BRICK & MORTAR vs. CLICK & MORTAR: Strategic Supply Chain Decisions for Consumer Packaged Goods Companies

Open Access
Fellin, Lauren Jennifer
Area of Honors:
Supply Chain and Information Systems
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Robert A. Novack , Thesis Supervisor
  • John Spychalski, Honors Advisor
  • Open Access
  • Supply chain
  • Consumer package goods
With the inception and rapid growth of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retailers have been having a difficult time deciphering which retail channel would now be the most advantageous to sell their products. For decades, brick-and-mortar stores had been the only place where customers could purchase the necessary items they wanted; however, now consumers can purchase a plethora of goods with just a few clicks of a mouse from the comfort of their own home. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies such as Unilever, Kimberly-Clark, and P&G have been supplying their products to the shelves of brick-and-mortar retailers since the time when they were founded. Products such as shampoo, soap, and toothpaste have always been available for purchase at local or large grocery stores, convenience stores, and even at large retail “box” stores and pharmacy chains, locations where CPG companies have historically sold their products. More recently, CPG companies seem to be shifting their strategy, now offering their products to online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. However, it is important to note that certainly not all consumers shop both in-stores as well as online channels, especially older generations. Thus, it is highly unlikely that the online retail channel will completely takeover in-store commerce and make it obsolete. Given the rapid pace of growth in online e-commerce, it is imperative for CPG companies to develop unique ways to advertise purchasing online items in order to expand consumer knowledge and comfort with this channel, and help customers gain more awareness of their repertoire of products. Through literature review of current consumer purchasing and analysis of cutting edge marketing trends, this thesis intends to deliver timely recommendations to retailers with brick and mortar stores as well as CPG companies as to how they can best position their companies to thrive and grow in an ever expanding e-commerce world.