Like swimsuits marked 70% off in October, third-quarter retail sales were a little short when it came to physical presence, yet long in revealing the problem spots for major retailers. Among those spots are online sales, which will evidently play a larger role in determining how well retailers perform through the holidays. The earnings reports of several major merchants showed that even when beating Wall Street estimates, brick-and-mortar stores are seeing declines due to online competition. Wal-Mart, Nordstrom, Target and Macy’s are among the chains that reported their online sales outperformed receipts at brick-and-mortar stores. While the total sum of online sales may be small compared with in-store revenue for many retailers, the consistent difference in numbers spells out a trend. And canny retailers are taking advantage of the online attention, using their digital showrooms as portals to the store. Here are four ways retailers are using or can use their online presence to direct shoppers into their stores. See them at Forbes.