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Imagine you are looking for a new pair of running shoes, so you can start living the healthier lifestyle that you always wanted. You do a quick search on Google and find a local online store that sell running shoes. You browse through the site for the one that suits you the most. And to your surprise, you find out that they have a physical shop just nearby!
You can guess how that story ends. That is how O2O works. It is a part of an omni-channel sales strategy to improve the customer experience.
Online to Offline
Starting a business by setting up a physical shop can be quite costly nowadays. With a lower barrier to entry, many aspiring entrepreneurs will choose to start their business online. But as they start to establish their business, they will need to start thinking about growing the business even more.
That is where O2O strategy comes in. You combine online shopping with option for offline services such as in store cash payment, pick up option, testing or fitting. This strategy works great especially if you are doing business in Southeast Asia (SEA), where online shopping is still at an early stage.
Here are the benefits of implementing an online to offline strategy:
More credibility – Lower barrier to start a business online can attract just about anyone. Having a physical presence makes your business more legit and trustworthy.
New customer segment – Not everyone has the ability or even willing to make transactions over the internet. By providing cash option, you can attract these segment of consumers.
Improve customer experience – Like the running shoes scenario earlier, your customers can get a better experience by being able to browse products online and actually survey the products physically. They will be more satisfied if they can see, feel, smell, or try on the products. It also helps provide a better experience if they can talk to an actual person.
Additional traffic source – Traffic doesn’t just pertain to online marketing. If you set up shop in a strategic location, you might be able to capture some foot traffic on top of your online traffic. You can also use local business features by Google and Facebook to get more people to your physical store.
Offline to online
When it comes to O2O, it’s not just going from online to offline. It can also be the other way around and implementing offline to online strategies. Your offline customers have already established trust with your business. Why not provide them with more convenience by buying online?
Encouraging your customers to buy online
First, you will need to have an online store where your customers can easily navigate and view your products. This doesn’t just benefit your customers. With an online store solution like EasyStore, not only are you able to easily create your website, but you can also make your operation process more efficient and less hassle with the built in shopping cart system and order management.
Once you have your online store set up, you can use the discount code feature to generate a promo code for your offline customers. This will give them the initiative to purchase online. The promo code can be shown on marketing materials (flyers, stickers, brochure) that you can give out to your customers who make in-store purchases.
Don’t forget to keep the relationship going with your customers. It may be difficult to personally know your customers as your business grows. But that is also another benefit of going online. You can use email marketing to continue building the relationship with your customers and turn them into repeat customers. And most important, it’s scalable!