With the growth in internet and digital communications, the online market has become huge. This access to a broader market is one of the main reasons that a growing number of businesses are migrating to online services. While this is beneficial in general, there is also a significant risk involved in reaching out for the online market. For SMEs and small businesses who primarily have offline stores, the appeal of online market creates a major dilemma. They can either take a huge risk and focus on a global online market or choose a more stable offline approach. They cannot afford to do both, or can they?
What if we told that there was a strategy that could become a potential game-changer for SMEs and small businesses?
Online-to-Offline (O2O) is a superior business strategy that can help SMEs and small businesses guide potential online customers to their offline storefronts. With this strategy, businesses can use digital tools/technology to merge online marketing initiatives and offline marketing techniques. One of the main benefits of O2O is that it helps businesses capitalize on both online and offline markets and gain more prominence. Panera, which combines mobile/online initiatives to render seamless in-store experience, and Paragon Honda, which uses digital tools to enhance customer service appointments, are a few examples of the same.
In this digital era, there are several tools that help businesses emulate the O2O strategy efficiently. This section of the article will look at some of the accessible and popular O2O techniques and strategies for SMEs.
- Digital Store – By creating a superior digital storefront, small businesses and SMEs can help customers have an interactive product demo that will nudge them to visit the storefronts to purchase the product. SMEs can partner with digital partners like Invenzo Labs to create a responsive digital storefront that is accessible from both online and mobile devices.
- BOPIS – Book Online and Purchase In-Store, or BOPIS in short, is a superior O2O strategy that will help transform online traffic to offline sales. Businesses can use their websites and digital tools like WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., for emulating BOPIS strategy. SMEs can create affordable BOPIS strategies with the aid of digital service partners like Invenzo Labs.
- Smart Coupons - SMEs can also use digital channels to distribute smart coupons that can be redeemed in store for product discounts and offers. These smart coupons can either be print-at-home (PAH) coupons or direct digital coupons with QR codes. Smart coupons is one of the strategies that can also support omnichannel sales/marketing strategies.
- Affiliate Marketing - By far one of the most popular O2O marketing strategy, affiliate marketing helps SMEs and small businesses use the websites, blogs and social media handles of other businesses to promote their products & services. Since affiliates get rewarded for every sale, they will be eager to increase the footfalls to increase offline sales. Affiliate marketing has become popular because of social media, which has increased the scope of marketing as virtually any influencer, brand or celebrity can become an affiliate.
- Digital Targeting - SMEs and small businesses can send email and WhatsApp-based reminders/promotions to their site visitors about the latest in-store products and services. In addition to targeting new visitors, SMEs can also target visitors with abandoned carts about in-store product discounts for the same product. This will help increase offline sales for the businesses.
- Videos & Banners - Creating video Ads for products and services is another method of pulling the attention of online customers. By marketing video demos and ads through channels like YouTube, SMEs and small businesses can improve their digital presence and increase footfalls in their retail stores.
These O2O strategies will help small and medium businesses enhance their offline customer base and revenue efficiently. By using O2O, brick-and-mortar SMEs will be able to take advantage of online channels like website, social media and WhatsApp. Furthermore, SMEs and small businesses can also partner with an experienced digital service partner to create personalized Online-to-Offline strategies. Invenzo Labs is one such digital partner that has experience in creating custom O2O strategies using various digital media channels. Moreover, they also keep their services budget-friendly to make them more accessible for small businesses.