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OMO integrates physical, virtual markets


Retailers are dropping the either-or mindset, when considering online and offline.


As digital technologies and e-commerce mature, retailers and shoppers alike are showing great interest in the consumer-centred online-merge-offline (OMO) strategy.

The new model will be on the agenda, as the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) welcomes industry leaders from around the world to MarketingPulse and eTailingPulse on 13 March to exchange insights on the latest trends and opportunities in marketing and etailing as well as to facilitate collaboration.

December retail sales in Hong Kong were estimated at HK$36.3 billion (US$4.64 billion), a year-on-year increase of 7.8%, according to the latest figures from the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong SAR Government. Physical retail sales have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, but online purchases have increased significantly.

In the digital age, consumers can go online to learn about products and services anytime and anywhere. The new OMO retail model, which integrates virtual and physical experiences, has also emerged. Many international e-commerce leaders have adopted an OMO marketing strategy. American e-commerce giant Amazon has opened a number physical stores recently, despite continuing to expand online, including outlets selling its original core product, books.

Online and physical shopping have complementary attractions. Online shoppers can browse a wide range of goods and draw up a short-list of suppliers. No need to wander through high streets and malls only to keep hearing "out of stock" or "don't have".

Buyers in physical shops can evaluate items through touch and, in some cases, smell and hearing as well as sight. They can also try items on. And when sealing the deal, they can walk away with the item.

The O2O concept – online to offline – works on the assumption that one approach comes first.

But now we have OMO. Consumers can obtain product information online, go to offline stores to view physical products, place an order online and pick up the goods in the physical store, combining the advantages of both approaches.

OMO is also a boon for sellers. Companies can track every aspect of consumer behaviour online or offline through membership systems and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. The sellers’ systems will help formulate more precise marketing strategies and improve customer loyalty.

The two-in-one Pulse forum will draw about 70 speakers from around the world, including marketing executives, retailers, brand representatives, advertising industry elites and e-commerce experts who will discuss experiential marketing, success cases and the latest strategies.

This year's forum is themed Envision the Next Level. Speakers will focus on AI marketing and innovation, forward marketing and K-pop marketing. For age-specific sales, speakers will explore the potential of Gen Alpha and silver hair consumers, highlighting their behaviours and preferences and how brands can cater to these two groups. . Other discussions deep dive into sustainable and sensory marketing, brand stories and other trending topics.

eTailingPulse introduces a session, New Technologies to Enhance OMO Sales: How Data and Channel Partnership Benefit Businesses, moderated by Kevin Huang, Chief Operating Officer of SCMP Group. Janet Yuen, CEO of Hong’s Catering Group, Jidapa Jirarattanachan, Cross-Border E-commerce Business Director of Thai department store Big C Supercenter, and Antony Yiu, CEO of PHD Hong Kong, will dissect the evolving landscape of omnichannel retail and OMO sales technologies.

The  2-in-1 event will include an exhibition area, bringing together about 40 exhibitors from Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific, including Eternity X, EventX, First Page and Omnichat. The latest marketing and e-commerce solutions will be on display, and a number of digital marketing and e-commerce workshops will be held to teach practical skills in digital marketing and e-commerce.

Attendees can also participate in on-site networking events and meet Hong Kong marketing service companies to explore collaboration opportunities through the event’s one-to-one business matching platform.

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