Home – New Forums Starting your journey Is bricks & mortar retail a thing of the past in 2013?

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  • #981395
    Anonymous
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    Hi Everyone,

    From reading alot of the posts on this forum it seems that the idea of starting a bricks & mortar store is a very bad one.

    There are many posts on how bad an idea this is but I have yet to come across much post from people that runs successful small bricks and mortar retail stores.

    The down side of a B&M store has been well communicated in the forum. Hence, I wouldn’t want to start another discussion on this. However, I am very interested to hear from successful B&M store owners in the current (2013) era.

    What is your business and how do you manage to stay competitive and successful?

    Does bricks and mortar (in the near future) means shopping in Target, K-Mart, Big W, Myer, Just Jeans…etc?

    Regards,
    Benny

    #1130071
    PRO
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    Hi

    I have had a couple of long term B&M retailers go through liquidation in the past year. Massive drops in turnover. One of them was still increasing numbers of clients, it was just the spend per customer was falling with the decreases in cost of consumer electronics good.

    I think there are still many good options in B&M, it is just tough.

    regards

    Darryl

    #1130072
    AgentMail
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    I do believe that B&M stores are failing because they are not evolving in the way they need to. Looking at one I am myself passionate about – Cycle Shops. Every knows that I can get cheaper bikes, parts etc. from overseas than here in Oz. I believe cycle shops need to embrace this. Instead of stocking bikes on credit from the bike companies, free up that floor space and focus on the areas that people cannot get over the net – servicing, repairs, training (fitness and servicing), parts fitting etc. If it were me, I would actually have internet terminals set up and linked directly to the best overseas sites – I would be serving coffee at the same time, so people would still be spending money. I would then provide pricing for the fitting of the new parts. I would still of course stock the essentials, like tyres, repair kits, tubes and so on, but to change thinking in this manner would allow bike shops to draw new revenue streams, and survive in the internet age.

    Just my opinion though, haven’t had the opportunity to put this into practice… yet ;)

    #1130073
    Divert To Mobile
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    I totally disagree.
    I always have trouble finding a parking spot at my local westfield and the carpark is 5 levels high and spans 2 blocks.
    B&M is far from dead.

    Steve

    #1130074
    MatthewKeath
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    Divert To Mobile, post: 147483 wrote:
    I totally disagree.
    I always have trouble finding a parking spot at my local westfield and the carpark is 5 levels high and spans 2 blocks.
    B&M is far from dead.

    SteveAgree with Steve.

    Retail is changing, as it always does, with many established retailers struggling to understand the digital space, but smart retailers are using online and bricks and mortar together.

    #1130075
    Shaukat Adam Khalid
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    i business as in life, the majority are always wrong.

    B&M is just a channel and if you are selling low priced commodities to the mass market instead of high margin niche goods with a point of differentiation, your business will suffer offline and online unless you have deep pockets like wal mart and even they are struggling.

    just forget about the channel and think about where your customers go to. if they go online, don’t assume they will all buy online so consider online to offline marketing and vice versa.

    the main point is to understand your target market intimately and once you do that, it won’t matter where your channel is because they will come to you because you will position yourself as the only viable option.

    those who struggle are consistent in prioritising media over market and the message to engage that market effectively.

    #1130076
    Anonymous
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    Fantastic Response. There are 3 points that were made.

    • Embrace Direct Overseas import – Run retail store like a front for people to buy online and collect.
      I have seen UMART in QLD that is doing well selling computer parts like this. You have to order everything online and have options to pickup locally. It essentially becomes more a logistic set up. I heard there are some stores in NY that are purely try and exchange only – with all sales transactions online. Is this the future of B&M?
    • People still likes to hit the mall
      But are we seeing a diminishing number of small retailers in the mall?with predominate B&M owns by multi-million franchaise, chain stores and large department stores?
    • Niche and Differentiations –
      Here are we talking about selling things that no one else have online or offline so being niche? More original design focus type retail. E.g. Design your own dress, stain glass jewellery..etc. What other example of differentiations are there for B&M?
    #1130077
    Shaukat Adam Khalid
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    This article by someone who is clueless about value based pricing and differentiation but does a great job of explaining the benefits of it.

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/politics/be-alert-and-informed-and-you-may-pay-less-20130115-2crip.html

    #1130078
    The Copy Chick
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    Benny, I read this article yesterday which made some very good points about the issues B&M stores are facing in Australia. I’m also inclined to agree that it largely comes down to retailers being unwilling, or unsure, of how to keep up with the times and succumbing to the false economy of cutting costs in all the wrong places.

    Some of the disadvantages of buying online are:

    • consumers not being ableto touch/feel products
    • colours are not accurately represented on a computer monitor
    • sizes may not be what was expected (I found this out the hard way when I bought a light fitting for my loungeroom from an online retailer)
    • it may be difficult to obtain adequate customer service
    • if buying from overseas, you may not have recourse should the retailer screw you over
    • consumers most likey have to pay delivery on top of purchase price
    • downloads aside, there can be considerable wait time for products to arrive

    It’s these disadvantages that B&M retailers need to understand and exploit.

    Cutting staff and reducing customer service is NOT the way to increase sales. And don’t get me started on those stores that don’t have an online presence then whinge because they’re losing customers to online retailers. Most people will be researching online looking for somewhere local and if they can’t find it, they’ll buy it online. If you can’t be found in that space, you’re not doing yourself any favours (but that’s a whole ‘nother rant).

    I personally think there are some tremendous advantages for B&M retailers who are smart about how they set up and promote themselves.

