“Connectivity” can take on multiple meanings in the online-to-offline space, be it the physical connection of transmitting goods from a merchant to a consumer or the virtual connection made in the online realm. In this edition of the O2O Tracker, we take a look at a couple of retailers internationally that are presenting unique solutions for both cases.
Lippo Hails A Ride To eCommerce Fulfillment
With online purchases being, by nature, only half of the O2O equation, eCommerce merchants still need to get shoppers’ items into their hands.
To solve for that in Indonesia, MatahariMall — the online arm of the Matahari department store chain, in which the Lippo Group recently made a $500 million investment — has entered into a partnership with the ride-hailing app Grab, reports Bloomberg Business.
It’s a move similar to one that MatahariMall rival Tokopedia made in partnering with motorcycle taxi company Go-Jek, and it speaks to the need, notes the outlet, for online merchants to rely on local delivery companies — which inherently possess an understanding of the consumer preferences, regulations and infrastructure of a particular region better than outside providers might — in order to stay on pace with (if not ahead of) the competition.
“Speed is really important in this business,” Ridzki Kramadibrata, managing director of Grab Indonesia, told Bloomberg Business. “You need to be able to do multiple things at the same time, because if you can’t do that, the market will outgrow you and you will lose your opportunity.”
While MatahariMall previously had in place (and maintains) the facilitation for online customers to pick up their purchases in-store at Lippo’s locations, the Grab partnership necessarily expands the merchant’s reach in the O2O space in Indonesia by connecting it to a larger swath of local consumers that — for reasons of convenience or sheer personal preference — are otherwise disinclined, at least in particular instances, to make the trip to a physical retail location in order to receive their items.
“Our combined knowledge of the Indonesian market will help us build the most effective online-to-offline experience — to ensure that online shoppers anywhere in Indonesia can receive or collect their purchases easily,” John Riady, a Lippo Group director, remarked in a statement shared by Bloomberg Business.
Online-to-offline being the mutually beneficial chain of commerce that it is, the arrangement with Lippo is equally a potential boon for Grab — which the outlet reports currently holds in excess of 50 percent of Indonesia’s motorcycle taxi market — as it faces increased competition in the country from players like Uber and the aforementioned Go-Jek.
Paytm’s Offline Progress In India
Elsewhere in the international O2O space, Entrepreneur has checked in with Paytm’s unique efforts to accommodate cashless payments via its mobile wallet in India and found that things are going pretty swimmingly.
In speaking with the outlet, Nitin Misra, products head at Paytm, largely attributes the Alibaba-backed company’s success in that regard to the lack of Internet access currently available to consumers in India. Though often lacking the constant connectivity enjoyed by consumers in regions like the U.S., offline consumers in the country still prefer to make cashless payments, and that’s a need that Paytm has found a way to meet.
As Misra explained to Entrepreneur, because the app regularly saves customer details, like account balance, in the background, Paytm is able to still complete a transaction in the event that one or both parties (the consumer and/or the merchant) experiences a loss of connectivity.
“The moment one party or both come [back] online, the account balance, as well as the transaction details, will be automatically synced,” Misra told the outlet.
In that event, continued Misra, the customer can, using their Paytm app, show a transaction-specific barcode to a merchant in person; the merchant then completes the purchase by scanning it. Alternately, Paytm users can complete transactions that were interrupted due to connectivity loss with a one-time password feature — a particularly useful offering, notes Entrepreneur, in areas of high traffic.