Clicks Only, Clicks and Bricks, and Bricks Only: Are Retail Salespeople an Important Factor in Choice?
The last decade, specifically the last three years have been difficult for traditional retailers. Increased market fragmentation and both local and global competition characterized the initial period of the decade. In the last three years, the threat of the Internet has increased the competitive pressure that retailers face. Although the bricks versus clicks battle has largely been won by brick stores, and the etailing market (click only) has imploded, the threat to firms from the Internet has not declined. Some traditional retailers (bricks) have created an Internet presence (clicks and bricks) that has led to enhanced interest regarding the Internet by retailers who have not joined the Internet revolution. The central question that this paper seeks to answer is whether the preference or choice of bricks over clicks is due to the consumer's ability to physically examine the merchandise, or is a result of the service salespeople offer. The results suggest that the role of salespeople may be limited in customers' choice of store format. This article discusses strategies to elevate the role of salespeople in stores are then discussed.
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