How eCommerce shopping compares to brick and mortar

Jan 20, 2020

Contrary to what some believe, retail shopping (the brick and mortar store) is not going away.  However, our blog article today will be discussing the benefits of both the eCommerce and the brick and mortar shopping experience.  The digital shopping experience is sure to improve in the coming years.  It is all about providing a great customer experience.

Returning items ordered incorrectly:

Clothing items are returned more than any other item. Therefore it can be smart for some consumers to purchase from a brick and mortar store which allows them to try on each piece of clothing before purchasing. This being said though, there are eCommerce sites that have easy return policies.

Outside shopping experience versus eCommerce:

We all still enjoy getting out in the fresh air (away from our computers) and we still want to see, feel and check out items before buying.   As of yet, we are unable to smell a new fragrance or touch an item we are considering for purchase. However, for those with physical limitations, those that live in a colder climate, and other specific situations, eCommerce may be the best choice.
Let’s face it, when we find it inconvenient to travel to stores, for any reason, eCommerce is just the ticket.  Ecommerce offers another advantage as well.  We can shop online 24/7.  That being said, there are benefits to both eCommerce and the brick and mortar shopping experience.

Brick and mortar stores embrace eCommerce:

Today, many brick and mortar stores such as grocery stores, Walmart, Target, and others have embraced the eCommerce idea.  They opened their own eCommerce online stores to work in tandem with their brick and mortar location.
To attract more clients, they are offering a shopping service.  One of their employees becomes what is known as a proxy shopper.  This employee receives a list of items from the online side of the store.  He or she then fills the order and delivers the order to the customer.  The customer can also order from the eCommerce store and then pick up the order themselves when it is ready.  Brick and mortar stores are quickly embracing the new normal of the eCommerce shopping experience by joining them.

A new shopping experience: The unmanned store

The first unmanned brick and mortar store was opened in 2016 in Sweeden as an experiment.  It was filled with items such as bread, milk and those items most needed by the consumers of the little town of Viken Sweeden.  Those shopping in the store would select the items and use their mobile application leaving a digital receipt as they left the store.  There were cameras to watch all transactions and to discourage shoplifting.
The owner of the store is the only employee and the owner is the only one replenishing the store items.  In the future, we may see this type of store in our own neighborhoods.  China has also been testing this concept of the unmanned store.

Opening your own eCommerce store:

Before you hire a designer to set up your eCommerce shopping cart you must consider a few things first.  There are many options online for eCommerce shopping cart platforms.  Many of these have a large learning curve and once they are developed, they are very difficult to manage.  You must also know you will be responsible for packing and shipping your own products.
If you have a programmer on staff you can have them maintain and manage the shop for you daily.  However, this is a real business and needs someone available to manage the site.  The person in charge will be keeping the inventory and other items up to date.  If you don’t have any previous experience with online stores, we suggest you might consider a shopping cart method called Shopify.  This platform is easier to manage.  Our designer can set this up for you.  Once it has been published it is your responsibility to run the shop.

So you have a new eCommerce website, What’s Next?

Once you have finally completed the design of your brand new eCommerce website and have a few products ready to sell and ship, your work is not done. The work you do next will have a big impact on your success or failure as an online retailer.

Operating your eCommerce shop:

Many first time eCommerce retailers think the online store will run itself and sales and money will simply flow to them. This is far from true. Take the necessary training courses and tutorials so you can manage all of the regular tasks of owning a business.  An online store requires constant monitoring and site maintenance.

Monitoring eCommerce tasks include:

  • tracking sales
  • shipping products
  • invoicing payments
  • receiving returns
  • exchanges items
  • keeping and rotating inventory

Site maintenance includes:

  • software updates
  • regular site backups
  • search engine optimization

Customer care:

You want to be sure visitors and buyers that visit your site will return. You need to develop a trust relationship with your customers. Here are some tips:

  • Display your policies prominently.  Returns, Exchanges, Refunds, Shipping.
  • Provide a means of contact for customers to get answers to their questions. Email, Phone, and/or Information Request Form.
  • Describe your products completely to avoid customers receiving something they didn’t expect. This will reduce returns and exchanges.



It is possible to profit by opening an eCommerce store.  But to do this you must understand what is needed on your part and do your research and your due diligence.  There are many great tutorials online to learn how to operate and manage eCommerce platforms.
Keep in mind that retail shopping is not going away.  The brick and mortar store can survive along with the eCommerce shopping experience.  They both play a part in our ever-changing world of technology and the internet. If you choose to open your own eCommerce site we wish you every success.

Latest news from Inside Design Orlando:

Congrats to our latest eCommerce site owner Veronica Campbell Brown.  Her new fitness clothing site is now available for new customers.  Visit her great new eCommerce site.
A new reveal for Florida Law Support Services and staff.  Their new site (just launched) will serve them well in the coming year.  Thanks for choosing Inside Design Orlando for your new re-design.  Their old site was over ten years old and it was high time for a new look and feel for 2020.
Special thanks to Bryan at Settle the Claims for choosing us for their new website. Providing residential claims adjusting for Central Florida including  mold damage, fire, water and wind damages.
Thanks for stopping by and keep in touch as we work hard for our website clients this year.  Contact us for your next web design or for your very first eCommerce project.
Best regards to your success.
Jean Holland-Rose
Chief Creative Officer & SEO Professional


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