Do Online Stores Need An Offline Presence?

Many online retailers are mulling over whether to add an offline presence to drive revenue and growth. Is an offline presence essential for online retailers especially in the era where O2O (Online-to-Offline) business model is trendy?

Even though the regional e-commerce is maturing as a whole, some problems still persist like unbanked population with no access to online payments. But these issues are also being addressed and have seen improvements in recent years. A key example is Kudo, an Indonesian payment company that allows shoppers to make online purchases through local agents. Finnish start-up Tapp Commerce is also using a similar model in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Having an online presence is now almost imperative and easier than ever before. With the rise of tools such as Shopify, you can set up your own online store very quickly. Online marketplaces such as Qoo10 and Lazada have also proliferated over the years. Revenue can be easily generated through online stores. What about offline stores?

Offline space can be seen as an opportunity. The user experience does not just happen online; it exists from the point of discovery right through to receiving the product. Going offline allows brands to extend a great brand experience and it is a chance to stand out from the growing competition. Getting online is no longer the challenge while offline presents an opportunity for a brand to create an advantage. This could take the shape of a top-notch logistics team or maybe an exceptional customer experience. Apart from that, online players can also consider the retail market in some areas where mall rentals are falling. Malls may begin evolving in terms of how they operate and what they are used for.

Ecommerce giants like Amazon are going offline, so does Birchbox but they are all big players in the online world. If for a little-known brand, it may not have the funding to expand to a brick-and-mortar. The strategy could be to use marketplaces to enter specific markets first before thinking about own online store and an offline presence. To us, not all brands need an offline presence right away especially for little-known brand. Still mulling over whether to get an offline presence? We can say it depends. Eventually, it should meet your brand aspiration and the space it is competing in.

Do online stores need an offline presence? What do you think?

 Source: Tech in Asia