Are you looking to improve your clienteling strategy? If so, look no further. In this blog post, we will discuss six different ways that you can use to improve your clienteling strategy. Read on to learn more.
What is clienteling and why do retailers need a clienteling strategy?
You might also want to check out this recent article by our experts, titled: What is clienteling? And why is it trending in the retail world?
Clienteling is a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy that uses technology to track and monitor customer data, allowing retailers to better understand, engage, and serve their customers across any channel – in-store or online. Through the use of technology, clienteling enables retailers to capture real-time information on customer interactions. This information is then used to personalize services and tailor the marketing communications that are sent to customers, whether through an automated system or via a personal store associate.
This information or data captured can include detailed customer profiles, purchase history, preferred products or services, favorite brands, preferred mode of communication etc. The goal of clienteling is to improve the omnichannel customer experience by providing targeted interactions.
Retailers who use clienteling will agree that it helps them to better understand their most important customers, build stronger relationships with them, and provide more personalized sales and service. Ultimately, this strategy improves customer loyalty, increases repeat purchases and uplifts revenue.
In addition to helping retailers gain insights into their customers’ preferences and behaviors, clienteling significantly impacts the way in-store sales associates interact with their most important customers. By providing instant access to 360° customer profiles and recommendation suggestions through an easy-to-use mobile clienteling app, sales associates can better understand the wants of each customer and provide personalized styling, advice and service.
Additionally, clienteling can at times be used as a tool for retail store optimization, helping businesses make decisions about product selection, placement, and promotion. Through the analysis of the data from their clienteling tool, retailers can gain insights into trends as well as customers’ buying habits and preferences, helping them make better buying and merchandising decisions for their business.
It is important for any luxury business that deals directly with clients to have a comprehensive clienteling strategy.
Pillars of Clienteling
Clienteling is all about creating a personalized shopping experience for each customer that comes in contact with your store. By utilizing the latest clienteling apps and software you can ensure your store associates are empowered to offer personalized recommendations, service and maybe even discounts, to individual customers. This helps to build loyalty among your customers as they feel more valued and appreciated.
As customer data is gathered through various channels such as in-store, online and mobile, it’s important to use this data in the best way. A customer database that collects customer preferences, likes and dislikes etc. can be used to tailor products, services and promotions specifically for individual clients. You can use this data to help stylists and store associates make informed decisions when communicating one-to-one with clients, by showing them visual customer profiles and giving them nudges about important upcoming dates such as birthdays or loyalty points expiry.
The customer experience should be consistent and seamless across all channels, including in-store, online (website) and on mobile (iOS or Android app). A successful clienteling program needs to have the ability to ensure that when associates communicate with customers on any of the multiple channels possible, they can offer their customers an integrated shopping experience that is consistently high quality, personal and convenient.
Having a knowledgeable and friendly team of associates is essential to providing a great customer experience. Providing an exceptional level of service requires associates to be well-informed, patient and courteous when dealing with customers.
Easy-to-use Mobile App for Store Associates
If the UI and UX of your clienteling app is not straightforward then getting stylists and associates to use the app is an extremely challenging and expensive task. It sounds obvious but the clienteling app and web interface should be intuitive to use so that the learning curve is not too steep. On a slightly different yet related note, any clienteling tool that you use for your retail business, should be high performance, secure and offer zero downtime.
It is hard to argue against the point that clienteling is an essential aspect of any successful retail operation today. By utilizing the latest technology to create personalized experiences for key customers and thereby rewarding their loyalty, you can ensure a strong and long-lasting bond with them.
Top 6 Ways to Improve Your Clienteling Strategy
While it is clear what clienteling is, a well thought out clienteling strategy involves building meaningful relationships with key customers and then leveraging those relationships to drive repeat sales from these key customers. Remember, the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule holds true even for retail and more so with luxury retail – the top 20% of customers will drive 80% of sales or profits.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to executing a clienteling strategy. To be successful, companies must continuously optimize their plans to stay ahead of the competition. Here are six ways to improve your clienteling strategy:
Focus on Improving Customer Experience (CX)
While increasing sales is important as an end goal it is equally important to be careful that associates who are in touch with VIP customers do not overdo their outreach and tend towards borderline spam. At times, guiding the associates is important as to what an ideal amount of contact would look like.When implementing any new program, you need to keep in mind that it may result in changes for both, the associates, as well as the Clients they interact with. Both these sets of stakeholders will now deal with new ways of interaction and (possibly) on a new platform. It is essential to keep everybody informed about these changes and continuously take feedback.By taking the time to invest in a clienteling strategy that focuses on the customer experience, you can create a loyal customer base that keeps coming back for more.
Use Data-Driven Decision Making
Data-driven decision-making (DDDM) is a powerful tool to improve clienteling strategies. By using data and analytics, retailers like yourself can identify customer behavior patterns. Understanding these patterns at an individual level can help you make more informed decisions about your customer interactions.For example, a retailer may notice that a particular type of customer always purchases the same brand of winter boots in the first half of November. Using this insight, the personal associate who manages this relationship, could get in touch proactively at the end of October and recommend a couple of new season boots they may like. Think about how happy the customer would feel if it were done right.Ultimately, data-driven decision-making is a great way to optimize clienteling strategies and build strong relationships with customers.
