Andrew Banks speak about O2O Holiday SuccessThe holiday shopping period is well and truly upon us. Singles’ Day and Click Frenzy take place next week and Cyber Weekend at the end of this month. For retailers, the lead up to Christmas often referred to as the ‘golden quarter’, is the most crucial time of year.

Online sales continue to grow at a rapid pace, with consumers now conditioned to expect massive discounts over the period. And while online continues on an upward trajectory, the ‘golden quarter’ also sees retail foot traffic increase as consumers visit shopping centres in search of the perfect holiday gift.

Consumer expectations are changing and shoppers now expect a seamless experience, regardless of if they shop in-store or online. Consumers expect to receive promotions and discounts, and in many cases, be rewarded for their loyalty to a brand or retailer. So how can retailers deliver a seamless experience regardless of where a consumer chooses to shop?

The answer is by partnering with Online-to-Offline (O2O) providers.

Plastiq.it is powering O2O commerce through its turnkey digital platform that delivers cashback to consumers, regardless of whether they shop in-store or online. By leveraging customer data to provide laser-focused targeting, Plastiq.it drives increased revenue to retailers. Put simply, Plastiq.it is cashback 2.0.

We sat down with the Executive Chairman of Plastiq.it and expert “shark” from Shark Tank Australia Andrew Banks to uncover how retailers can leverage O2O strategies to drive increased performance over the holiday period.

RM: For anyone not familiar with how O2O works in the affiliate space can you give a quick breakdown of what you do and specifically how Plastiq.it works?

AB: “Online to Offline” (O2O) is a way for progressive merchants to connect with consumers driving the new ‘mobile economy’.

Plastiq.it is a platform that bridges the gap between the merchant and consumer – both online and in-store. Imagine being able to have a true 360° view your customer and offer them targeted, timely and relevant in-store abandonment offers and measure in-store conversion like you do with online!

Plastiq.it allows all of this via the power of the Phygital (physical + digital) universe!

RM: O2O experiences have traditionally been a bit clunky for consumers and difficult for retailers to establish. What’s changed?

AB: Technology and consumer behaviour are at a point in time which now enables us to build frictionless experiences for both consumers and merchants. Previously, the technology required added steps which created a clunky experience for all resulting in poor adoption.

We’ve created a platform that allows consumers to walk in, pay and walk out (frictionless) – which in turn makes for smoother transactions for merchants too.

RM: The beauty of online is that everything is measurable, and retailers can collate the performance of campaigns to make data-led decisions about marketing spend. Does O2O afford retailers the same ability and what data should retailers be looking at?

AB: Yes, yes and YES! Imagine being able to measure in-store behaviour with the same granularity as you do with online via Google Analytics. Take that a step further by combining unparalleled competitive insights, updated daily, that surpass any other commercially available tool, and merchants have a toolbox enabling them to build thriving retail businesses.

While every article you read is sprouting a “retail apocalypse” we personally could not be more bullish for the new generation of Phygital retailers!

RM: During the holiday period, consumers are bombarded with marketing messages from brands. How can retailers use O2O to effectively ‘cut through the noise’?

AB: With big sale occasions come big advertising budgets, so leveraging Plastiq’s unrivalled customer data platform puts you a quantum leap ahead of your competition. Traditional data sources are aggregated and take weeks, if not months, to provide insights. You will be able to leverage actionable insights that are updated daily – no other tool allows you this form of luxury.

Traditional retail hasn’t been able to measure advertising against sales like their online counterparts, but those days are now well and truly over.

RM: Q4 is full of online retail events – how can O2O enhance the consumer experience during this period?

AB: Merchants need to stop looking at online and in-store in silos or even worse, as competing business units. Building Phygital consumer experiences is the way to do this.

Leveraging digital marketing campaigns that can be effectively measured by in-store sales is a great starting point. Further to that, leveraging geolocation data to build remarketing campaigns based on in-store activity that didn’t result in conversion is another excellent option.

RM: Are there any benefits for offering different incentives for consumers who choose to shop offline, or should the experience be seamless regardless of the channel they convert in?

AB: Strategically it makes sense to build an all-encompassing user journey, but you will always have inherent biases through consumer segments, and at this point it definitely makes sense to start testing with different incentives for different goals.

The underlying message here is that O2O affords merchants the ability to test and measure as they would in online environments.

RM: What are your tips for retailers as we move into the busy holiday period?

AB: Don’t fear change, embrace it. Consumers are in the driving seat and merchants need to understand this.

The most important thing above anything else though is test, test and test. Like anything, there is no silver bullet and O2O is much the same but with every test conducted more data is collected, and data is what will be the difference in success or failure, now – more than ever.

RM: What trends do you see emerging in the O2O space moving into 2020?

AB: A true data-driven consumer experience. In-store cart abandonment is proving to be very popular right now and further leveraging geolocation data with engaging content is now at a stage where we will see a commercial impact.

We aren’t worlds away from merchants like Coles building AR into their next “Little Shop” collectibles campaign, and brands that are spending would surely appreciate in-store content-led engagement in addition to static advertisements that may or may not relate to sales.

Want to know more? Plastiq.it requires no merchant integration, is data-driven and provides simple, actionable insights. Visit the Plastiq.it website or speak to the Rakuten Marketing team to get started.