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2018 is the year that retailers will make investments that reflect the outsized role that brick and mortar stores play on the online channel. A recent Forbes article lays out the new reality for retail in its conclusion that, “The role of the store is changing. Forever. Brick and mortar locations must complement digital channels. And, in turn, digital must add value to the physical experience.”

Given the new age of retail and the evolving role of brick and mortar, the question is where retailers are able to secure big wins and deliver on shoppers’ expectations.

The ubiquitous store locator is a property of emerging importance, and a growing focus of innovation for retailers looking to secure these wins. (And really, who isn’t?) This is especially relevant as customers expect a ‘store-centric online experience,’ which we define as any point of online engagement that translates the store experience to consumer’s devices. These kind of unified commerce initiatives are sure to be driven faster by Amazon’s big and bold moves into physical retailing, in which it leverages stores to digitally connect with customers.

The problem is, for all its ubiquity, store locators do nothing to augment the ecommerce experience. The old perception is that there is no ROI in innovating here. For most brands it sits as digital dead-space, neither effective for driving store traffic nor accretive to ecommerce.

But the tide is starting to turn, as some forward-thinking retailers, like Guess, are realizing that the store locator can be a source of revenue and innovation. And here’s why:

Customers that do visit the store locator page are showing local intent and are more likely to make a store visit. Location-based services at the search level can capture a shopper’s attention, but consumers are left wanting more as they dive deeper to gather more information. There are no current efforts to streamline conversion or create an environment where customers can pre-shop the store before their visit or any other relevant call to action.

Changing the strategy for store locator presents a net-new revenue opportunity that is not competitive to other areas of the site, but rather accretive to both store and ecommerce revenues while delivering pre-shopping experiences consumers expect.

As retail’s “new normal” age blossoms, innovators will be greatly rewarded while those who do not will quickly fall by the wayside. Even the nomenclature “Store Locator” will undoubtedly evolve as this page becomes more focused on “Shop Local.”

As we redefine the role of brick and mortar stores in complementing and enhancing the online experience the question is “Is your store locator shoppable?”

Check out the Salesforce Commerce Cloud demo to see how this cloud commerce solution gives retailers the power to quickly deliver unified, intelligence-driven experiences across all channels, on any device.