Have you ever searched for online information before you physically went to a store? In 2018, the answer to this question is probably yes. Indeed, multiple analyses and studies have proven that this is a habit for more than 75% of consumers : Searching information online and purchasing in the physical store afterwards (source: http::/www.consumerbarometer.com).
From virtual points of sale to physical points of sale
“O2O” is an English acronym often used by Google to qualify in-store traffic that was generated online. “O2O” means “Online to Offline”. In France, a similar expression exists : “RoPo” and stands for “Research Online Purchase Offline”.
And we all have done this. For example, I needed some milk for my baby last week, and before going to the pharmacy I checked the opening hours of my pharmacy on Google to be sure I had enough time and adapted my planning. I left the office 15 minutes earlier in order to arrive before the closing off the pharmacy. This is a typical example of O2O traffic.
In 2015, two major studies from Deloitte and eMarketeer showed that 90% of all sales still happen in a physical store. It is also interesting to note that between 2010 and 2015, the average in-store traffic dropped with 57% whereas the average basket per customers almost tripled in the United States(source: ShopperTrak 2015 holiday, US retail sales).
Which are the O2O activations?
When we are talking about O2O, we immediately think about opening hours. This is indeed one of the O2O leverages, but their are many more:
- 28% of consumers are looking for itineraries
- 36% of consumers are looking for opening hours
- 47% of consumers are looking for specific prices
- 21% of consumers are looking for reviews and ratings from their peers
- 26% of consumers are looking for the availability of products/services in their local store
- 19% of consumers are looking for specific promotions/actions in their local stores/restaurants
O2O traffic, a powerful leverage for your Sales
This O2O traffic is very important for your organization especially if you have your own distribution network or work with franchisees. This statement is backed by Forrster’s analyse, stating that 57% of sales made in local stores were influenced by the internet. This figure only amounted to 13% 3 years earlier! (Source: Forrester Web-Influenced Retail Sales Forecast 2004 & 2017).
It is thus clear that companies that have multiple points of sale and an e-commerce site have to find the right balance between offline and e-commerce to create an efficient omnichannel mix to maximise online and offline sales.
Where do I start to support my O2O Traffic?
In order to win this fierce O2O battle, there are a number of basics you have to master. These are SEO elements provided by Google My Business that will give you higher rankings within local search results:
1. You have to optimize the natural ranking of your points of sale.
2. You have to stimulate the number of incoming reviews for your points of sale (on Google & Facebook).
3. Publish Google posts, they’ll enhance your ranking within Google search results.
Consult other articles on the subject…