Today, more than eighty percent of shoppers start their buying journeys in a digital channel. But that doesn’t mean marketers shouldn’t prioritize physical channels, especially when 80% or more purchases still occur in the store.  Leading brands like Warby Parker and Room & Board have observed increase in sales in regions with a store presence.

The power of the store channel, combined with advances in technology, represent a tremendous opportunity for retail marketers to drive better connections with customers. Three specific technologies come to mind: beacons, clienteling and digital receipts. Each can play a particular role in helping marketers meet or exceed their business objectives, whether it’s driving more footfalls, increased conversions or higher transaction rates.

1. Drive Store Purchases with Beacons

One way retailers have begun driving store visits and improving the overall store experience is with web beacons. These are small unobtrusive objects set up within the store that can not only help measure foot traffic but can also be used to drive store visits and in store purchases. While this technology and its usage is still relatively new, retailers have found success in pushing notifications to customers who walk into the store for certain promotions or sweepstakes. Similarly, retailers like American Eagle Outfitters have used applications like ShopKick to incent store visits with points and rewards. Ensuring you are using as much data about the customer as possible to make the experience as close to 1:1 is key. Where in the store is the customer, what sales may be going on, what time of year (is it a holiday? Is it close to the customer’s birthday?), what have they browsed in the app notifications are being pushed to or what has the customer purchased in the past? All of this data can be used to help the connected shopper gain more out of their shopping experience.

2. Drive Conversions and Upsell with Clienteling

Over the holiday season, 77% of consumers reported their intention to stay away from stores and instead conduct their shopping activities on digital channels. The impact of modern shoppers flocking to digital channels is showing -- brick-and-mortar store locations are shutting at a rapid pace.

But stores have a distinct advantage over digital channels -- the employee. Retail marketers need to harness this highly valuable asset using retail technologies, like clienteling applications.  Clienteling is a technique used by store reps to establish long-term relationships with key customers based on data and preferences, behaviors and purchases. Clienteling solutions, delivered on iPads or other mobile devices, can replace paper books store associates have typically used to help keep track of a customer’s likes, dislikes and purchase habits. These applications also give way to better and more efficient communications with customers. They help store representatives, and retailers, give a personal touch to client outreach with immersive, personalized experiences that shoppers love.

These applications also pose an incredible opportunity for the brand marketer to connect with the consumer in a personalized way. Not only do these applications offer the store associate shopper insights, often in the form of a 360-degree view of the shopper across all engagement channels, but they provide a medium by which to serve up suggested products to the associate to increase conversion or upsells.

Clienteling also offers marketers the ability to leverage store associates as a marketing channel. Many of these applications support capabilities for store associates to deliver branded digital communications to support personalized communications or deliver the next best offer.

Examples of these messages might be around designs that are new to the store that the customer might like, a recent sale to an item they might have previously viewed or even items back in stock.  This is following the lead of many online retailers like who readily trigger emails to their subscribers when new items from customer’s favorite designers are in, or when items they’ve liked are now on sale. This form of intelligent, personalized communications have huge immediate benefits including higher opens, clicks and transaction rates and longer term benefits like better deliverability to the inbox based on higher customer engagement. And when companies connect data across channels, online and in store for example, the connected data at the store’s fingertips is invaluable to be able to better solicit and serve clients ongoing. This falls in line with the connected shopper’s expectations of a seamless communication experience across channels.

3. Drive Return Visits with Digital Receipts

According to recent research from Salesforce, revenue growth is a marketer’s highest measure of success. And although email is arguably the brand marketer’s digital workhorse, the ability for marketers to send emails that consistently deliver results can be challenging.

Enter predictive intelligence and the digital receipt. Today, retail marketers have the opportunity to deliver emails that double the open rates of traditional emails -- in the form of digital receipts. According to email deliverability and optimization vendor ReturnPath, digital receipts have higher open rates than typical promotional emails, to the tune of  33.7% versus 16.2%.

Digital receipts offer retail marketers another medium to execute their marketing objectives, whether driving promotional email opt-ins or return visits with discounts. Or, even more effective, retail marketers can implement artificial intelligence (AI) to drive personalized product recommendations on every digital receipt.

Transform the Store into a Modern Marketing Channel

The store has never been more important, especially to a retail marketer. Digital channels are table stakes, but the connected retail experience, inclusive of physical channels, such as stores, are the battlefield. Therefore, marketers must make their mark on the store shopping experience and approach every interaction in the store from employees to digital receipts, as an opportunity to meet their marketing goals, whether it’s increasing email open rates or driving increase transaction sizes.

Empowered with new technologies, retail professionals have the opportunity to embrace tools to connect with shoppers in a whole new way. Learn how brands can deliver a connected shopping experience with Salesforce today or watch the demo now.