Simply put, O2O, or Online to Offline, is the ability of online services to promote offline activity. There are many questions to be raised by this concept, including the actual influence online services and tech on its offline counterparts and how online developments impact upon the offline world. Here we discuss the impact of O2O on entertainment such as online casinos, dining out and adventure getaways, while exploring the effect the concept has on medical care and consumerism as a whole.
Besides being able to look up symptoms via online medical sites such as NHS Direct, more and more medical professionals are realising the convenience of providing medical advice to patients online. This directly impacts upon offline interaction as following an online consultation, patients can then be invited into surgery for a more thorough examination should their symptoms need further investigation. This approach is financially significant for private medical practices which will save their resources by allowing for initial consultations online at a nominal charge, and will then promote further revenue should a patient be required to attend the GP surgery in person.
High street stores have realised the huge benefits of merging online advertising and shopping with offline options. Supermarket, clothes stores and catalogue companies are just some of the retailers allowing customers to order online and arrange for items to be picked up in store. At first glance this may seem to be an option that puts consumer convenience first, yet it could also be construed as an effective ploy to expose customers to the other products in store which would otherwise be missed if their chosen item was simply delivered to their address. In this instance online shopping impacts upon consumer spending in both the online and offline worlds: clever marketing at its best.
Whereas gambling was once a restricted past time, with Men Only Clubs and dingy high street betting shops being the only options to most people, online slots and casinos have opened the door to a new sophisticated world of gambling. One of the biggest changes to gambling is its popular online presence and companies such as Mr Smith Casino are noting a significant increase in gamers preferring online slots as their game of choice. There is certainly no longer a taboo surrounding the entertainment value of casinos and the relaxing ambience of online play has spilled out into the offline world with more people, especially women, trying online gaming and then confidently enjoying the thrill of a real-world casino environment.
As probably the most prominent online taxi service in the western world, Uber is a classic example of online services directly impacting upon offline services. A user simply creates an account with their card details and is then free to use the Uber service when the service is required. You can select what kind of vehicle you want and can see what drivers are in your area before making your selection. This concept is certainly intriguing, especially as passengers experience an entirely cashless service from a company that does not own any vehicles itself, which shows just how much the online and offline worlds continue to merge.
Sites such as Groupon and VoucherCodes use an online presence to entice people to spend in the offline world. By providing discounts on behalf of companies selling anything from dining experiences, adventure getaways and nights in high-end hotels, these online businesses attract consumers that may not be aware of the retailers otherwise. Here an online business is directly effecting the popularity and revenue of offline businesses, inspiring companies to offer online discounts in order to increase there custom.
There is no doubt that online ventures are having a huge impact upon offline businesses, and it is clear from the above examples that one is not jostling to oust the other, but rather, these two worlds can exist as mutually beneficial concepts and will continue to do so alongside the inevitable technological advancements that are yet to come.