Guest Contributor

How to Run a Brick and Mortar Business in 2023

By | Alexandra White

2023 is a rapidly changing year, with new technologies and changes to the way that businesses operate. Running a brick and mortar business in this era requires you to be nimble and open to exploring new ideas.

There are a few key steps you’ll want to take in order to make it as successful as possible. 

These include creating a business plan, conducting primary market research and competing with the digital economy.

Conduct primary market research

Getting accurate information about the marketplace is essential to an ironclad process for product marketing. 

Many companies choose to perform primary market research themselves, while others outsource the task to specialists. However, a primary market research process must be carefully executed in order to be successful. In addition, the process must be well-defined and structured.

Conduct a Survey

One good way to conduct primary market research is to conduct a survey. Surveys are a simple way to gather information about potential customers. 

A survey can be promoted through targeted Facebook ads or local groups. However, you should only survey friends and family if they are part of your target audience. 

If they say they would buy a product, but they don’t, you may want to pursue another avenue.

Owner-Customer Interactions

In addition, a good entrepreneur will constantly interact with his customers. As he interacts, he will be refining his offerings. This is the best way to understand the needs of the consumer in the market. 

This is what Bill Aulet, an expert on entrepreneurship at MIT, calls “understanding the customer in all dimensions.”

Compete with the digital economy

Whether you’re operating a brick and mortar business or you’re starting up a new company, you’ll want to make sure you can compete with the digital economy. There are numerous advantages to going digital. 

These include lower prices, the ability to reproduce, and large returns to scale. But, you’ll also have to worry about the risk of disruption. 

A new economy, particularly in the digital age, means a higher risk of disruption than in the past. This means that policies aimed at ensuring a level playing field will need to adjust accordingly.

You’ll also need to consider the rising market power of large firms. This could exacerbate income inequality, as well as limit the diffusion of technology. This is especially true in markets with high returns to scale.

Competition Between eCommerce and Brick and Mortar 

Despite the fact that ecommerce has become increasingly competitive with brick and mortar businesses, brick and mortar stores still have a lot to offer consumers. 

With the right marketing strategies and a strong customer service focus, brick and mortar stores can thrive in the digital age.

Interaction Makes a Difference

One of the key benefits of brick and mortar stores is that shoppers can interact with the products in person. Ecommerce stores can’t replace the ability to try on clothing before buying. Also, consumers don’t have to worry about shipping costs.

Price and Quality Live Comparison

Brick and mortar stores also allow shoppers to compare prices and quality. This allows consumers to make an educated decision. They can also take advantage of pick-up options. Similarly, brick and mortar stores can provide free returns.

Gauging Consumer Mood

Brick and mortar stores are also able to gauge consumer moods. For example, if consumers are feeling stressed, they may choose to buy online instead of in person. They also don’t have to deal with a crowded shopping environment.

Besides offering consumers an experience, brick and mortar stores also give customers the chance to talk with sales reps. Consumers are willing to pay a small premium for this service.

Brick and mortar stores are also more likely to have better conversion rates than ecommerce stores. Customers are also more likely to remember the experience of visiting a brick and mortar store. 

The Challenges

Physical retail stores face a variety of issues and costs that e-commerce does not. 

Location:  Physical stores typically have to be located in high-traffic areas or shopping malls, which is expensive and can limit the potential customer base. Additionally, the physical store is limited to customers who are local or visitors in the area.

Hygiene and Pest management: With physical stores, there is an added cost for cleaning, pest management and maintenance of the facilities. In contrast, online stores do not have to worry about any of these issues.

Staffing: Physical stores require staffing for customer service, product restocking and safety management, which can be a high cost for businesses. In contrast, online stores do not require staff to manage transactions or customer service, thus reducing costs significantly.

Inventory:  Physical stores have to invest heavily upfront in their inventory, which is an additional cost that ecommerce stores do not have to worry about. Additionally, physical stores are stuck with the inventory they have in stock, so they can’t easily adjust their offerings and take advantage of changing trends or customer preferences.

Security: Physical stores have to invest in additional security measures, such as CCTV cameras and guards, in order to protect their stock from theft or vandalism. Ecommerce stores do not have to worry about such threats as the goods are stored and shipped away from the customer.

Returns: Physical stores usually have to deal with returns in-store, which can be costly in terms of both time and money. Ecommerce stores, on the other hand, can usually process returns via email or phone, with customers shipping the items back at their own cost. 

Overall, physical stores have to invest more time and money in order to keep up with the competition.

Are Brick and Mortar Stores Coming Back?

During the pandemic, retail locations were closed and consumers turned to ecommerce to buy products. However, the impact of the pandemic wasn’t the end of brick and mortar, as ecommerce is not the only game in town.

Consumers still prefer to buy products in person. While they may have become accustomed to shopping online, they also appreciate the convenience of having an item in their hands, and the ability to meet the product’s maker. 

This has led to an increase in the number of physical stores and retailers have had to rethink their business strategies and look a little different.

As retailers have reorganized, they have realized that they need to offer more in-store experiences in order to entice customers. This includes more personalization, customization, and selection. It’s also important to offer competitive prices.

Retailers will need to also make sure that employees are safe in the physical space. 

The brick and mortar comeback will require a symbiotic relationship between brick and mortar retailers and ecommerce. The former will have to adapt to meet the needs of the customer, while the latter will have to respond to shifting tastes and demands.

What is the Future of Brick-and-Mortar Stores?

Despite the rapid changes in the retail industry, brick-and-mortar retailers still dominate the retail landscape. But, with the rise of e-commerce, the future of brick-and-mortar stores is also evolving.

Physical stores will still thrive if they can offer a positive experience. Customers will assign a high value to a good store experience. Creating worthwhile experiences can pay off even in times of tight consumer budgets.

Retailers will need to invest in their supply chains to keep the costs down. Investing in employees is also a sustainable strategy.


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