Why is online-to-offline conversion important?

Many companies treat their online and offline presence as separate things, and perhaps see the online side of their business as a drain on the physical, the two can actually be used effectively together. Online-to-offline conversion, or O2O, can be highly beneficial for your business. As Terry Hunter, UK MD at Astound Commerce argues, “A retailer’s online and in-store presence needs to exist side by side, and operate without the separation which has become the crux of the modern omnichannel retail experience… When retailers treat their online and physical channels as separate entities, they fail consumers.”

How can the two channels be used together?

Although online stores offer a lot to customers, you need to give customers a reason to come to your physical shops. Here are some top tips for converting online customers to offline footfall in your stores:

Improving the store-specific parts of your website

The store-specific parts of your website need to be easy to use and always up to date. Details such as opening times should be clearly advertised, and your store locator needs to function without issue – which is particularly important for mobile users.

Other features your store pages should contain include:

  • An interactive map
  • Public transport and parking information
  • Disabled access and mobility information
  • In-store events
  • Photos of the store – 360-degree interactive photos are especially effective

Using social media effectively

Social media can be a great boon for your brand, and incredibly useful for sharing information with previous and potential customers, such as in-store offers and events. Targeted posts, on Facebook for example, can also help to promote sales for specific regions and cities.

 

Cross-promotion discounts

One great way to increase footfall is to use in-store-only discount vouchers as part of your marketing strategy. Emailing these to customers will encourage them to come to your stores and make them feel more valued by your brand.

 

Optimizing local SEO

Optimizing your local SEO can bring a lot of customers to your brick-and-mortar stores. Local SEO enables you to promote your business to nearby customers who are searching for the kind of service or product you offer. This could bring your business to the attention of new customers who may not have considered your store previously. And importantly, it’s an area where online-only businesses can’t compete with you.

 

Keeping channels integrated

Ensuring your online and offline channels feel cohesive, with one tone of voice for your brand across the board, is a good way to encourage your customers to make use of them both. The transition from online to offline should be seamless; it should feel like one continuous service, and working on integrating your branding will help to achieve this. This integration is also characterized by how easy everything should be for the customer - for example, being able to check the stock of a specific store online, before going to purchase the item in person.

Interested in learning more about Online to Offline?
Read our Introduction to Online to Offline Commerce ebook. 

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What do BRIDGE do?

BRIDGE is a SaaS ('Software as a Service') marketing solution for brands and retail networks, helping you convert your online traffic into in-store footfall. The software also helps you gain more local search traffic via optimized pages, analyzes performance and results for actionable insights, and enables you to manage data and content through a single platform.

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