For the past few days, we’ve been blogging about last week’s Agility Summit to bring a little bit of our annual client gathering and marketing optimization think tank to you.

One of the highlights of the event—technically, three of them—included executives and online strategists from customer-focused brands discussing some of the ways they have been integrating their marketing and commerce efforts across channels to exceed customer expectations and drive loyalty.

To inspire you to make the same commitment to building a better customer experience, here are a few of the blockbuster ideas shared by the omnichannel visionaries at Sheplers, Godiva, and Freshpair.

Sheplers: Even Cowboys Use the Internet to Shop

Dedicated to outfitting customers with authentic western wear and cowboy boots, Sheplers recently overhauled its systems, business practices, and website design to deliver a world-class shopping experience. Based on the findings of usability testing sessions to pre-gauge response to the proposed updates, Sheplers uncovered some important customer preferences that required an omnichannel approach, said Bob Myers, Sheplers’ CEO.

For example, the retailer’s 17 stores primarily are located in the South, Southwest and West. Some visitors make a trip to a Sheplers store part of a vacation, and plenty others have to drive more than a dozen miles to their nearest store. As such, shoppers tend to check the Sheplers website before they plan a store trip.

Keeping this behavior in mind, Myers explained, the retailer makes sure that store visitors never leave disappointed because they can’t find a product. Employees are empowered to do whatever it takes to fulfill the shopper’s objective. If an item is not in-store, the employee can use the store’s wifi to look it up online immediately or call a customer service operator to determine if it’s in the warehouse. Once located, the item is ordered and shipped. The ROI on adding wifi to all stores, Myers said, has been significant.

In addition, the retailer now labels products on the website that are not carried in the stores to help reduce confusion.

Sheplers also fosters a consistent brand across the web, mobile, and retail channels by capturing local and in-store events, like western music concerts and rodeo star meet-and-greets, on mobile and video that store managers share with Sheplers’ social media pages and the corporate website.

The result: Sheplers teams have a better understanding of how each channel impacts the others, helping them work together to grow the company as opposed to defending individual channel territories.

Godiva: Omnichannel Delights Online and In-Store

Godiva created a customer loyalty program that merges the fine chocolate maker’s online and in-store efforts. Godiva’s Chocolate Rewards Club is fully integrated with the company’s website, and it’s driving cross-channel traffic.

Customers shopping at a Godiva store are encouraged to visit the company’s website to sign up for the Chocolate Rewards Program, according to Godiva’s Senior Ecommerce & Online Marketing Manager Kareen Balsam.

Once visitors have completed their Chocolate Rewards registration, they’re eligible for a free piece of chocolate every month when they visit a Godiva store.

The result: Godiva is turning in-store visitors into online leads, and then driving that traffic back to its stores for a free treat, which provides the chocolate-maker with the opportunity to both strengthen its relationship with customers and cross-sell.

Freshpair.com: Creating an In-Store Experience at Home

As a purely online intimate apparel retailer, Freshpair.com has been able to focus much of its efforts on its web presence. But when it comes to some undergarments, being online-only can have a downside. Case in point: Bra fittings. So Freshpair came up with a way to offer an in-store experience to website visitors without asking them to leave their homes.

Freshpair created an At-Home Bra Fitting feature, giving shoppers the chance to talk with a sizing consultant over the phone to figure out what they should order. Then, shoppers are shipped a number of bras to try on in their homes without paying anything up front. Once they choose the bras they want, they can return the rest and pay only for what they decide to keep.

The result: Freshpair.com visitors receive the one-on-one service of the in-store environment along with the benefits of shopping online from the convenience of their homes.

Join us in 2013

Thanks to everyone who came to Philadelphia for this year’s Agility Summit—we loved hosting you! And for those of you who couldn’t make it, we hope to see you next time around. We’ll be announcing the dates for next year’s event soon, so be sure to check the Agility Summit website for the announcement.