Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Brick And Click

Posted by Elyse Bruce on April 15, 2013

With the clear separation between online shopping and brick-and-mortar store shopping, it wasn’t long before the expression brick and click was heard more and more in business conversations. Offline (brick) shopping and online (click) shopping meant that corporations and entrepreneurs had to pay attention to the way they marketed their brand to their customers, since those who preferred brick shopping appeared to have a different mindset than those who preferred click shopping.

Now, not every business is click-friendly just like not every business is brick-friendly. When reporter Randall Stross wrote his news story “Why Bricks And Clicks Don’t Always Mix” for the September 18, 2010 edition of the New York Times, he wrote in part:

Blockbuster’s experience shows that executing a bricks-and-clicks strategy entails a high degree of difficulty, managing not just two very different kinds of businesses, with dissimilar domains of expertise, but also a third challenge: integrating two separate systems. An online-only service can remain a best-in-class operation because its executives focus, focus, focus on just the online business.

This was clear back in July 2001 when the eCommerce Times online magazine edition of July 7, 2001 published their story entitled, “Brick-and-Click Does Not Mean Overnight Success.” Of special interest in the article was mention that not every brick-and-mortar store should become a brick-and-click store as evidenced by this tidbit:

While Federated is only going to narrow its offerings and eliminate less popular categories on Macys.com, the company is shutting down the e-commerce aspects of its Bloomingdales.com operation. From now on, Bloomingdales.com will be nothing more than an informational and marketing site for the company’s brick-and-mortar department stores.

Now Chris Lester, Assistant Managing Editor for the Kansas City Star newspaper reported on February 1, 2000 reported on the struggle to create a term for shopping online. The article, entitled, “Not Brick, But Click And Mortar” it was clear that no one was sure what the expression would be. The article began with this insight:

Here’s a new equation for retail and real estate at the dawn of the Internet epoch.

Brick and mortar + click and order = click and mortar.

That’s the hopeful word coming from retailers, vendors, brokers and developers who gathered last week at the Ritz-Carlton for a day of brainstorming sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Sometime between February 2000 and July 2001, all that was worked out and the accepted term for stores that had both offline and online shopping for customers became known as brick and click.

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