Online to offline

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Online to offline, commonly abbreviated to O2O, is a phrase that is used in digital marketing to describe systems enticing consumers within a digital environment to make purchases of goods or services from physical businesses.

What's O2O[edit]

O2O means "Online To Offline" but also "Offline to Online", indicating the two-way flow between the online and the physical world, especially retail and ecommerce, but also between brand marketing and shopper or point-of-sale marketing efforts to influence purchase decisions. For example, consumers could see an ad online and be driven to visit the store, or be in a physical store but ultimately purchase online for a variety of reasons (selection, price, convenience, etc). There are many aspects to O2O, and businesses are increasingly challenged to satisfy consumers' expectations of a frictionless flow.

Initially, the term was applied to QR code marketing efforts, but has since evolved. It is often confused with omni-channel, which refers to companies with an online store as well as physical retail locations.

Often, O2O implies an online trigger which prompts the customer to go to a physical location to complete their purchase, but it can also be the other way around: One aspect of newer O2O initiatives is the ability to pay online and then pick up a product in an offline place, such as the retailers' physical store or 3rd party locations. Another O2O feature is returning items purchased online to the retailers' offline location.

example: Alibaba’s first mall shows that O2O is a real business model.[1][2][3]


In its early use, the phrase received criticism as illogical. However, its mass adoption has dulled much of this criticism.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of O2O". PC Magazine.
  2. ^ "What does O2O mean for the future of e-commerce?". Yahoo Finance.
  3. ^ "Training Bundle". Sunday, February 23, 2020