shopping at a brick and mortar store offers unique advantages to customers. A prominent benefit is the ability to physically interact with the products before purchasing. Customers can touch, feel, and test the product, enabling them to make more informed buying decisions. This tangible experience is often not possible with online shopping, where customers rely heavily on images and descriptions.

Additionally, brick and mortar stores provide immediate ownership. Unlike online purchases that require waiting for delivery, customers can instantly enjoy their purchased items when shopping in-store. This immediacy is particularly beneficial for last-minute gift shopping or emergencies when time is of the essence. Lastly, customer service plays a major role in enhancing the shopping experience at brick and mortar stores.

Customers can ask questions and receive immediate, personalized help from knowledgeable point of sale pos. This level of service can assist customers in making the right purchase decisions, providing a sense of confidence and satisfaction that can contribute to building long-term customer relationships. With a brick and mortar location, you can show your customers first-hand what your products are like.


What is a brick and mortar store?

A brick and mortar store is a traditional physical retail establishment where customers can buy goods or services in person. Unlike online shops, these stores have a physical presence that customers can visit, allowing them to interact directly with the products and receive personal customer service.

How does shopping at a brick and mortar store compare to online shopping?

While online shopping offers convenience and a wide range of products, shopping at a brick and mortar store provides a tactile experience, immediate ownership, and direct customer service. These factors can increase customer confidence and satisfaction, leading to long-term customer relationships.

What are the advantages of immediate ownership at a brick and mortar store?

Immediate ownership means that customers can take home their purchased items directly after the transaction without having to wait for delivery. This is especially beneficial for last-minute purchases or emergencies where time is crucial.

How does customer service enhance the shopping experience at a brick and mortar store?

At a brick and mortar store, customers can ask questions and receive immediate, personalized assistance from knowledgeable staff. This level of service can support customers in making informed decisions, increasing their confidence and satisfaction with their purchases.

Can brick and mortar stores integrate loyalty programs and promotional offers?

Yes, many brick and mortar stores integrate loyalty programs and promotional offers to incentivize customers. These programs usually provide points or rewards for each purchase, which can be redeemed for discounts or special products, promoting repeat business and fostering customer loyalty.


I hope this document has provided you with a better understanding of what a brick and mortar store is and how it compares to online shopping. While online shopping offers convenience, brick and mortar stores provide a unique shopping experience that cannot be replicated online.

The tactile experience, immediate ownership, and personalized customer service make brick and mortar stores an important part of the retail industry. With the integration of loyalty programs and promotional offers, brick and mortar stores continue to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing retail stores.

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Cam Morales

Cam is the Founder & CEO of, Bix and EcomUpstart - he built two 7 figure businesses since he started his entrepreneurship journey in 2016. He now helps others launch ecommerce stores and other online businesses.

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