Experiences lead to relationships. Enrich your customers’ experiences and bridge the differences between online and real-life with in-store innovation, technology, and emotional connection.

Why Stores Matter So Much To Macy’s In The $65 Billion Battle For Millennials
By Walter Loeb for Forbes

Macy’s is abuzz with some exciting numbers: total sales of $27.9 billion, store sales grew by 2.8%, and earnings rose 19% to $3.86 billion. In the age of mobile and online shopping, CFO Karen Hoguet emphasized the importance of stores on the earnings conference call with investors.

While consumers are aggressively shopping online, stores are still an important part of the transaction. Customers can pick up merchandise ordered online at a nearby Macy’s, or the store fulfills the order and ships it directly to the customer’s home. This omnichannel fulfillment, proven viable in a test late last year, is now offered at most stores. Macy’s is improving the shopping experience by filling orders multiple ways and training every associate to make the in-store experience welcoming and special.

Particularly for millennial customers – who spent around $65 billion on fashion merchandise in 2012. Macy’s has embraced the 13-30 year olds with two new departments: Impulse caters to the older customer and MyStyleLab the younger. In the past year 13 new millennial brands were added and 11 brands were expanded.

Macy’s is thriving by making both on- and off-line shopping experiences enjoyable. Integrating stores into the online shopping cycle allows the retailer to draw customers in-store, where an enhanced experience awaits and possibly leads to more sales.

Half of Canadian Internet users shop online once a month: poll
By Michael Oliveira for Canadian Grocer

It’s important to implement omnichannel strategy soon, internet shopping is growing both in the US and worldwide. Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed in a recent Canadian poll say they shop online at least once a year; 49% do so at least once a month.

Online shoppers aren’t chained to their desktop anymore. One in four surveyed uses a tablet to shop, and almost one-third use a smartphone. Have you made your website responsive yet?

This poll also asked how retailers could improve the in-store experience. Not surprising, almost half of the respondents want easy access to inventory data, for other stores and website inventory as well. Twenty-seven percent want free WiFi with easy log-ins, which speaks to consumers using their mobile devices in-store for research. Another tip for retailers: empower your employees with technology. Consumers are tired of waiting in line – 28% of respondents want associates to be able to process transactions anywhere in the store.

Google Glass App Can Recognize Products and Print Pages
By Michael Sebastian for Ad Age

At the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Blippar, an augmented-reality startup, introduced an app that enables Google Glass to recognize certain images and products, and provide more information about them. This is the first image-recognition app for Google Glass. Unlike Minority Report with pushy ads appearing unasked, users will choose to interact with a product or print ad.

A tiny fraction of the population owns Google Glass and there isn’t currently a Google Glass app store, making the possible adoption rate low. But CEO and co-founder Ambarish Mitra is optimistic.

“No one wants to be reactive anymore or miss out on the next big thing.”

With this new technology his company will be ahead of the pack when Google Glass rolls out broadly – which some expect to happen this year.

For its current mobile phone app, the company has worked with a number of major brands and publishers like Coca-Cola, Heinz, and Time Inc. to extend print pages onto mobile devices. The use of technology to bridge the gap between mobile, online, and in-store is deepening interactions between consumers and companies.

Does a Person Need to Be Physically Present for a Brand Experience to Resonate?
By Matt Eastwood for Ad Week

Brands are defined, in large part, by experiences. Consumers judge brands based on their personal impressions and relationships are formed through memorable ones. With all of the available communication channels, real-time marketing, and social media, it’s on brands now more than ever to create a positive experience. But does that experience require a physical presence? Can a virtual experience still connect emotionally?

Eastwood shares two examples of DDB New York’s efforts for the New York City Ballet: the Faile art series, which was designed for people to be physically present, and the New Beginnings video, a virtual experience.

Eastwood also shares his personal tradition of attending the New York Philharmonic’s season-opening outdoor concert, which he contrasts with listening to the same music in his apartment. Live experiences give us stories to share. But people virtually share videos and pictures that they connect with, and I would argue that connection isn’t any less valid for being virtual.

“There are those who still argue that real-life experiences resonate much deeper with consumers than their virtual counterparts. In his book Spectacle, author David Rockwell writes, ‘The experience of a virtual community pales in the face of the physical experience of a spectacle.”

Yet Eastwood claims it’s only a matter of time before technology disproves Rockwell’s opinion. What do you think?