From online to offline

Jun 18, 2013

Over the years we have seen plenty of traditional shop retailers move their business online but how often do we hear about an online retailer going to the offline environment i.e. back to the high street? If you have an online business is there any need to consider the high street?

Online to offline (O2O) refers to an online trigger which prompts the customer to go to a physical location to complete the purchase, but it can also be the other way around: One aspect of O2O initiatives is the ability to pay online and then pick up the product in an offline place, such as the retailers' physical store.

Moo *

Not the noise a cow makes but the online card maker has opened a shop so that visitors can get their hands on the card, compare paper as well as design and customise cards that until now could only have been done online. 

With Moo, the personal touch is important to their customers so giving them the opportunity to touch and experience the product makes a degree of sense and maybe of less relevance to another type of business. The new physical side will also look to add extra value and provide some new elements to the business.

What does this mean for website and ecommerce designers?

Well, it means that clients need to be advised to make sure they align their online and offline experience. Bring the two together so that each can boost the other.

This is not about getting yourself out to a wider audience which of course you will. It's about both sides of the business complementing each other. If a shop or stall allows people to experience your product then your online business will hopefully be able to grow. But the other side to that could be new features added to your physical business will generate a buzz and allow your online customers to engage and follow what is happening.

It's not easy but it's something for you to consider.

*Update 21st September, 2019: From looking at the Moo website it's not clear whether they still have a shop. This probably means that they don't have a shop anymore. However, in June of 2019, Amazon UK have opened a physical store, as has eBay. Maybe that was their ultimate plan after first destroying the high street.

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