The online ad industry is inching closer toward a longstanding goal: helping retailers determine how online ads drive sales at their physical stores. Retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Williams Sonoma are increasingly using data about their customers to track their “path to purchase” from Web to store, thanks to new ad tech startups and programs launched by Facebook and others.
Proving that online ads boost brick-and-mortar sales has long been a barrier to ad dollars shifting online even as consumers spend more of their time there. More than 90 percent of U.S. retail sales still occur in stores.
But tech companies continue to take their crack at ways to prove a link between online ads and offline sales.