All the buzz in the ecommerce industry is about the Online to Offline commerce. A couple of years back, when China’s rapidly developing Online to Offline market made a significant contribution (about $51 Billion) to the country’s ecommerce industry, the media and the journalists from all over the world made a note of this and began discussing on how this new approach in ecommerce is going to be the future for all businesses.
Fast forward to 2017, Amazon, one of the biggest ecommerce and cloud computing company in the world acquired Whole Foods (an American based supermarket chain) for an amount close to $14 Billion!! Combine this with the fact that in the US alone, more than 80% of the retail sales still happen inside a physical store, your thoughts on focusing solely on online sales for your business is definitely bound to change.
While more consumers are getting accustomed to buying various products online, the fact that the list of top ten retailers in the world holds a major chunk of brick & mortar stores shows that a majority of spending still takes place under a physical roof. In fact, a statistic shows that the ecommerce share of total global retail sales will just be a mere 15.5% by the end of 2021.
The surge of O2O tools and services has resulted in many business owners to have a high level of accuracy in their strategies for online marketing and also be in a state to determine the most reliable ROI from such online advertising programs. This kind of a technology to aid the businesses was not available until recent years. O2O Commerce works on a strategy designed to bring online customers to physical retail stores using online advertising and marketing methods to identify the target customers, create awareness and lure people to visit the store.
O2O commerce has played a vital role in bridging the gap between traditional offline and online approach towards ecommerce. Taking into account the fact that people do a lot of research before buying anything online, the ability to channel at least a small percentage of these customers straight from their research to an offline store would result in a good potential for sales.
Click To Glory
In the early stages, retailers picked up a unique kind of service to attract more consumers. This service allowed a user to order something online and collect it from a physical store. The option to order online and pick up the item later from a store was not only convenient for a customer but also profitable for the business. For retailers, once the customer was inside the store, they could convince a customer to purchase other products as well.
However, as technology advanced, retailers realized that just the click-and-collect service was no longer enough to retain their customers. With the rise in choice & price competitiveness, they had to ensure a best in class customer experience. Though click-and-collect was a convenient method of shopping for a few shoppers, it was quite a burden for the others. Especially for consumers residing in highly populated areas, commuting through the heavy traffic, finding the right place, loading up the products and returning back was a huge task. With this, customers expected products to be delivered to their home at a short period of time. They were ready to pay more for the products to be delivered on the same day.
Get Close, Get Personal
Tech-savvy shoppers expect the retailers to know their order history and its complete analysis so that they have an idea of what the shopper is looking for when they come in the next time. This allows the retailers to create better shopping experience tailored to individual consumers based on their requirements, previous purchase and of course the location. As a result, a majority of retailers have used this to gain customer data online and improve their offline shopping experience.
This kind of personalized shopping has a huge advantage for the O2O commerce. The problem has been there for a long time now. It was not so easy to track offline conversions which were influenced by online advertisements. However, with close interaction with the consumer due to personalized shopping experience, retailers can keep their consumers happy and also track their sales through embedded codes (Shopify dashboard is the best example) Irrespective of what your customer wants to do, whether click and collect the product or just visit a physical store, the transaction is recorded and can be tracked for further usage.
It is far too late for me to say that O2O commerce is here to stay because there are already numerous options and opportunities for retailers around the world to combine their online ecommerce with offline to create a better and complimentary shopping experience. With some the biggest companies in the world considering O2O commerce to be the future of ecommerce industry, it is quite obvious that the trend has made its presence felt and it is high time you adapt to the same.
As a passionate technical writer forSpecbee Consulting Services , Shefali loves crafting content and sharing information about technology and business. Since her world mainly revolves around digital media, business growth and technological advancements, you can always find her delved in the digital world.