Will Online Sales Kill Brick & Mortar? Is That Really the Question?

The retail landscape is changing rapidly. This is important to all of us artists because we are in the business of creating goods that we market and sell. Is the future going to be in online sales only? Or will brick & mortar stores be able to survive the technology driven landscape?

If you think this topic doesn’t apply to you, ask yourself where your sales primarily come from? Are they from:

  • Online sales (Etsy, Instagram, Facebook, Website)
  • In person at art shows or in a brick and mortar retail store

Both Worlds of Selling

I personally think all of us need to be addressing both of these worlds of selling.

The question shouldn’t be about online verses retail but about how we will create an experience that is seamless for our buyers from one selling platform to the next.


Examples of Addressing Both Worlds:

A great example of what I’m talking about is with my metal smith friend Aisha from Everthine Jewelry. Aisha is fluent in both of these venues of shopping, online as well as providing the brick and the mortar sales experiences. Aisha does an amazing job of promoting her company and selling her jewelry online through her website, Instagram, and Facebook.

Aisha’s brick and mortar sales come through her “Open Studio” and her busy art show schedule. Both of these venues are promoted through her online communities. It isn’t an either/or approach for Aisha, it is about being confident with both worlds and creating a seamless sales experience.

Being consistent in your branding (see New Year Goal! Branding Your Company!) and fluent in your marketing between online and brick and mortar can provide a seamless and easy experience for your buyer. It is also about showing the buyer who you are as an artist. They want to buy from a person with whom they feel a connection.


Another artist that does this well is Susan Forker of joeyfivecents. Susan uses her online presence on Instagram and Facebook to drive business to both her retail sales events as well as her online website. And in reverse, she uses her retail sales events to capture buyers and grow her Instagram and Facebook presence. Again, a great example of how this isn’t an either/or marketing approach.


Online Versus Brick and Mortar

In an article that Jonathan Bentz wrote for business.com, he summarized his article, titled How Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Survive in a Digital World, with this quote:

“There are certain things that will never go away even as technology becomes more integrated with our daily lives. Once you’ve accepted that you will be at a disadvantage when trying to keep up with online retailers, you must strengthen everything that online experiences can’t give your customers and do it better.”

I came across an info graphic by Shopping.FM that dives deeply into the Online verses Brick and Mortar conversation. For me, this proves that it isn’t an either/or problem to be solved. It is about doing both to the best of your ability and about creating a seamless experience for our buyers.


What have you found that works for you?

Would you like more articles like this to help you create a roadmap for success?


How to Purchase Wholesale?

If you are interested in becoming one of the many designers who trust their jewelry to Nunn Design Findings, please join us by registering to become one of our wholesale customers!

Nunn Design primarily sells wholesale, but we do offer Retail DIY Kit supplies for certain projects. For all other findings, please visit our Where to Buy Page for a listing of online stores that sell Nunn Design Findings retail.


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2 thoughts on “Will Online Sales Kill Brick & Mortar? Is That Really the Question?

  1. MCKAY Veronique says:

    Hi, I have both an online store and brick and mortar and they are complimentary. I call it the “triangle” – the site being the part that keeps me connected to my customers after their visit.
    My store is in a touristic village in France, and I get visitors from all over the world. They are often happy to discover that they can continue to purchase from me once they are back home again. I use both to promote each other – I talk about my online store to live customers and vice versa…. My brick and mortar store definitely monetizes more than my online store, having said that, first quarter of the year, I wouldn’t be able to survive without the online option… tourist season doesn’t pick up till at least april… so both are an absolute must for me !

    • beckynunn says:

      Thank you very much Veronique for your input. Sorry you didn’t plug your shop here! Where are you located? Let us send some people your way!!

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