What is O2O commerce?

April 7, 2020

If you understand what O2O stands for based on your prior knowledge or from the picture above, good for you! For those who are like me, where you had only seen this acronym for the first time you might be wondering what’s that? Another type of chemical compound?

O2O stands for Online to Offline in the context of e-commerce marketing. Matter of fact, I have only found out about this word when I was looking for jobs on Glassdoor and in particular a position from Shopee’s UIUX department stood out. That got me googling for “what is O2O design?” and only after that, I realized that although this term is new to me but it is definitely not 100% foreign – because we have all used it at some point in our lives. What we didn’t know is that there is a term coined to this type of marketing in the realm of the vast e-commerce world we all live in.

Now, to the main point of what O2O is all about and how some brands we know are strategizing…

O2O marketing is a business strategy that attracts customers from online platforms to make purchases in brick-and-mortar stores. This form of marketing came to light when retailers feared that they will not be able to compete with e-commerce giants who sold their products or services online. Being in the digital space, conventional stores face several limitations such as high rental costs, limited space which reduces the selection of goods and the need to hire employees to run the stores. On the other hand, online retailers could offer a greater selection volume as they rely more on shipping providers to deliver their goods from their warehouse or even at the comfort of their homes. This brings be to my next point where I will share some of the examples we see in tiny red dot, Singapore.

Example 1: Kickstarter – We The People

Kickstarter is a great platform which help people bring ideas to life and I had tried it for my entrepreneurship project – Plusboard. For backers to have trust in you, they will have to look through the entire campaign to see if your idea could really enter production and be delivered to customers. However, this tend to be difficult as you could not have a feel of the product before you put in money to help kickstart a project you believe in. For this group who tend to be more skeptical especially when it comes to online transactions, they would prefer to see the physical product before purchasing it.

Tada! We The People store is designed with this in mind. Since 2016, they spearheaded Livefunding – “for consumers to see, touch, and feel the latest innovation which unlocks an untapped source of funding; the physical market”. This is great because it eliminates the possibility of falling into online scams or threats so that this group of people can continue to support the ideas. Besides the two stores located in Singapore Millenia Walk and Funan Mall, they have now expanded to have a store at Westfield Valley Fair Mall in Silicon Valley! #singaporepride

Example 2: Ikea

When it comes to furniture, I think of Ikea and Taobao. The only difference is that I can easily head over to the Ikea Tampines or Alexander showroom to see a bookshelf that I seen online whereas for Taobao (based in China) I can’t. I could only check out the pictures and read through thousands of comments hoping that there are sufficient pictures of the product that were uploaded by customers. As such, I can benefit from the ease of access to the online catalog that Ikea provides and visit the showroom to feel the material for myself. Of course, purchasing more items along the way as I roam the superstore and filling my stomach with the juicy meatballs. Aren’t you guilty of that?

Also, the AR feature in the Ikea app definitely saved me time so that I do not need to make multiple trips to the store to measure a product and see if the product fits my room. Love it!

Example 3: Rosebel

One last example before I end off this post!

Rosebel brings the online experience to an offline popup store (picture below) which sells explorative epoxy resin jewellery. With a consumer mindset, I’m sure we are all guilty at desperately trying to hunt down great deals and search for good quality products. But how are we able to do all these by just by scrolling through thousands of product photos online (with a high chance of these photos being processed by photoshop)? It all boils down to great communication and having the chance to showcase products at an actual store which you could head down and adorn these jewellery for yourself! This was how Rosebel became so popular and shifted their online Carousell business to a full fledged business with a online website showcasing all their amazing products.

On a side note, do check out their online shop especially since everyone is encouraged to stay at home. Support them, check out their Instagram account (@rosebel.co) and enjoy shopping at the comfort of your home!

Hope that this post helped you understand what O2O is all about with the examples drawn from the tiny red dot I live in 🙂

Do also stay tune for the next few blog posts which I will be sharing with you more about my newfound hobby stemmed from staying at home! #stayhomestaysafe

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