    Khalid Adam, post: 147535 wrote:
    #1130079
    Anonymous
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    The Copy Chick, post: 147547 wrote:
    Some of the disadvantages of buying online are:

    • consumers not being ableto touch/feel products
    • colours are not accurately represented on a computer monitor
    • sizes may not be what was expected (I found this out the hard way when I bought a light fitting for my loungeroom from an online retailer)
    • it may be difficult to obtain adequate customer service
    • if buying from overseas, you may not have recourse should the retailer screw you over
    • consumers most likey have to pay delivery on top of purchase price
    • downloads aside, there can be considerable wait time for products to arrive

    (

    Now we are talking! This is the first step! It is to list out the key advantages/differentiators for B&M out side of price point. As it seems many discussions on B&M and online is solely based on price.

    Last month I bought a Samsung Galaxy S2 phone. I did my research and found the cheapest online price was $75 dollars(inclusive of delivery) less than what was offered at AllPhones. Now, my problem then was I had to put in huge amount of effort to find prices from B&M stores! My problem is not knowing how much more am I paying to buy locally. I endded up buy from AllPhones as I don’t want to wait and I know I can always go back. I will pay $75 more for this but I don’t like the effort I need to go through to find the prices from B&M Store.

    #1130080
    LucasArthur
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    Great thread,

    Personally, and it is a personal subjective comment, i find both B&M and Online have a need in the market. There are still some traditionalists that wish to see and feel a product (as previously mentioned) and to experience service as opposed to price.

    We run both, predominately online although offering a collection service from a B&M (warehouse with showroom) which we find backs up our legitimacy of being a REAL BUSINESS that some people struggle with when buying goods online. As we sell furniture, there are many needs for those buying to come and ensure something is the right colour, fabric, size etc etc. And in this space we find that if we did not have the B&M as a backup, that we would lose many sales of those wanting to ensure we are a business. Its hard to explain, although we get numerous calls into the office of people asking if we have a showroom etc although they dont venture in, although they do buy…

    In fact, we are currently considering a retail outlet in a main street location to maximise our exposure even further.. not 100% sold on it yet due to costs etc, although is currently being explored.

    I know i have run off a little,,,, although i do say B&M is not dead…Combining the current economic climate along with the demographics of our audience (age varies from first home owners 18+ through to early 60’s) we need to cover each persons buying comfort levels.

    Another point we find is that in our specific industry, many people also wish to come to us for ‘opinions’ as well which is rather difficult to provide over the phone.

    Hope this provided some input, although not sure…

    Cheers
    Jason

    ps.. still reading this thread.. so much valuable input..

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1130081
    Anonymous
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    Hi Jason,
    I am trying to be concious not to hog the discussion but it is now even more interesting as you are a one in a thousands in that you not only own a B&M store but also considering opening up another in prime area.

    In the previous posts we were talking about B&M embracing online, I would assume you are Online embracing B&M. I can see the benefits of online business with a B&M showroom.

    In your opinon is this the 21st century B&M model? As in in the near future all bricks & mortar are showrooms with predominate sales coming in from online and not in-store!

    Benny

    #1130082
    LucasArthur
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    bjc, post: 147617 wrote:
    Hi Jason,
    I am trying to be concious not to hog the discussion but it is now even more interesting as you are a one in a thousands in that you not only own a B&M store but also considering opening up another in prime area.

    In the previous posts we were talking about B&M embracing online, I would assume you are Online embracing B&M. I can see the benefits of online business with a B&M showroom.

    In your opinon is this the 21st century B&M model? As in in the near future all bricks & mortar are showrooms with predominate sales coming in from online and not in-store!

    Benny

    Wow Benny,

    This is an interesting question, one of which i am not sure i am versed enough to contribute.. My beliefs are personal and i find it difficult to be concise enough to explain. Although i will try..

    As for “is this the 21st century B&M model?”.. not really sure, i do know in our personal experience that having the B&M attached to the online mechanism provides an abundant amount of additional sales opportunities with those predominately a little concerned with buying purely online, sight unseen…

    In saying above… i do strongly believe that our personal approach to our clients also encourages the B&M component as we treat all our customers as an extension of our family and welcome them with open arms.. Actually, we have numerous clients call in after the sale (weeks or months) to say hello and we have them ‘educated’ as to what coffee we prefer when they do call in… LOL…

    This may also be true that they like coming into our showroom as we have not spent large $$$ on an ecommerce site and it may sort of ‘force’ people to check us out as well… Added to this, as we do a few sales through ebay, we also encourage direct contact with us via a phone call to try and avoid (oops did i say that!) some additional fees that we prefer not to pay if we can avoid ;P

    In interpreting the remainder of that sentence you asked “As in in the near future all bricks & mortar are showrooms with predominate sales coming in from online and not in-store!” i strongly agree with this with the majority of items and with those becoming more price sensitive they hunt out dollars.. and the more educated consumers become, and longer standing the online business become the more this comment will be true.. The current issue is weeding out the fly by nighters as opposed to the true legitimate online businesses, of which the B&M goes to re-enforcing…

    Wow, i went on again.. soz.. hope that adds a little…

    Cheers
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1130083
    Anonymous
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    Jason,
    Thank you very much for sharing your experience. What you have shared is a real live example of how B&M can work to your favour in 2013.

    I wonder if there are other savvy retailers out there that can also share their personal experence on running B&M in 2013 good or bad?

    Thanks everyone.

    #1130084
    Jodie McLeod
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    Hi Benny,

    Great question! We also got a few responses over on Facebook if you want to check them out.

    Best of luck for 2013!

    Jodie

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