Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bricks and Clicks Business Model

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

By Cynthia Mittelsteadt, March 2, 2010

I was doing some research this morning on online shopping and found new ways to describe retailers that have online stores. I found this Wikipedia article fun.

Bricks-and-clicks is a business model where a company integrates both offline (bricks) and online (clicks) click-and-mortar or clicks-and-bricks, as well as bricks, clicks and flips, (flips referring to catalogs). One of the most major examples of this is WalMart's Site-to-Store centers.

For example, an electronics store may allow the user to order online, but pick up their order immediately at a local store, which the user finds using locator software. Conversely, a furniture store may have displays at a local store from which a customer can order an item electronically for delivery.

The bricks and clicks model has typically been used by traditional retailers who have extensive logistics and supply chains. Part of the reason for its success is that it is far easier for a traditional retailer to establish an online presence than it is for a start-up company to employ a successful pure "dot com" strategy, or for an online retailer to establish a traditional presence (including a strong brand).

The success of the model in many sectors has destroyed the credibility of analysts who argued that the Internet would render traditional retailers obsolete through disintermediation.

In economics, disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: "cutting out the middleman". Instead of going through traditional distribution channels, which had some type of intermediate (such as a distributor, wholesaler, broker, or agent), companies may now deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet. One important factor is a drop in the cost of servicing customers directly.

Disintermediation initiated by consumers is often the result of high market transparency, in that buyers are aware of supply prices direct from the manufacturer. Buyers bypass the middlemen (wholesalers and retailers) in order to buy directly from the manufacturer and thereby pay less. Buyers can alternatively elect to purchase from wholesalers. Often, a B2C company functions as the bridge between buyer and manufacturer.

To illustrate, a typical B2C supply chain is composed of four or five entities (in order):






It has been argued that the Internet modifies the supply chain due to market transparency:

  • Supplier
  • Manufacturer
  • Buyer


Cynthia Mittelsteadt

DubLi Shopping Consultant

(510) 659-6330

Skype: cynthia.ebishop


5178 Mowry Avenue #2164

Fremont, CA 94538



  1. Well written article, and I agree entirely. Thank you for your fresh point of view. Keep up the good work.

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