Understanding O2O

O2O is rising and gradually becoming more and more popular in many countries around the world. Perhaps many still don’t really understand what is O2O. It’s not the symbol in the Periodic Table of your chemistry class. It’s neither merely numbers nor alphabets. Let’s take a look at the situations below.

Have you purchased movie tickets online and redeemed at the cinema?

Have you purchased spa treatment online and enjoyed it at the spa centre?

These are some of the most common examples of O2O that we often do but do not realize the concept behind is O2O.

Still not clear with the concept? Let’s define O2O for you. O2O stands for Online-to-Offline or Offline-to-Online. It is commonly used for online business to draw potential online customers to the physical brick-and-mortar store and vice versa. Online stores such as the famous online giant Amazon and beauty products in-a-box retailer Birchbox are moving this way where they let customers make purchases online and collect them at the physical stores. Amazon has shifted its direction from expanding online to offline. This can be seen when Amazon opened three brick-and-mortar bookstores in the past two years and there are still more to come as Amazon is planning to open at least six bookstores across the country by the end of 2017.

Why O2O? Take Amazon bookstore as an example, the store solves one of the biggest problems with online shopping: discoverability. The solution isn’t derived by stocking an infinite number of books; it’s just the opposite—this bookstore uses data-driven design to increase the likelihood that you will pick up a book that you didn’t know you wanted to read. It’s part of a larger push within Amazon to reinvent the way physical retail works that includes the automated Amazon Go convenience store.

Amazon bookstore is going brick-and-mortar. (Courtesy: Amazon)

Perhaps you will be doubtful: Amazon can’t stock as many titles as competing bookstores or even its own online bookstore. Why bother? Everyone knows they can order any title they desire on Amazon and the bookstore has terminals where customers can order a book if the need arises. Instead, Amazon Books only carries highly rated and popular titles culled from Amazon’s online rankings.

This is the power of O2O in which online customers can discover and feel the products in the physical stores and on the other hand, they can make purchases online after they have experienced the products in the brick-and-mortar stores which is often true for repeat purchases.

Now, are you having better understanding of O2O?