The new buzzword in retail these days is “O2O” and if a run specialty retailer doesn’t know what O2O is they had better get on board because it is a path to increased sales and profits for stores looking to connect to their customers where they shop. But don’t worry, Locally is here to help.
For those not already in the know, “O2O” is the industry term for online-to-offline shopping and it is the number one way people shop these days – 90 percent of shoppers research products online before making a purchase and they often browse on a brand’s website to research products that interest them.
Making sure those customers are then directed to local retailers is the role Locally plays, according to marketing manager Sean Hipp. “The customer’s interaction with a store begins before the customer even leaves the brand website,” Hipp explains.
Essentially, Locally connects online shoppers to products that are available for purchase in-store nearby. Locally’s technology, powered by real-time inventory from more than 23,000 retail locations, is embedded on brands’ websites to show shoppers exactly what is available to purchase at stores near them.
Locally even facilitates BOPIS, ROPIS, Ship-to-Store and Same-Day Delivery purchases to create a seamless O2O experience for shoppers. Here’s how it works:
• When a shopper lands on a brand’s PDP, the Locally Product Locator will show that shopper nearby stores that carry that product and have it in stock.
• Locally pulls inventory from the stores’ POS to publish on brands’ websites, so shoppers can see accurate product availability down to color and size.
• Shoppers can even place a Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) and Reserve Online, Pay In-Store (ROPIS) purchase from the store without ever leaving the website.
• In the end, Locally sends the store a completed sale and new customer.
“Online-to-offline shopping is the fastest growing shopping trend,” Hipp emphasizes, adding that while shopping usually begins online, 85 percent of retail purchases still take place at brick-and-mortar stores.
“Shoppers also want options,” he adds.
Locally is especially valuable for run specialty retailers, which carry the kind of products that shoppers want to see before they purchase. They want to check the fit and feel of products and they want the expert help that retailers provide, Hipp explains, and Locally directs these shoppers in-store to help retailers win, and retain, more customers.
Locally also works with some of the biggest brands in running, so there is a big opportunity for retailers to be seen by shoppers on those brands’ websites.
“Shoppers want immediacy, they want to be able to easily find products available nearby and Locally helps retailers to capitalize on the way people are already shopping,” Hipp adds.
Getting started for a retailer involves displaying their inventory on brand websites, so Locally requires their UPCs, quantity and prices. Making it even easier is that retailers can connect their POS system for free. Locally then needs an email address, store contact and store hours to start sending sales with its O2O transaction system.
Hipp stresses that there is no size minimum for a store to sell on Locally — it works whether there is one location or hundreds. And for these retailers of any size, connecting their POS to publish inventory to brand websites takes only a few minutes — and it’s free. There is no major time commitment to maintain their Locally account, just making sure UPCs, quantities and prices are up-to-date in their POS.
For retailers to accept BOPIS and ROPIS transactions from brand websites, they need to enable Buy It Locally, which is done in just a few clicks. There is no ongoing fee for Buy It Locally, just a 3.5 percent transaction fee on completed sales.
A Seamless Omnichannel
“Locally’s tools increase sales, reduce customer drop off and increase customer lifetime value for running brands,” Hipp says. “It’s important for brands to ensure that online-to-offline shopping is easy for customers and Locally turns a running brand’s website into a seamless omnichannel shopping experience.
Because Locally already works with many running specialty stores and brands, there is immediate benefit built in for both groups. Running brands can benefit from Locally’s robust network of running specialty stores and retailers can start receiving sales from the brands that already work with Locally.
“The online-to-offline gap is a big gap and our suite of tools is extremely comprehensive to make sure that gap is successfully bridged,” Hipp adds. “We’re also constantly improving our tools and looking for more opportunities for brands and retailers to grow with Locally.