Monday, May 3, 2010

Brick and Mortar

In B-school (that’s Business School for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term) we learned about how the Internet has changed forever the business landscape (although there are some folks out there who still think the Internet is just a fad), and also about the concept of “virtual stores” as an alternative to the traditional “Brick and Mortar” stores. 

The concept that was discussed was that for certain goods like electronics, music, videos, etc the consumer doesn’t need to touch, feel, try on the product, and therefore there is little need for actual physical retail locations.  Eliminating the retail outlet saves on all sorts of overhead (rent, utilities, certain liability insurance, etc)

Although it is true that the Internet has killed off a number of traditional “brick and mortar” businesses, I have been pondering other low-cost, non-traditional approaches to selling products other than the internet.  Here are some interesting other alternative, low-tech approaches I have seen lately:

Pet store

Instead of leasing space for a pet store, why not squat in the Walmart parking lot to sell pets?

Or, another option is to partner with an existing business and sell your products in an existing location.  This is particularly beneficial if you have complementary products or services, like putting a car-rental agency counter in an airport, putting a bank in a grocery store, or selling tobacco products in an insurance agency:

Insurance tobacco

Or possibly heavy machinery and furniture:


Anyone need a good diesel engine to go with your loveseat?

Another low-overhead approach is to build a micro-building (essentially a kiosk):


This approach isn’t just for sno-cones:


Another low overhead approach is to use only the most essential equipment materials. Who needs refrigeration, for example?


River cat fillets anyone?



  1. This is great :) I remember that loveseat paired with the generator and I have often wondered about the reasoning for selling pure-bred animals on the side of the road. Gotta love Mississippi!

  2. love it! I love how everytime you go to wal-mart there are always people selling dogs!! Love Mississippi!

  3. These ideas are so great, I think I will try to implement some of them to promote my own business. Maybe I can take the Sno-Cone idea and sell my computer service from a shed.