Access the NEW Basecamp Support Portal

Brick and mortar

« Back to Glossary Index

Definition and History of Brick and Mortar

– The term ‘brick and mortar’ is derived from the traditional building materials associated with physical buildings.
– It was originally used by 19th-century American novelist Herman Melville in the book Moby Dick.
– The term ‘brick-and-mortar businesses’ is a retronym, as most shops had a physical presence before the advent of the Internet.
– The term is applicable to all stores with a physical storefront, not just those built out of bricks and mortar.
– It is also applicable in a pre-Internet era, contrasting businesses with physical retail presence with those that operated strictly in an order-by-mail capacity.
– Brick and mortar businesses have existed since the earliest vendor stalls in the first towns, dating back to 7500 BC.
– Physical presence, such as retail shops or service locations, has played a crucial role in providing goods and services throughout history.
– Large retailers in the 19th and early to mid-20th century started with a smaller brick and mortar presence and expanded as their businesses grew.
– Many small businesses, like diners or dry cleaning services, primarily operate using a bricks and mortar model.

Decline of Brick and Mortar

– The rise of online businesses, like Netflix, has affected brick and mortar businesses such as video rental stores.
– Customers prefer the convenience of instantly streaming movies and TV shows online rather than going to a physical rental store.
– There has been an increase in online retailers in the 2000s, fulfilling basic needs ranging from grocery shopping to book purchases.
– Sales through mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, have also risen significantly.
– The increase in dual-income households and the convenience of online shopping have decreased the number of customers going to retail outlets.

Benefits of Brick and Mortar

– Brick and mortar establishments provide face-to-face customer service, which can increase sales and improve customer satisfaction.
– Customers value the ability to touch and experience products before making a purchase.
– Research shows that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a product if they receive great customer service.
– In-person shopping experiences are preferred by many consumers, including teens who combine social interaction with shopping.
– Having a physical presence allows for showrooming, where customers try on or examine merchandise in-store before buying.

Brick and Mortar with Online Presence

– Brick and mortar businesses can also have an online presence, such as offering online grocery services.
– Having an online presence can complement the physical retail presence and reach a wider customer base.
– An attractive and well-designed website, reliable e-commerce system, and effective online marketing tactics are essential for online-only businesses.
– Governments are adopting e-government approaches, offering online services to cut costs and improve access to information and services.
– Online-only businesses may have non-public physical facilities for business operations and product storage and distribution.

Drawbacks of Brick and Mortar

– Fixed costs are a challenge for brick and mortar businesses.
– 70% of new start-up businesses fail within the first 10 years.
– Busy lifestyles make it inconvenient for customers to physically shop at stores.
– Traffic congestion adds to the difficulty of driving to physical locations.
– Brick and mortar stores selling luxury products tend to be more expensive.

Brick and mortar (Wikipedia)

Brick and mortar (or B&M) is an organization or business with a physical presence in a building or other structure. The term brick-and-mortar business is often used to refer to a company that possesses or leases retail shops, factory production facilities, or warehouses for its operations. More specifically, in the jargon of e-commerce businesses in the 2000s, brick-and-mortar businesses are companies that have a physical presence (e.g., a retail shop in a building) and offer face-to-face customer experiences.

Bricks and mortar retail shops on Marylebone High Street, London

This term is usually used to contrast with a transitory business or an Internet-only presence, such as fully online shops, which have no physical presence for shoppers to visit, talk with staff in person, touch and handle products and buy from the firm in person. However, such online businesses normally have non-public physical facilities from which they either run business operations (e.g., the company headquarters and back office facilities), and/or warehouses for storing and distributing products. Concerns such as foot traffic, storefront visibility, and appealing interior design apply to brick-and-mortar businesses rather than online ones. An online-only business needs to have an attractive, well-designed website, a reliable e-commerce system for payment, a good delivery or shipping service and effective online marketing tactics to drive web traffic to the site. Governments are also adopting e-government approaches, which is the use of online services for citizens to enable them to fill out government forms, pay tax bills and register for government programs online; these services aim to cut bricks and mortar costs (building leasing/purchase and staff costs) and improve services to citizens (by offering 24/7 access to information and services).

« Back to Glossary Index

Request an article

Please let us know what you were looking for and our team will not only create the article but we'll also email you to let you know as soon as it's been published.
Most articles take 1-2 business days to research, write, and publish.
Content/Article Request Form

Submit your RFP

We can't wait to read about your project. Use the form below to submit your RFP!
Request for Proposal

Contact and Business Information

Provide details about how we can contact you and your business.

Quote Request Details

Provide some information about why you'd like a quote.