O2O Online to Offline. What is it?

27 August 2019

imaage source: Freepik

Retail is not dying, it's evolving. It's predicted that the next big technology interest will be about reviving retail. At the end of the day, shopping online can't replace the need to shop from real humans that are located nearby. O2O is the initiative to use technology to attract local business. Hence is the word O2O - Online to Offline.

LiveOptical is the first company in North America to serve O2O initiative for optical stores. We recognized that optical store owners don't have a technology background to not just build their own online store, but to even manage a professional team to do it for you. LiveOptical does everything for our customers - we build your online store for you. Most importantly, we know the optical retail business so well that we generally need 30 minutes with you to gather all the necessary requirements to get your store done.

Why is O2O important? Here are just a few ideas:

- To not offer an online store, it's like saying that you only take cash. Online shopping is the convenience that people demand, just like they demanded to pay with VISA 30 years ago.

- To not have an online store, it's like having a store with no sign. Unless it's your loyal customer who knows you, you simply can't rely on people to walk by and drive by to find your business. Everyone goes online to look for shopping options.

- To not have an online store, it's like telling your customer your product offering is 100 times smaller than any online store out there.

- To not have an online store, it's like telling your customer to shop on your competitor website and then come physically to you to buy.

- To have just a traditional 5-page website, it's like telling your customers that you want all their customers to go and see you in person every time they need glasses. Few new customers will waste their time on that.

The truth is that many people want to buy online or at least shop online. Ideally, for customers, they do it from a local store that is nearby. If anything goes wrong, they can come and solve their problem. Not too many want to willingly buy from overseas websites, deal with month-long shipping and waiting, pay customs and duties, and not have an option to solve their problems.

The truth is also that many people are not aware that your store has access to thousands of more products that you have on your shelf. Only you know that you can order any pair of glasses from a current collection by calling your supplier or going to their B2B website. Your customer still thinks that your store, as beautiful and friendly as it is, has a very VERY limited product choice. Unless you list all your product on your website, they will not know your true product offering.

O2O is the future of retail. I can't see any optical store 10-15 years from now that doesn't have an online store.