If you like me, are searching some promising practices of O2O in China lately, aside from those group buying sites or O2O App startups, then I think I found one, Sinopec’s lubricant brand called “GreatWall”.

GreatWall auto lubricant’s rough sketch of O2O in China

A while ago, I wrote about my bewilderment about O2O, see here. Now days, whenever I was approached by someone to inquiry about O2O, I tended to be very strict on its definition. I would say something like below:

O2O, online to offline, means you search and purchase products online, but have to enjoy product related services offline; and the beauty of O2O is through online transaction, brands can track, monitor and acquire consumer data. And I do not think this concept can be applied to any industry…”

Anyhow, let us talk about Sinopec’s GreatWall lubricant case. A perfect industry to fit into “O2O” definition, I suppose; as sometimes auto lubricant purchase does accompany with offline car maintenance service.

First I asked myself, who might the best online seller of car lubricant in China?

B2C king in China is Tmall. No doubt, I immediately started to search there, and ranked by accumulated sales, flagship store of GreatWall is the top performer. I noticed brand Castrol also opened online store on Tmall, however its sale record seemed to be lack of luster compared with GreatWall.

Well, most of GreatWall lubricant products on Tmall are for direct sale and delivery to consumers, which should not count as “O2O” here. Therefore what really caught my eyes was its “iCare” package which includes purchasing lubricant product online and offline service of cleaning & changing your engine oil in GreatWall’s car maintenance shops.

So this O2O flow runs likes this:

A)      Search your ideal lubricant iCare services on GreaWall’s Tmall flagship store

B)      Pay it via Alipay of Tmall

C)      Customers then receive SMS as confirmation along with a reminder of booking an appointment for offline service two days in advance

D)      Customers can start to book the appointment either via phone or Tmalls’ online chat

E)       GreatWall’s customer center confirms the payment and appointment while get in touch with the car maintenance store

F)       Customer is now ready to go the offline store and enjoy the service

I believe that is the rough sketch of O2O vision from GreatWall. I even contacted GreatWall hotline to inquire about this business strategy. Well, they told me at this stage it is still under test, and that is why such O2O service is just available in Beijing; if going well, they would love to expand it in all the first tier cities in China.

For better or worse, I am glad to see the dawn light of O2O in this country, which also satisfies my strict definition of this "catchphrase".


By Cécilia Wu
English & Chinese Editorial Manager