bricks and mortar is dead?Younger Generation That Shops at Bricks and Mortar Stores

If you were born between 1997 and 2012 you are referred to as “Gen Z.” Makes you wonder what’s next since “Z” is the last letter of the alphabet. But that aside, this new generation prefers to shop in old fashioned bricks-and-mortar stores. Why? Because it’s entertaining and fun! Does this mean the death of retail has been greatly exaggerated? We think so.

What’s interesting here is that, according to a new study by Morning Consult, “(They) will be the largest, most ethnically diverse, best educated, and most financially powerful generation ever.” Gen Z‘ers were spending their first dime when two-day delivery was common. They were making their first purchases when the convenience of home delivery was the latest thing. So, why didn’t they jump on the online bandwagon? Is there something missing in e-commerce that these first-timers noticed? Was it that when they looked at these two shopping experiences side by side, neither was new nor shiny? They were simply what was available. And when they looked at these two options, why did they choose bricks and mortar?

We think it’s the spontaneity of retail, one of the prime ingredients for fun and entertainment. We also think it’s tactile contact with the products that can only happen at retail. And, we think retail satisfies a social need, whether its “retail therapy,” dressing up, or just seeing and being seen. They are going to see and interact with real people. They might find something they were looking for, or they may discover something entirely new!

The Beauty of Bricks and Mortar

Having built a major brand at retail, we as producers can appreciate the power of bricks and mortar. We had the opportunity to offer our products in a wide territory to the retailers existing customers. We received one big check for one big shipment of thousands of products (unlike the onesies and twosies direct-to-consumer business). Our brand had a chance to be discovered on the retail shelves and floor displays. Online buying patterns lead to the repeat purchases of the same brands over and over again. Very little chance of discovering a new product or brand here! Time savings and convenience win over discovery!

Online commerce is a race to the bottom pricewise, where price, not necessarily quality, becomes the determining factor. Both the producers and the customers know that quality is much harder to fake in a real bricks-and-mortar store.

Shopping for Fun

According to the report, two-thirds of Gen Z shoppers go shopping for fun at least once a month. Walmart and Target, two of the largest bricks-and-mortar retail stores, were listed among their top ten favorite “brands.”

It’s interesting that “free delivery” is a widely held misconception that has propelled the acceleration of e-commerce. But everybody who was working for the USPO, FedEx, UPS and DHL still got paid! Who paid them and where did that money come from? It is the online merchants who either figured shipping into the price they charged or they “invested” in the cost of delivery in their attempt to compete with bricks and mortar stores. Ultimately, the consumer pays for delivery one way or the other. On the other hand, bricks and mortar will meet you halfway. You drive to their store and they can offer you prices that don’t include that last leg of delivery to your home.

It’s interesting that what the Boomers knew all along about bricks and mortar retail is being rediscovered by Gen Z. Don’t let them have all the fun! Let’s go shopping! We’ll meet some people and discover something new!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

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