For REI, digital does more than help customers find what they want; it keeps them connected to the local store experience that's at the heart of the brand. "It's a smaller and smaller group that shops only in the store or only online," says REI's Annie Zipfel. Here, Zipfel describes how online information actually strengthens the brand's partnership with its customers.

We love when someone comes into the store holding their phone saying, ‘I want this tent; I want this bike. Help me find this.

Annie Zipfel, SVP of Marketing