How digital marketing technologies augment in-store shopping experience

With eCommerce going strong this holiday season, it isn’t surprising that brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling the pressure to go online.

While you can’t turn back the clock and make online shopping go away, there’s a lot you can do to attract shoppers to your store by incorporating digital technologies into your marketing (if you can’t beat them, join them!)

The line between online and offline shopping is blurring – retailers with physical stores are growing their eCommerce operations, while eCommerce pure plays are adding physical locations. Rent the Runway, Bonobos, Warby Parker, Gilt, Purple Carrot, and Amazon are just a few examples.

To succeed in this brave new world of retail, you need to combine the best of both online and offline commerce to devise a strategy that appeals to today’s savvy consumers.

omnichannel retail

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Successful omnichannel retailers are blending digital and physical experiences seamlessly. They’re generating more sales and profits than those who pursue either one alone or both together, but in a siloed manner.

Here are a few ways to incorporate digital experiences into your retail business so you can drive more traffic to your physical stores and make more sales:

Personalized email marketing

Sending personalized content, product recommendations, and offers based on subscribers’ preferences and purchasing history is a great way to increase sales.

For customers who live in areas where you have physical stores, you can encourage them to pay a visit by sending coupons for in-store purchases customized to their preferences.

In-store pick-up option for eCommerce orders

Last-minute shoppers scrambling to buy gifts may not have the time to wait a few days for their online orders to be shipped. Meanwhile, there are some who simply enjoy the “instant gratification” when they pick up their orders on the same day.

You can offer in-store pick-up option for your eCommerce customers, so they can process their orders online and pick up the items in a physical store. They can avoid the long queues while getting the order when they need it.

Mobile app push notifications

Consumers have their phones with them all the time. By using geo-fencing technologies, you can send personalized offers via a mobile app to shoppers close to or inside a physical store.

You can put a time-limit on the offer to add urgency or send an in-store-only special to encourage customers to stop by your store.

In-store kiosks

Bring the digital shopping experience to your stores with kiosks. Customers can use them to locate specific items, place an online order for a size or color that isn’t in stock, and log in to their accounts to look up their purchase history or manage their orders.

These kiosks can help you bridge the online and offline shopping experience while freeing up salespeople to assist customers on the floor.

Keeping your eyes on the prize

While designing an omnichannel retail strategy, keep this main objective in mind: to sell merchandise to your customers in whichever way they want to buy it.

The key is to deliver a fluid shopping experience between online and offline touchpoints so that customers can make a purchase from you as seamlessly as possible.

Starbucks, Sephora, and Disney’s Omnichannel Approach


The good old days of customers coming from one channel are over.  With the rapid rise of social and mobile channels as valuable marketing platforms, omnichannel business strategy has become necessary approach for a successful brand.  While it is easy to understand “Why?” the “How?” is less clear.

Before we can discuss what techniques are being used to optimize omnichannel marketing, we need to take a look at what omnichannel marketing really means. Omnichannel is an approach to sales that utilizes multiple channels and outlets of shopping. The primary goal is to create a seamless customer shopping experience, whether the individual is shopping on a mobile device, desktop, or in a physical store. 

Now that we have established a what omnichannel is, let’s take a look at how three companies use it to their advantage.


Starbucks is an omnichannel expert

The Starbucks Rewards program is a perfect example of omnichannel marketing in practice. Starbucks is one of the biggest coffee retailers in the world. Their market reach is incredible, and they have harnessed the power of omnichannel to leverage that huge customer base. The Starbucks Rewards system uses an omnichannel approach to make the coffee buying experience more convenient for customers.  Customers can use the rewards card to make purchases without taking out their wallets and to also reload the rewards balance online, in-store, by telephone, or by mobile app. All changes to rewards accounts immediately update across all channels.  Thanks to the omnichannel approach, Starbucks customers can satisfy their caffeine cravings at any time, on any channel.


Online bags can become actual bags when purchasing in-store


The makeup retailer has also changed the way consumers interact with products. Sephora utilizes the omnichannel shopping process to create an enjoyable experience for customers. Sephora has implemented the “My Beauty Bag” program to allow customers to manage their beauty products and see purchase history. The “My Beauty Bag” program makes it easy and accessible for Sephora customers to add items to their shopping carts, peruse their browsing history, make savings on purchases, and re-order items. Sephora’s rewards program also allows members to use their Beauty Bags on their mobile device, computer, and send digital gifts.

While making in-store purchases, customers can use the Sephora app to complement the brick and mortar shopping experience. Sephora is also changing the in-store experience as well, by introducing the Beauty Tip Workshop. Customers now have the opportunity to access their Beauty Bags, see recommended items and looks, and make purchases based on the items shown in the store. Sephora is expertly using omnichannel to revolutionize the cosmetic shopping experience.


Disney brings omnichannel to the world on tourism and retail. The magic of Disney is brought to multiple channels thanks to their approach. Disney’s process pays attention to even the smallest of details to make a flawless and consistent shopping environment across channels. When booking a trip through Disney’s website or app, customers have access to the My Disney Experience tool to help plan the logistics of the trip. From dining options, to park attractions, to securing passes, the My Disney tool helps customers plan for the entire trip. Once customers get to the amusement park, the Disney mobile app can locate the attractions and performances across the park and gives an estimated waiting time for each attraction and show.

Disney takes the magic even further with the implementation of the Magic Band program. These wristbands not only act as theme park entrance passes, but also act as hotel room keys, Fast Pass check in, food ordering tools, and photo storage devices. These wristbands also include personalized surprises for each band holder. Disney uses omnichannel to make traveling a connected, all-in-one experience.


Omnichannel initiatives like these enable brands to create the ideal customer experience across all channels. Starbucks, Sephora, and Disney approaches are great examples of brand’s solving for the ever-evolving needs of the digital age.