Today’s path to purchase criss-crosses the online/offline divide multiple times en route to order completion. In order to showcase their options to serve shoppers, merchants should promote o2o- offline services in a variety of ways online; namely, not just with a store pickup option on the product page.
What is o2o Commerce?
By now the evidence is overwhelming that shoppers prefer to use online tools to research offline purchases; more than half of all retail sales are influenced by online interactions, according to technology researcher Forrester. In stores, shoppers remain connected to the wealth of product information available online via their phones; some 71% of shoppers pull out their mobile devices while in the aisles, according to Mobile Marketer.
Merchants have adapted to this changing behavior by placing a greater focus on flexible fulfillment services; some popular options include universal inventory visibility and Buy Online, Pickup In-Store. To ensure shoppers know about those services – as well as other tactile “see and try” store experiences – sellers must thoroughly integrate online-to-offline (O2O) messaging in online promotions. Among the tactics to try:
1. Think O2O(2O) with consultative sales promotions
Merchants should encourage online shoppers to make store visits to evaluate goods prior to purchase; additionally, they should equip store associates with the online tools to source exactly the right items from across the retailer’s entire inventory selection. Nordstrom heavily promotes several flavors of in-store stylist services throughout its eCommerce site, from “gift scout” helpers for finding presents to personal shopping assistants. Seasonal promotions such as this spring makeup consultation event are highlighted on the home page.
2. Convince cart abandoners to complete orders … anywhere they want to
Triggered emails intended to convince shopping cart abandoners to complete online purchases may seem an odd location for offline promotion. But retailers that have eliminated internal barriers to innovation recognize that winning the sale, wherever it occurs, is what matters; consequently, giving hesitant online shoppers multiple avenues for completing their purchase boosts the odds that they’ll find the right fulfillment fit.
3. Mind the offline online marketing opportunities
“Offline” or “off-page” SEO refers to activities on properties other than the flagship eCommerce site that affect search engine ranking – and the concept is just as valid for O2O marketing. Merchants should not only monitor social media mentions, but listings on Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Reviews. Prompt and thoughtful replies to criticism and amplification of positive feedback (with permission) via other marketing channels heighten perceptions that shoppers’ voices matter; it shows retailers are willing to adapt their offline offerings in response to online feedback. Paid placements on social media and review platforms offering discounts or VIP experiences to store visitors can reach shoppers as they weigh where to go.