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Most long-time Skinny readers will be aware of the opportunities to integrate online and offline channels in China.  When developing a social media or ecommerce strategy, offline touchpoints should also be considered as a powerful aid to grow awareness and prompt engagement online.

Whilst online advertising in China is becoming more sophisticated and targeted – particularly on social platforms such as WeChat – acquisition costs continue to soar.  Ironically, offline channels can be a much more cost effective platform to attract followers online.

China is leading the O2O world for both adoption and innovation.  Much of this has been driven by WeChat which is creeping into so much of everyday digital and physical life.  We only need to look to the more than 300,000 bricks and mortar stores already accepting WeChat Pay, or to Didi for ride sharing, Dianping for dining and entertainment and a list of other features that stretches longer than the Great Wall.

Brands are increasingly innovating with marketing campaigns that span both the digital and physical worlds.  Starbucks’ recent initiative provides a timely example, allowing users to gift friends and family frappuccinos and other products over WeChat and redeem them in store.

The surging popularity of wearable tech – in which 43% of urban Chinese are interested in buying – also presents plenty more opportunities to cleverly integrate campaigns and is particularly relevant for health, sport and lifestyle brands, but could also have an application in other categories.  Yet campaigns don’t have to be on the scale of Starbucks’ or employ integration of technically complex wearables.  Simpler digital integrations into packaging, stores and events can demonstrate a marked increase in online traction.

Understanding Chinese consumers’ rational and emotional drivers and their place in their customer journey allows brands to ensure that O2O features are both relevant and engaging to ensure the greatest chance of success in the market.

Brands are increasingly working with agencies such as China Skinny to determine how online functions can be integrated into offline touchpoints, creating increased awareness, sales, loyalty, and much higher advocacy rates through easy-to-share channels such as social media. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.

O2O is one of the most cost effective and engaging marketing strategies brands can adopt in China. Most aspirational brands selling in China have a strong O2O component in their marketing mix, yet many foreign brands have been falling behind in implementing O2O initiatives in China.

Online-to-Offline (O2O) is one of the most used buzzwords in China today, and with good reason. In Western markets, O2O refers to ‘click-and-collect’ items – goods bought online and picked up at a bricks & mortar store. Whilst retailers such as Ikea and Walmart are dabbling with it in China, cheap delivery and low car ownership rates mean that click-and-collect hasn’t taken off here like other countries. Nevertheless, China is pioneering in the O2O category.

China 020 Infographic