Invest in Technology
Technology has revolutionized the way businesses operate today. By leveraging technology, retail and hospitality businesses (since both industries involve a high level of service and luxury) can improve clienteling strategies to boost customer engagement, loyalty and sales. Technology makes any process more efficient, especially those that require a lot of memorization or parsing through tons of data (think: clienteling). Using a digital AI-powered clienteling tool is essential to executing any clienteling strategy in today’s omnichannel world.A good clienteling solution acts as a secret assistant for every retail associate and/or retail store owner by helping them with important information at the right and most opportune times of client interaction. Segmenting customers with the right filters (say “not shopped in the last 30 days” or “customers of Prada AND Tom Ford”) and then allowing you to message them personally, is made possible through the right integrations today.Do not compromise on investing in the right technology for your store associates as the loss of not doing so is often much higher.
Setting goals is a key part of any successful clienteling strategy. Goals provide the focus and accountability necessary to ensure that your efforts are in line with your desired outcomes. Goals also help you measure progress and adjust your strategy as needed. By setting measurable, achievable goals for your clienteling strategy, you can identify areas where improvements are needed and develop solutions accordingly.For example, a good goal to set might be to “increase repeat purchases from key VIP customers by 5% in the next quarter”. This gives you a tangible target to work towards and measure your success while adjusting your strategies as needed.Another benefit of setting goals for your clienteling strategy is that it helps to motivate and engage not only team mates in the store but also management teams in the head office. By providing clear targets that can be easily tracked and viewed on the mobile clienteling app, you can ensure that everyone on the store team is focused on achieving the same outcomes. You can also gamify the customer outreach for store associates by offering rewards and recognition when these goals are achieved, which can further motivate team members to strive for success.
Get the Store Teams to Buy-in
However good a clienteling strategy might be, it’s success depends on the final person who is the ‘warrior in the arena’. In our case, the warrior is the store associate or a personal stylist (or they may have a different designation depending on your business, you get the point!). In-store teams, store associates, small business owners, all of the above, are forced to use new technologies and new apps and not all of these solutions turn out to be a success, and understandably so. This leads to a hindrance among them to take up newer apps.As business owners or senior executives at large luxury retailers, it’s important we acknowledge this reality and are empathetic towards store teams when asking them to start using a new technology. While using financial incentives is not very good behavior, at times you may have to resort to such short term tactics to boost the uptake of any clienteling solution or new software. Though ultimately the user’s interest will remain only if the app is easy to use and provides value for the individual to keep coming back and using it.The measurement of value derived from the perspective of the individual may not be the same as the measurement from the perspective of the boss/owner/headquarters so it is important that goals are aligned for everyone. Value received for a store team member may be a measure of the amount of commission that they earned from incremental sales that they could generate using the new clienteling tool. It is important to recognize this and help associates make the most of a new app, which will bring us to our next point.
Train your Teams
Prioritizing training is an essential component of rolling out any new tool for your business. Training helps ensure that teams are knowledgeable and prepared to make the most of their new tool. How would you feel if your neighbor bought a Roomba without knowing it could clean without any human supervision? Don’t be that guy.When picking a clienteling tool for your business, do ask about the onboarding and training that will be provided. Make internal video recordings or create documents that can be used by new store associates to get trained on the clienteling app.A clear and focused training program will help ensure consistency among all team members. When personnel are well-trained, it can result in improved customer experience, loyalty, higher sales, more referrals, and the list can go on.
Benefits Of Clienteling and Conclusion
If you haven’t yet, you may want to read this article titled “How to Increase Sales with Clienteling”
Clienteling is the art of forming a strong personal relationship with each customer. When store associates engage with customers across channels, through individually targeted remote messaging and curated in-store experiences, it helps retailers, especially luxury lifestyle retailers, in the following ways:
Generating Repeat Sale From Key Clients
Clienteling helps your business stay top of mind for customers, who are more likely to make repeat purchases if they feel understood, appreciated and valued.
Increasing Sale by Upselling
Knowing your customers’ preferences and past purchases allow you to strategically upsell items but only when it makes sense for them.
Stronger, More Loyal Relationships
Ultimately, clienteling helps build meaningful long term relationships between key customers and your business. As customers feel more connected to your store, they’re more likely to be loyal and also recommend you to their friends.
In conclusion, having a sound clienteling strategy is essential for any retail and luxury business that wants to succeed in today’s hyper personalized world.
If you want to learn more about how to improve your clienteling strategy, you can schedule a demo with the StyleSend team to learn more about our comprehensive suite of clienteling services and tools that can take your customer relationships to the next level and increase the chances that your business sees continued success for years to come.
In case you want to read more about clienteling at the moment, you will find our previous post on “Why Investing in a Clienteling App is Worth it for Your Retail Business” extremely relevant.
Images used are from Unsplash – we love you!