Ecommerce Websites VS Brick and Mortar Shops

The emergence of online shopping during the mid to late 90s had a revolutionary effect on the British retail sector. British online retail attributes to over 11.3% of total retail sales in 2015 (Sims, 2015). This outline a drastic change in consumer spending patterns since online retailing was only 2.7% of total retail sale in 2007. The intent of this blog is to outline some of the key attributes of both brick and click retail outlets.

The majority of traditional brick retailers such as Whsmith, HMV and Waterstones situated on the high street have had to incorporate a website presence into their existing store based business strategy. This ensures competitiveness with online based rivals such as Amazon, Book Depository and Rakuten. One of the major factors influencing consumer spending habits is the belief that products are cheaper online than in comparisons with products purchased within a store according to Mintel (Scheggia, 2013). Another benefit that online shopping provides is that consumer are not constrained by opening and closing hours creating convenience for consumers who have relatively spare time due to living hectic lifestyles(Parker,2016). Another benefits of online shopping is that’s they offer consumers with a wider and varied range of products that would not be available in a traditional retail shop. This is due to retail outlets being hindered due to the size of their premises.

Bricks are traditional retail outlet predominately situated in high streets or retail parks and still have certain advantages over online only retailers. An example is should customers have enquires about a product they can ask a member of staff questions instantaneously to inform their purchasing decisions. Some online provider do answer consumer enquires though they do take greater time to respond (Shopping Navigator, Not Dated). Another benefit is that traditional retailers situated in high streets and retail parks often have place where people can interact and socialise together such as coffee bars and pubs adding additional enjoyment to their shopping experience. Another advantage of traditional retailer outlets it is easier to return unwanted products than an online retailer since all you need to do is show your receipt and returned the products in a good condition. However with an online retailer you will need to repackage the products and file a complaint to the company online. This can be a timely process.

To surmise I believe that online retail has had a significant effect on consumer shopping. However traditional retailers can minimise the effect through competitive pricing, high standards of customer service and incorporating an online presence into their business strategy.


Parker, C. 2016. Web Shoppers are not killing the high Street – Poor councils and retail decision making does more harm. Online]. Economic Social Research Council. Available from [Accessed 22 January 2016].

Scheggia, C.2013. Future of Shopping: mortal and bricks vs online click. Online]. Real Business. Available from [Accessed 22 January 2016].

Shopping Navigator. Not Dated. Online vs Traditional Shopping. [Online]. Shopping Navigator. Available from [Accessed 22 January 2016].

Sims, J. 2015. The future of shopping is both clicks and bricks. [Online]. Raconteur. Available from [Accessed 22 January 2016].

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