Optimizing for Online-to-Offline (O2O) Commerce

Online-to-offline commerce has brought online customers to brick and mortar stores. This business strategy uses emails and internet advertisements to entice online customers to come to the physical stores. The strategy is designed to create a seamless shopping experience, bringing the digital store together with the physical location. While online shopping continues to gain popularity, it is estimated that 82.5% of all retail sales will continue to happen as offline sales as late as 2021.

In digital marketing, this means optimization efforts in online marketing campaigns need to address the need for O2O strategies for a lot of eCommerce clients. Omni-channel commerce and multi-channel marketing encompass a broader, retail-specific approach that looks at the way the modern day consumer shops.

81% of shoppers today look at an online store before deciding to make a purchase, even when they choose to go to retail locations. For retailers, this means sales conversions are not so simple. A customer may look at a product on the website and choose not to purchase the item on the website, but it could still have been a sales conversion once the customer gets to the store.

The Basics of O2O

Before creating a complex marketing campaign, it’s important to understand exactly what O2O is and how it differs from traditional cross-platform marketing. A great example of O2O is free shipping on items purchased online to the physical location.

Offering the savings on shipping to customers gets them into the physical store, which could lead to them making a purchase in the store, as well. At the very least, it gets people into the physical location. It also lessens the burden of those looking online but not making the purchase, which can impact the conversion rates of a business. By looking at those transactions as successful conversions, a company can better assess the ROI of their marketing efforts.

Accepting returns at retail locations from purchases made online is another effective way of getting online customers in the door. Essentially, any process or customer experience that can be done either on or offline will increase the presence of customers at both. The easier a company can make the transition for customers, the more often they will make the transition.

When channels are treated as separate entities rather than as facets of the same business, a retailer creates a competitor for themselves. Merging business efforts into one business and customer platform or experience makes it easier on customers and puts more money in the pockets of business owners.

Impact on Major eCommerce

Many customers still enjoy going into a store, touching the merchandise, and often trying products out or on, then walking out with the merchandise in hand. In fact, 70% of millennials still prefer shopping in stores. Major brands in eCommerce noticed this gap and began opening storefronts that addressed the issue.

However, bringing the digital world into the physical locations could be just as important. Nordstrom is one of the largest fashion retailers in the country and has implemented data-driven experiences at retail locations that personalize the shopping experience for customers.

This works by tracking, following, and analyzing online customers. They use the information to decide which products to promote and how to promote them. While that isn’t terribly unique, the way they have brought it into their stores has made for a more personal experience for customers.

There is an opt-in app that pushes the online profile of customers to the salespeople working once they enter the store. This helps real-life workers personalize the shopping experience of in-person customers the way websites push products customers will likely enjoy.

The business model puts the focus on making the most personalized shopping experience for customers, which is one of the most important aspects for most consumers. Whether it is through online channels or at their favorite store, customers want to see the products they most like and have it customized to their unique needs. O2O provides the opportunity for companies to optimize based on this need and encourage returning customers by allowing similar options both on and offline.

shopping online to offline ecommerce

Click and Collect Shopping

In the first half of 2016, it was reported over half of retailers offered click-and-collect shopping services with 72% of customers taking advantage of the option. It seems customers like the ease of looking at products online but still want to have the feeling of walking out of a store with their items. Retail sales through this method have enticed online shoppers that would normally select what they want and check out to look around at what is being offered in-store.

However, instant gratification isn’t what every customer is looking for. In fact, 70% of online customers are happy with the cheapest form of home delivery and wouldn’t be willing to pay more for instant, same-day, or reliable timed delivery. For digital marketers, this means paying attention to the target audience of every client.

While an opt-in app made a more customizable experience for those looking for the higher end experience of Nordstrom, it’s unlikely a customer shopping for toilet paper at the closest store to their house would want the same experience.

Instead, looking at the purchasing trends of the client and their top competitors to customize how O2O is implemented into each business is key. Since customers are looking for an individual experience more often than not, it makes good business sense to treat a business’s specific customers differently than the average consumer.

At Genius eCommerce, we provide relevant industry news for online merchants and vendors to keep them up to date on trends that affect their sales and web traffic.

Tips That Can Increase B2B eCommerce Sales and Repeat Customers

B2B eCommerce can be more complex than B2C, especially when it comes to acquiring new customers and retaining existing customers. The effort required by sales teams is much more intense for businesses.

Selling to new business obviously keeps things moving and improves your brand, it is the longevity of keeping existing customers that has a greater impact and should be the focus.

When it comes to tips for increasing your sales and keeping existing customers, many are the same, just applied differently based on the situation. Today, we will look at some of those tips and the way they can be applied for new customers and repeat customers.

