“The core of the Online to Offline [O2O] commerce that integrates online and offline areas into one is not to just link two areas, but to create new added value through human touch,” noted Park Ji-woong, CEO of Fast Track Asia. It means that rather than a simple food delivery O2O service, an O2O service in which well-trained workers deliver gourmet meals in a courteous way can create added value and make the business last longer.
“This year, a lot of O2O services have been introduced, but the market is still in its early stages to the extent that less than 5 percent of the nation's offline services are available online,” said Park Ji-woong. He stressed the potential of O2O services by saying, “The growth potential of the O2O market is limitless, as shown by the fact that the market value of app-based taxi service Uber or accommodation service Airbnb, which were founded less than 10 years ago, are higher than the market capitalization of its counterparts like Hertz or Hilton.” Those remarks were made during his keynote speech at the Tech Planet 2015 in the Lotte Hotel Jamsil, Seoul on Oct. 7.
Park also reiterated human touch as a key to the success of O2O services.
Wining move: High-quality O2O services with human touch
Fast Track Asia, which is growing up in tandem with the establishment of a growing number of O2O startups, is leading Stripes, male fashion; HelloNature, organic foods; Fast Campus, practical education for adults; Fast Five, office real estate; and FLY&COMPANY, which is famous for Foodfly, an online food delivery service that allows consumers to order gourmet food online and get them delivered.
These companies provide high-quality O2O services, where people create added value and increase the value of businesses, instead of just turning offline services into online platforms.
In other words, the role of people is most important in the O2O service area. For example, those who deliver food at Foodfly have more stable jobs and earn more steady income than those engaged in the quick delivery service. Owing to the quality of the service, business operators and consumers have been less reluctant to pay service fees, according to Park.
Human resource management: Key to success of O2O business
Since the value of the O2O business is increasing with human touch, managing people is another key to the success of the O2O business.
Park said, “Uber and Airbnb suffer from conflicts with existing business operators and various types of regulations wherever they are introduced, but the biggest issue is human resource management,” adding, “For instance, if Uber drivers are classified as regular workers, the company will have to bear higher costs and take bigger responsibility.”