While no one can dispute that a lot of marketing trends catching fire in the brick-and-mortar retail world had their start online, there has been a recent move to capitalize on well-known marketing trends common to analog retail stores by translating them to digital format. Online stores and ecommerce sites have started to resemble brick-and-mortar stores in more than just function.

It makes sense, of course, digital marketing is a relatively new internet function while retail stores and shops have been around for centuries. Changes in the retail industry have optimized the designs of modern stores, like Ikea and Walmart, to create the best environment for shoppers to spend money.

Learning from the best

Online stores can learn a lot from analog trends and merchandise planning that works to design websites that are both user-friendly and easy to shop. Although there are differences between ecommerce sites and brick-and-mortar stores, they retain the same functionality and what works in the real world often works just as well in the digital one.

  • Sales and Limited Time Offers work just as well online as in the real world. If you offer the customer savings on one item they will usually stay to shop in your store. Limited time offers are analogous to flash sales that are a popular option on many ecommerce websites.
  • Using colors to make customers want to spend money can be done on a page by page basis online. Bright reds and warm colors to attract customers to the splash page and then cooler colors like blues and greens once you have them in the ecommerce section of your site.
  • Creating a layout that directs your customers to the sale items that you want to sell. Brick-and-Mortar stores do this by using modular displays and placing expensive items or ones the store desires to sell at eye level or on the right side of the aisles. Online stores can use any number of things to direct the customers to where they want them to go.

These are just a few of the ways that digital marketplaces can use analog thinking to improve their websites. For companies who use an online ecommerce site to complement their physical stores, it is possible to make the customer comfortable on your website by using similar color schemes and layout options to the ones in your store.

Matching the analog to the digital

Designs and concepts flow both ways, of course, and retailers who have both types of stores can use many concepts that originated online to help market in the real world. Website flexibility is a good example.


If a product on a website doesn’t move as well as expected, it can quickly and easily be shifted away from the customer, links and pages redirecting to it become more specific and it drops off the feature list. Many times, this is done automatically by the ecommerce website with little input from the retailer.

The same concept can be used in a brick-and-mortar store to display retail merchandise. As customer tastes change, the layout of your retail store changes with it. The process is not automated as it is online, but a relatively frequent shifting of merchandise is a common feature in grocery stores and retailers that sell seasonal merchandise.

There are many examples of trends that work in both digital and analog medium. It is surprising that it has taken this long for ecommerce websites to move away from the flashing icons and garish colors to color schemes and layouts that mimic stores that most customers visit on a regular basis in the real world.