brick and mortar storePutting Things in Perspective

Have we gotten so obsessed with digital marketing that we overlook the more than 90% of retail sales that still take place in retail stores? According to the US Commerce Department that tracks those sales, in 2015 online sales were up to $341.6 billion. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Reports that e-commerce is the fastest growing segment of the retail market may be true, but how does “fastest growing” compare to the more than $4.5 trillion in retail sales that took place during the same period in old-fashioned, bricks and mortar stores? Answer: online sales were only 7.2% of the 4.7 trillion-dollar total!

We’re not pooh-poohing the importance of e-commerce. Its amazing growth as a significant alternative to retail sales is most impressive. But putting digital’s “fastest growing” segment of retail sales in perspective alongside the more than 90% sold in brick and mortar stores gives you a much more realistic picture.

However, that picture might not sell as much digital coaching, consulting or online sales courses like the ones that are currently blowing up your inbox. Digital marketers want you to think that somehow e-commerce is crushing sales compared to conventional retail stores. It’s not really. Taking a cut? Yes. Easier to do? Yes. But crushing bricks and mortar? Not really. Remember, the digital marketers get paid whether or not you get paid. Like the casinos in ’Vegas, they’re always talking about the e-commerce players who hit the jackpot.  You just have to buy into the hype.

Shoppers Still Prefer to Buy at Brick and Mortar Stores

A recent study by the software firm TimeTrade says even if the same product is available online, more than 70% of shoppers still prefer to buy their products in retail stores.  Why? Convenience, physical examination, comparison, and trial. Not to mention the most important advantage to physical consumer brand builders – discovery! It’s entertaining and adventurous to physically shop and discover new products that you may not have been looking for. And don’t forget the instant gratification bricks and mortar shoppers get with same-day delivery, and no shipping and handling.

Plus, those old-fashioned retail stores are not taking the online hit sitting down. They are actively employing technical breakthroughs of their own to make the shopping experience even more efficient, compelling, and fun. Expect to see robots, interactive educational tools, inventory access mechanics, and increased use of video and simulation screens that show you how you look with that new product.

This is why we promote the often neglected art and science of building your branded, physical consumer product in old-fashioned brick and mortar stores. Sure, you still need a great website with a vigorous social presence so your customers know who you are. And you may have to start selling online because the stores simply won’t take you. But ultimately you need to have your physical product available for inspection and purchase in a physical store. It’s still the fastest way to build your brand, increase your cash flow, and become an acquisition target.

So don’t give up just quite yet on the best opportunity to build your brand. Yes, it’s hard to get in, it’s complicated, it takes time and it takes vigilance. But with the right training and application of lessons learned by successful brand builders who have already done it, you are miles ahead on your road to success.

That’s why we built a special series of courses entitled, “How to Get Your Product on the Shelf and Keep It There.” Look for them soon through Inventorz Network . Use the lessons we learned to get your branded physical consumer product where more than 90% of the retail sales happen – on the retailer’s shelf!

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) & Shelf Smarts courses to help consumer product brand builders achieve success. 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 business site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact