How to properly attribute sales as an omnichannel brand

As a retail business, it's important to easily track whether sales happen online or in-store. In this article, we cover how to properly attribute your sales and fine-tune your marketing strategy.

A few years ago, my ‘check engine light’ came on. Since car manufacturers are determined to be as vague as possible, I had no idea what was wrong and I didn’t want to take it to a shop without knowing how much it might cost. So after Googling (even Yahoo!ing) and chatting with a mechanic friend, I determined it was a spark plug issue.

It wasn’t. I was out $75 and still had to take it into the shop. I had attributed the issue to the wrong thing and it cost me time and money.

The wrong attribution when it comes to your retail business can end up costing you a whole lot more than $75. Research by Boston Consulting Group and Google found that the brands that leverage their marketing data the best “save up to 30% in costs while generating 20% more revenue.” That’s a lot of money left on the table if your attribution metrics aren’t up to par.

The issue is compounded even more due to Omnichannel Retail strategies that provide multiple marketing and sales touchpoints with the customer both online and in-store. While this strategy is highly effective, it can make it difficult to determine which marketing campaigns were most effective leading up to each customer transaction.

For example, let’s say Emily came into your store and bought a winter coat. It’s possible she just came in, saw it, liked it, and bought it. It’s also possible that Emily saw images and promos for the winter coat on your store’s website, social media, and in an email marketing campaign. That’s great omnichannel marketing, but tough to attribute.

So what can your business do?

How to attribute sales accurately

Today’s retail software platforms can help you track both online and in-store activity, and merge them into a single customer history. By leveraging a CRM like Endear that connects seamlessly with your ecommerce platform (ie. Shopify), your Point-of-Sale system (ie. Heartland/Lightspeed), and other SaaS platforms all the data touchpoints you may have on a customer can be logged and correctly attributed.

Endear app

In fact, one of the newest features of the Endear platform was specifically designed to help solve the attribution problem when stores drive online sales: our Shoppable Stories.


Shoppable Stories are interactive lookbooks that customers can click from anywhere and transact on the product right then and there. These Stories can be sent as an email or SMS text by your marketing or sales team. Not only does this feature increase online conversions, it also eliminates 3rd party data by making the transaction take place on your business’ own website.

When your customer makes a purchase by clicking through a Shoppable Story, the attribution is simple and can be traced back to the store that sent the message, even down to the retail associate if you’d like to make sure that online sales were still included in their commission structure.

As an added benefit, Shoppable Stories work on, and with, your very own data, so you don’t have to rely on 3rd party data for tracking as you would if you used, say, Instagram Stories. With 3rd-party tracking data on tenuous ground with Google and Apple, it’s always better to rely on your own 1st-party data for better and more accurate sales attribution.

Of course, the power of omnichannel retail may be that a Shoppable Story is just the first interaction that eventually leads to an in-store purchase. Your connected CRM can track this as a touchpoint and provide this attribution as one part of the entire puzzle. This is why it’s so important that your business uses a tight-knit integration between all of your in-store and online software platforms.

Further benefits of better attribution

Better attribution of online sales can also help your business determine which of your retail locations may be driving the highest percentage of purchases on your ecommerce platform. By tracing back the marketing efforts of each of your stores, you can determine why certain campaigns were more successful than others, then apply the findings to improve the marketing campaigns across all of your retail locations.

Also, by attributing sales to individual sales associates, commissions can be more accurate. You can also leverage the data to create sales leaderboards to incentivize your sales associates to not only sell in-store, but to sell online as well now that you can track it. This provides more opportunities for commissions for each associate, and more revenue for your business.

Most importantly, accurate attribution unlocks the full potential of your omnichannel retail strategy. Knowing that your CRM can track each touchpoint via email, SMS, social media, and in-store purchases; your team doesn’t have to worry about selling in just one way. Rather, your associates have the freedom to assist your customer throughout their journey and focus more on providing a personal, clienteling experience. Because no matter how the sale happens, you’ll know how it came about.