For a quick definition, one might say Offline-Online (O2O) Integration is anything digital which brings people to shop offline, in real-world stores. Famous O2O start-ups in the West include Groupon, OpenTable, Uber for instance. Primarily these tech companies are connecting Offline Business to online via O2O integration and it makes sense. After all, e-commerce is still a small share of all retail sales globally, from 1 to 15% in countries as different as the US, UK, China and India. However, in China, O2O as a concept is so visible and successful because, in China technologies and the hunt for convenience have made it a big phenomenon, with lots of local success stories. The reason, sheer number of people connected on mobile, on mobile internet, and, even more, on powerful mobile internet. It is only matter of time that this success is replicated in all the countries mentioned above and hence important that marketers actually start focusing on ‘O2O Integration’ thru omni-channel marketing.
As more and more customers go online to buy, opportunities abound for brands and retailers that can deliver a comprehensive experience that is with the customer every step of the way. Hence, the need of omni-channel operations, as brick-and-mortar retailers go online.
Mobile First approach
The growth of mobile internet connectivity, speed and internet-connected devices like Smart Phones, Tablets, Tablet PC’s, Netbooks and Terminals enabled O2O Commerce to thrive and “closing” the loop. For retailers, this holds out the alluring prospect of identifying customers based on their specific location, enticing them into the store, and interacting with them while they shop. As for customers, mobile enables actions to be taken in the moment, which can create a much more local focus.
Today, customers using mobile devices are driven offline based on online information like e-coupons, store locators or customers are propelled online through call for actions in the offline world, like: QR codes & mobile payment systems. This may seem difficult to manage if the marketers are remote from the store. Hence essential is to automate the response through marketing automation coupled with Big Data Analysis and real time information about the product and services
Use Integrated Technology
Every retailer needs to find ways to keep the dialogue with its customer in creating loyalty and growing their business. Online shopping will never replace the need for physical stores, however in the coming years the roles will change. The Offline will play a stronger role in the overall “digital” brand experience and the expectation customers have offline. Therefore, Offline-Online Integration with above Omni-channel Marketing strategy is must for all concerned.
This was published earlier this month @ http://themartechblog.com, forum for the best Marketing and Branding Professionals across the World to express themselves and share their wealth of knowledge with the World, while creating a robust platform for idea exchange within their peer group.