Is Brick And Mortar Dead in 2021?


During the last year, many brick-and-mortar retailers had a tough time. Maybe it was the most intense and unpredictable year of our lives, but we can look at it as a changemaker. Because of the pandemic of unexpectedly large proportions, retailers were forced to close their doors to the customers. This move created a space for the accelerated eCommerce development. Taking advantage of the situation, the online stores managed to gain more customers and increase sales quickly. 

However, there is one question that remains, “Is COVID-19 really the end of brick-and-mortar? ”  

Why Is Brick And Mortar Dead? 

Perhaps the better question is: Whether it’s actually dead? This question is very debatable, and there are many answers, but let’s look at the situation this way:  

Thanks to the completely new, ultra-popular blockchain based eCommerce platforms, there is an excellent chance that eCommerce is the future. This fact does not affect bricks-and-mortar appearance, but it can completely change the way it works. If retailers want to keep up with new technology, they’ll need to make some reforms. First of all, being brick-and-mortar is an essential part of every retail strategy. One of the arguments that indicated that the “death” of bricks-and-mortar is premature is that after the lockdowns, people certainly want to go out and do some in-person shopping in 2021. That is the current reality worldwide, and it means that this type of shopping will probably survive. 

Making Changes 

One of the previous story’s conclusions is that brick-and-mortar should continually change to keep its place in an overall retail strategy. Let’s be clear, the trigger for these changes is not only the coronavirus. The traditional retail model was already under pressure to transform before this situation. One of the most important things in the functioning of physical stores is omnichannel strategy. There will be a greater need to trigger excitement and inspiration in the store using digital touchpoints and exclusive products. One of the solutions for the retailers is to work with eCommerce as micro-fulfillment centers. Physical stores will offer things like click and collect for those customers who have ordered online and collect their purchase the same day. We can also expect some kind of convergence of online and offline experiences this year. 


People still want to visit the physical stores, but they don’t have enough time for that. As a quick and easy solution, they can use online shopping anytime, which means that physical stores will probably take up less space. The importance of personalized experience is increasing. For example, some stores already apply special location discounts for customers who use their mobile apps. It’s a great start to win the customers over. As we mentioned earlier, omnichannel will be the norm, but the most crucial reason physical stores will survive is social interaction. As humans, social interaction is an important part of self care routine, so a temporary restriction due to the virus’s situation could actually be a bounce-back in demand for brick-and-mortar stores. 


Last year was really turbulent and called into question the survival of the physical stores. Despite the rapid development of eCommerce, many world-renowned companies make significant investments in this type of store. Some of them are Walmart and Amazon. So, is brick-and-mortar dead? If you ask us, not yet.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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