“Brick and mortars”, pure players, how to enhance proximity with customers?

“Brick and mortar”, pure players and “click to mortar”


Customer service and customer experience are key contributors for your company’s success, whereas you’re a B2B or a B2C actor.


If we have a look from a very macro (and Manichean) position we can identify two groups of companies depending how they do business and interact with their customers.


– Brick and mortar : Companies that are not culturally leveraging web’s opportunities to do business. For those companies, cost to address a customer is very high as face to face interaction is still the main channel used. Level of proximity with customers is very high. They are called “brick and mortar” in reference to their physical selling points.


– Pure player web : Companies that are deeply leveraging web opportunities to do business. For those companies, cost to address a customer is very low. Multichannel and Automation allows today a strong customization of messages to balance loss of proximity.


We can easily find companies belonging to each of this groups.


A classical moove for a traditional company is to become a “click and mortar” company. Levering more web opportunities trough e-commerce activity and using their physical sells points as showrooms. If those companies sells products also sold by pure players, they also became showrooms for them… Nevertheless, they choose to keep physical shops to maintain proximity with customers.


Pure player tends to provide more and more services with their products, also, when they sell expensive products (bikes, travels,Hi tech,…), they may need their own showrooms to get closer to final customers. An article found in les echos explains pretty well this trend. Pure players are opening shops! Even if the new has not been confirmed yet, Amazon is thinking in opening a first shop in the US. In France for example, companies like LDLC.com, Promovacances or Cdiscount are opening new stores.


“Brick and mortar” and “pure player” are both looking to leverage web opportunities creating or keeping proximity with customers while adopting a “click and mortar” model.


For a Brick and mortar company, the digital transformation should not be only opting for a e-commerce strategy


During the last decade, many “brick and mortar” companies opted for a e-commerce strategy. This was a good strategy to limit market share erosion towards pure player but in a way, traditional players were trying to compete pure players on their own territory…with a bit of delay. Technology used by pure player was far ahead and at the end of the day, not that successful for the main part of “brick to mortar” companies.

 They also started to outsourced their customer services. Most of the time, customer satisfaction level dropped as the service was outsourced to low qualified resources.

 While shaping their digital strategy, “Brick to mortars” company should think in leveraging their more important assets : Proximity with customers and qualified employees.


They will find new solutions to bring this priceless value to their customers.


New solutions to enhance proximity with customers


Being able to interact remotely and in real time with a customer, in conditions close to face to face is a good strategy to deal with physical boundaries and broadcast impactful messages.

Visio and content sharing applications had a strong disadvantage for B2C and large B2C audience as it traditionally imposed to users to install specific applications. This is why so far, the main use of this solutions was restricted to internal use.

Today, technology allows to deploy such services without any application installation required for user. Thus, it is easy ton integrate remote detailing channel within multi-channel marketing mix.


Many experiences show outstanding benefits :


  • Availability of customer services / sales person for customer
  • Personnalisation of interactions and messages
  • Cost effectiveness or employee efficiency
  • Communication impact / In depth experience
  • (B2B) Target coverage and contact frequency


Please contact us for more information on our solutions.


By |May 11th, 2016|Article|

About the Author:

Graduated from Neoma, Sacha worked as a project director for 5 years for the French leader in multi-channel for the health industry . He then joined AstraZeneca, a world major pharmaceutical company, in 2010 and was Digital Director for France, implementing challenging international projects and leading the digital transformation of the company. With a strong customer sense & innovation driven thinking, Sacha is CEO of Codixis France and co-creator of andshift solution.