Online-to-Offline (O2O) is the “next-big-thing” in the retail space across industries. Physical stores are coming back in full-force after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many consumers to online shopping. Despite a return to normalcy across the world, consumer habits have shifted dramatically and people today use a combination of online and offline shopping methods to purchase the goods that they want.
O2O commerce, also known as “Brick and Click”, is a business strategy that integrates online channels, such as e-commerce websites, social media, email and digital ads, to brick-and-mortar physical retail stores.
By blurring the distinction between online and offline channels, brands are able to convert online visitors into physical shoppers - unifying strategies and tactics in digital marketing and physical retail marketing. Techniques that O2O commerce companies may utilise include in-store pick-up of items purchased online, allowing items purchased online to be returned at a physical store, and allowing customers to place orders online while at a physical store.
The modern customer journey is much more complex than before. At the same time, customer expectations are growing with time. Research shows that people use the internet to help make product decisions—including whether they should buy an item from a local store. O2O is thus especially important to help brands to differentiate from their competitors and sell everywhere.
Offline businesses need an online strategy to attract people to their physical locations. Similarly, e-commerce stores that are online-only can open brick-and-mortar stores for customers to see, touch, and interact with their products in person.
For retail brands that are looking to grow into the next phase of their growth, O2O has, thus, grown into a “must-have”. Looking to scale your business to sell everywhere? Here are some key benefits of an O2O commerce strategy:
An O2O strategy means that brands can combine brick-and-mortar and e-commerce efforts to reach more customers than the sum of their parts. Going beyond people that would typically walk past a retail store, brands can reach out to billions of internet users. Businesses can take advantage of powerful digital marketing tools to motivate consumers to shop in their physical stores by promoting in-store sales, activities and events. Online-first shoppers will thus be able to close the loop by experiencing products in person. By using their various channels in tandem, brands can engage with more customers - increasing customer traffic on all channels.
Customers are becoming increasingly savvy in researching their products so that they make the best purchases. Notably, 73% of prospects prefer to look at big-ticket items online before they commit to buying offline. Customers today are often subconsciously shopping - even when they are on social media channels. Having an O2O strategy means that customers learn about products before they see them in store - whether When customers are educated about product offerings, they can make a more informed and assured decision to purchase. Additionally,
Brands can improve efficiency and lower the cost of their logistics and fulfilment process with O2O. Businesses today are becoming increasingly reliant on third-party logistics providers to get products to customers in an increasingly digital world. Providing additional fulfilment options such as in-store and curbside pickup means that costs of last-mile delivery can be reduced while customers get a more convenient customer experience. These costs could be passed on to the customers in the form of discounts and more competitive pricing.
SHOPLINE’s omnichannel O2O solutions help retail brands grow their sales with robust integrations across online and offline channels. Bridging the online and offline gap is a key challenge for omnichannel brands, and SHOPLINE is here to help.
With SHOPLINE, your website acts as a launchpad to kick-off your O2O efforts. O2O starts online and SHOPLINE provides brands with the tools to build a powerful and fully featured website. From there, SHOPLINE helps your brand to integrate their online and offline presence by managing orders and inventory across all their channels. Manage your Search Engine Optimisation and use intelligent advertising tools to grow your traffic on SHOPLINE’s powerful dashboard. At the same time, measure your performance with the Shoplytics analytics tool.
Social media is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and customers are subconsciously shopping when they browse their favourite content on these sites. With SHOPLINE, your business can be connected to social commerce channels such as Facebook and Instagram so that you can sell there. Engage with your audience on livestream and chatbots with SHOPLINE message centres, and manage your Facebook and Instagram messages on one platform. Also, automatically sync your products and inventory on your e-commerce site with your social selling platforms.
SHOPLINE Point of Sales (POS) acts as a centralised hub to connect physical stores with online sales channels. SHOPLINE POS is a cloud-based system that helps businesses to integrate their online and offline presence by managing orders and inventory across all their channels, including product inventory, stocks, prices, order status, shipping status, and customer information. This hub also allows you to have an overview of your physical stores with your online stores - you can track performance across stores, start a barcode system, transfer product inventory and manage inventory. Also, grow customer loyalty across channels with unified membership management.
In addition, SHOPLINE’s platform offers a wide range of flexible O2O fulfilment solutions so that customers can get their goods delivered or picked up regardless of where they initially purchased them. Some examples of fulfilment methods offered include home delivery, curbside pickup, and letting customers place orders online to pick up in-store. These delivery options by SHOPLINE help to create seamlessness between physical and digital storefronts. SHOPLINE has also partnered with a wide range of fulfilment providers including Janio and EasyParcel so that fulfilment can be as frictionless as possible.
Want to kickstart your brand’s O2O strategy? We highly recommend using SHOPLINE to get started. It’s easy to use, perfect for beginners, and incredibly affordable. Sign up for a 14-day free trial to get started!