Why does every online business should focus on offline customers?

Last year, Amazon Cash, a payment method in which connects offline consumers with online shopping via cash. Though it may sounds contradicting for an online retailers trying to reach “cash customers” or “offline customers”, Amazon knows what they are doing. They are connecting the untapped part of offline customers to jump to the online retail.

In Southeast Asia, online retail represented US$6 billion. Although the number is big, it only represent 4% of the total retail in the region. Bain & Company in their report added, even though 250 million consumer connected to the internet via smartphone, only 100 million engaged in online transactions.

Many online business overlooked offline customers but with the presence of fintech, it is time to make offline customers your priority.


Where the money lies

  1. They are customers too

Although the rise of e-commerce has been a major contributing to the demise of traditional retail, offline customers are not fading away.

Traditionally, Southeast Asia customers still rely on “seeing, feeling and touching” method; a mechanism implemented since the day retail was born. Casually, they will “inspect” product before they buy it.

Online retailers such as you should understand this concept and attend to it. Why? Because these offline customers are still customers no matter how you see them and not to mention, they are the 96% of the retail market. Hence, ignoring them is not a wise idea.

They might not use credit card or other online payment but their money is as good as online customer’s money. It’s your burden yet an opportunity that you have to work on. By creating an online-to-offline (O2O) solution, you can create a bridge between the huge untapped offline customers to your online products.


  1. Serve the underserved

According to KPMG, only 27% of Southeast Asia’s population have a bank account. If you converted it to number, roughly around 438 million people do not own a bank account. It is undeniably a lot.

Imagine catering to those numbers, it is like finding the gold pot at the end of the rainbow. A study 2010 by McKinsey showed that reaching the unbanked population in Southeast Asia could increase the region’s economic contribution up to US$52 billion from US$17 billion by 2030.

That is a lot of gold pots at the end of Southeast Asia commerce rainbow. However, joining the bandwagon will require you to do a lot of things. For most of them, having a bank account or even making online payment would be considered a privilege.

So, you need to do something about that. Either cater directly to their unbanked status or create promotions to encourage them to create one. Either way, you will gain a lot of new potential customers.


  1. Extra efforts secure their loyalty

In the business world world, whether it is the conventional old-school retail or the nowadays’ on-demand online retail, money is not everything. Although it is important for any business, money cannot replace customer loyalty. Customer loyalty must not be taken lightly. They are the backbone of a company’s success where you cannot neglect both.

Catering the needs of 438 million unbanked customer may seem intimidating but in this situation, going the distance is going to secure you their loyalty. Nowadays, loyalty is not something easily earned. Hence you need to show your efforts.

Bear in mind, actions speak louder than words.

Develop, brainstorm and produce a way to connect your online business to these cash-preferred and unbanked customers. Let them know that you care about them and sure enough they will reply your efforts with their loyalty; subsequently, thriving your business forward.