This is who we are and what we do at Genius eCommerce. We are here to provide tips, tricks, trends and updates on everything eCommerce to keep you informed.

Customer Profiling – Creating customer profiles helps provide an understanding of the requirements and problem areas of a customer and help you deduct the cost of acquiring or retaining the customer. For new customers, you should create a profile that helps you identify the best target buyer persona. Identify technical or business needs and create messages that help solve these problems. For repeat customers, you are going to have better knowledge of the needs and problem areas. With that in mind, create a customer profile based on lifetime value and keep track of purchases and ongoing activity.

Personalization – B2B customers have higher expectations, so meeting them can require a lot of personalization. For new customers, use the customer profiles to segment based on requirements and purchase potential and use the information to offer relevant content and messaging based on preferences, industry and browsing history. For repeat customers, use the existing data to recommend more specific products at the right time.

Customer Service – It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with a prospective new customer or repeat customers, providing quality customer service is always necessary. Use multiple channels to offer support, address concerns from customers, answer questions, provide product demos and make things easy for the customer in an effort to improve the relationship.

Trust Building – Branching off of customer service, remaining honest and transparent with customers can increase your credibility. For new customers, display positive reviews and testimonials, deliver products on time and make all policies easy to access. For repeat customers, take account of their feedback, act appropriately on negative reviews, be sensitive in protecting user data and always try to deliver a pleasant experience.

Incentives – Customers of all sorts love incentives, getting a little something that makes a sale more worth it to them. For new customers, offer a free trial or discount period, perhaps free shipping or installation. For repeat customers, provide incentives for them helping to promote your business through social media, testimonials and making repeat purchases.

Increasing customer engagement can help you bring in new customers and stay involved with repeat customers. All of this helps build up a trust, which can help take your business to new heights.

If you found these tips helpful, keep reading the Genius eCommerce blog for more. This is who we are and what we do. We provide updates, tips, tricks and trends on everything in the eCommerce industry.

Why B2B eCommerce is a Growing Trend

When we hear the term eCommerce, we tend to this of the business to customer relationship, the direct bond the two have in a purchase. We think of eCommerce as the exchanging of goods and products between a business and a customer. In so many ways, B2B eCommerce holds so much more of a prominent place in the industry.

For one, B2B eCommerce makes up the majority of growth in the industry because it is comprised of manufacturers and wholesalers. By the end of 2019, the B2B eCommerce market will be worth over $1 trillion. The B2C market will only be worth about half of that at $480 billion.

Today, Genius eCommerce will look at why B2B eCommerce is a growing trend in the industry.

There are a number of factors that are defining the future of B2B eCommerce. B2B buyers have come to expect a better customer experience across all channels. The capabilities of eCommerce technology have increased the Total Cost of Ownership, which has more companies considering a unified cloud platform. A greater need for price optimization and configure-price-quote flexibility across sales channels is also something that B2B excels at that B2C cannot transition to. Order management is integrated at the platform level for B2B that allows for more synchronized processing.

Above all of these, though, is buyer expectations. Many businesses go into eCommerce selling between businesses because many buyers understand the added benefits of eCommerce and the expectations that eCommerce can bring a seamless and quality online experience. The success of the B2B industry very much has to do with the boost of mobile eCommerce. In fact, 91 percent of B2B buyers complete searches using mobile devices and one in four buyers makes a purchase using a mobile device.

So what will happen in 2019 that will keep this trend growing? A lot of it is very similar to standard eCommerce practices.

For one, having a defined strategy is a must. Manufacturers can no longer rely simply on ordering through phone, fax or email. The trend for manufacturers is to self-service order online and those that are not using eCommerce to do this will start to feel the pressure because sales will be down.

B2B eCommerce

In order to effectively sell online, manufacturers need a strategy in place that answers some questions. What part of the market are you trying to reach by selling eCommerce? Who are you targeting? Is it a new business or are you transitioning an existing business to the eCommerce space as well?

Additionally, content remains as important as ever in this space. Rich content — images, descriptions, videos, reviews — must be presented in the same way as distributors trying to draw in the customer. When it comes to content planning, consider your audience. Who needs it? Do your existing customers who have followed your business for a long time need it to still keep purchasing in the eCommerce space? Are you trying to attract new customers in an existing market? Are you trying to penetrate a new market with your transition to eCommerce?

Once you define a plan and focus on content that connects with your audience, the rest will start to fall into place with your strategy. The B2B eCommerce industry will continue to grow over the years and if you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle, you want to set your plan now and put it into action.

Was this information about a growing eCommerce trend helpful to you? With Genius eCommerce, this is who we are and what we do, providing updates, tips, trends and so much more about the eCommerce industry.

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