There is no doubt that in the West, online-to-offline (O2O) commerce is mostly about click-and-collect (C&C). Consumers purchase their stuff online and then pick it up later at a store. However, in China, O2O goes much further, covering a variety of services (like having a barber come to your home) which may not be cost-effective to offer in Western markets. Therefore, with O2O growing by leaps and bounds in the U.S. and Europe, its prospects for growth, as you can imagine, are much, much greater in Zhōngguó, which is the name the Chinese give to their homeland. That is why the future of O2O pioneer Moxian, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOXC) is so bright. The mainland China-based ecommerce company provides an online platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with brick-and-mortar stores to expand their marketing reach by using many cloud-based social and commercial tools currently available.
Click-and-collect commerce is one of the hottest trends in U.S. retailing, and examples of its growing acceptance have appeared in the press. For the Christmas holiday season in 2015, CNBC reported (http://nnw.fm/0tODu), citing an International Council of Shopping Centers’ Holiday Consumer Purchasing Trends Study, that about one-third of consumers selected and purchased their items online, and then picked them up at the store. In a program that kicked off on April 19, 2017, Walmart customers are now being offered discounts on about 10,000 items if they are willing to purchase and pay online and then pick up in a store.
In China, the potential of O2O commerce to become a billion dollar industry is due to three factors. Firstly, like coffee in Brazil, there are an awful lot of shoppers in China. At 1.4 billion, the population of China is more than four times that of the U.S., and some 650 million of these individuals use the internet. Therefore, according to an observation in an Economist Special Report, ‘It is easier in China than elsewhere to achieve scale quickly because the local market is both enormous and fairly homogeneous—and Western rivals are deterred by both the unfamiliarity of Chinese culture and by censorship.’
Second, in China, the O2O mix is more weighted to services than it is to tangible products, according to eMarketer (http://nnw.fm/7vwWj), which gives the Chinese market an added advantage since many of these services have decidedly lower labor costs. You can get a haircut at a salon in China for 25-30 RMB ($3.50-$7.00) and one at home for not much more. A haircut at home in America from an “Uber for Haircuts” outfit will set you back much, much more. One such, with the clever moniker Shortcut, charges $75 for a “premium” cut.
Third, the Chinese O2O market also encompasses a wider range of services, such as dining out and medical services, that most Westerners would not consider online-to-offline, suggesting that, at present, the online aspect of O2O is more important for the Chinese consumer than it is for Americans. Bear in mind that O2O commerce differs from a purchase-and-pay transaction at a brick-and-mortar establishment, where the consumer “window-shopped” the merchant’s website. In O2O, the purchase is paid for or initiated by an order online and consumed or picked up offline.
The recognition that Chinese shoppers are more likely to consider the O2O transition as one integral experience makes the Moxian platform an essential tool for them. A survey cited in the eMarketer report has revealed that a majority of internet users in China have purchased services through O2O, ranging from 50.6% in the 60+ age group to over 75% for those aged 20-39. From teens to grandparents, they are all in on O2O. These consumers can access the platform through the Moxian+ User App, designed expressly for use with mobile devices. For Merchant Clients, there is a separate app called the Moxian+ Business App.
Moxian+ gives SMEs with an established brick-and-mortar presence an online platform to conduct business, interact with existing customers and obtain new customers. Its social media engine not only facilitates discourse between merchant clients and consumers but also allows consumers to connect with each other and act as brand promoters. Merchant clients can publish information on products, offer coupons, advertise events and sales and keep consumers educated with blogs. Likewise, consumers can order products at the online shops for express delivery or for pick up later.
On November 14, 2016, Moxian announced the completion of a public offering of 2,501,250 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $4.00 per share. Its stock now trades on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol MOXC.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.Moxian.com