From clicks to bricks

Meso Trend – From clicks to bricks – Evaline Vlaanderen, 08-09-2016

Bought online, delivered at home. To many people, online purchasing is their primary way of shopping these days. When you look at this trend you see that the internet brings many advantages to customers. For example: day and night availability, low prices due to competition between companies and personalization. But, physical retailing may not be outdated yet. There is a new trend on the rise: online shops are opening physical shops.

A recent trend within the online purchasing maxi trend is that it online retailers such as Cool Blue and Amazon are opening physical shops. In the last few years, give or take 20 online companies in the US launched a physical store to market their wares in a better way, forge closer customer relations, and ultimately boost online generated traffic and sales. (The Guardian, 30 Januari 2016) Also fashion brands, food based services and other retailers that before were only available online are opening physical stores. This trend, I believe, is kind of a counter trend to the ‘only online’ shopping trend which made many physical retailers go extinct. Physical stores are regaining their appeal.

I will explain why I found that online shops opening physical shops is a meso trend. Firstly, a meso trend is always consumer based. By opening physical stores, companies aim to increase awareness and draw customers into a physical place where they can have an experience of the brand. (The Guardian, 30 Januari 2016) Seen from the trend pyramid, this trend is still happening in the present.

One of the main reasons this trend exists is because of the need consumers created to shop in physical stores. In 2015, 54.5 percent of dutch people prefer physical shopping and only 10.4 percent of people shop completely online. In 2014, a whole of 35.2 percent of people were combining online with offline shopping, a percentage that the last period has increased to 54.1 percent in 2015 and will be expected to increase.(MKB service desk, januari 2016) In other words: where now the majority of consumers shop mostly either online or offline, cross channeling will become their way of shopping in the future. Because this trend is new and not a repeat it proves not be a fashion. It also has a lasting effect on society it proves that it is not either a hype or mania, which both tend to have no long term impact on society.

The days of buying products only online are over. If a customer wants to buy something, he or she will combine online shopping with offline shopping. Cross-channel retail is the future, predict ABN AMRO and CBW Mitex. (MKB service desk, januari 2016)

Combining online and offline seamlessly can be a challenge, as retailers with a presence in both channels often struggle because they view the two channels as separate, but that is not how people shop any more. (Warc, April 2016) Creating a good in-store experience that leverages online tools is not easy, but if its done right it will benefit the retailer as a brand as well as sales on- and offline. The key is that retailers work out a detailled plan on how to convert and display their online positioning and services into a physical channel. (Adformatie, November 2011)

Physical stores offer online retailers something unique the Internet cannot: a space to experience the brand’s community, products and strong customer service in person. (The Canadian Press, 4 July 2016)

Now that it has been proven that the trend of shopping will be cross channeled, a final question for you: In which part should a retailer invest, in the on- or offline aspect of its store?

Reference list:

Warc, Passport, (April 2016), The evolution of online shopping: pricing, consumer trust and personalization. Retrieved 05/09/2016 from:

Mark Walsh, The Guardian, (30 Januari 2016) The future of e-commerce: bricks and mortar. Retrieved 06/09/2016 from:

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press, (4 July 2016) What Online Retailers Need Physical Stores For, Retrieved 07/09/2016 from:

Redactie mkb service desk, (21 januari 2016), Klanten willen online én fysieke winkel
12/09/2016 from:

Maarten Hafkamp, Adformatie, (November 2011), Consument wil online én offline winkelen
Retrieved 12/09/2016 from:


3 thoughts on “From clicks to bricks

  1. An interesting article, but unfortunately you do not answer a lot of the questions I will be grading you on. Why is it a trend, what are the various layers of the trend pyramid, where is this trend in the trend life cycle? Have a look at the slides and the assessment form in the student guide, to make sure your article is actually gradeble. If I were you I would adjust this article, so I can use it for the grading, because the topic is nice and you obviously did some nice research on it. Another tip for future articles: try to find a few more sources. Most of the content now seems to come from only two sources.


    1. First off, thank you for your feedback! I completely understand your points and I have made a lot of adjustments so that the article fits the criteria of the student guide. I hope the changes I made are correct and have turned it into a sufficient article. -Evaline


  2. -Peter Engelshove-

    The question is where retailers should invest in, the online or offline aspect of the stores. I think that these two worlds can’t be seen separate anymore. They are more and more connected to each other and are on the same level. In the article I am missing the definition ‘Omnichannel’, whereby consumers get in touch with the product by multiple channels (this could be offline or online). Consumers won’t see any difference between the channels, but are focussing on the brand or company (Marketing Abacus, 2014).

    An example, nowadays consumers can see which products are available in the stores by using some big screens in the store. The products which aren’t available at the current location, could be easily ordered en transferred from another location. So I think the question should not be if there will be only an offline or online world, but two worlds will have to reinforce each other.

    Marketing abacus. (2014). Alles wat je moet weten over omnichannel. Retrieved 15 September, 2016, from


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