While digital transformation has come upon us all in many aspects of our lives (communication, shopping, work, education…), the ones that for too long have wrongly believed that they could do without the web and digital solutions have been retailers.
For decades, retailers have been able to find and manage their clients, sell their goods, and replenish inventories without using digital tools. But those who renounce digital tools today are condemned to a competitive disadvantage.
In this article, we’d like to focus on a particular digital tool that’s extremely helpful for retailers: clienteling software. We’re exploring clienteling meaning, clienteling strategies, and how a clienteling app can help you bring your retail business to another level.
What is clienteling?
When it comes to retail business, clienteling is the process of using information to create customized shopping experiences by making every interaction with the client more personal.
Clienteling doesn’t focus on new customer acquisition; it rather focuses on making clients come back to the store, enhancing their value, and extending the relationship with them.
In clienteling, relationships are key. Clienteling strategies are aimed at creating a long-lasting relationship between retailer and client until the seller has become a point of reference for the buyer, who receives a VIP treatment, and is more likely to keep on coming to the store.
To create this type of relationship, the seller needs to have customized communication and offers for each buyer, and they can’t do this unless they collect and manage tons of data from their customers, and make this data actionable for the associates and stylists when they interact with the clients.
Clienteling isn’t new to the retail business: it has always been done. Retailers have always understood the importance of creating intimate shopping experiences for their clients, experiences that could impress them emotionally. To achieve this result, you need to know who your clients are, where they come from, their age, what they like, what payment method they prefer… Retailers used to collect this data with a book and pen, first, and – later – with Excel files.
Today, clienteling strategies are based on those same principles but they can use retail clienteling software to make the entire process more efficient.
What is a clienteling program?
Another definition that we must provide before digging deeper into the world of CRM clienteling tools is the one of “clienteling programs”.
While clienteling for retail is a general term that defines a high-touch customer outreach, a clientele program is the specific clientele strategy that you’ve designed within your retail business. Each retailer has its own customized clientele program.
Virtual clienteling tools are meant to help you define and run your clientele program.
What can a clientele platform do for you?
A clienteling software tool is a digital platform that allows you to create customized shopping experiences for your customers in many ways.
One of the most basic things a digital clienteling tool can do for you is collect data about anything: your customers’ information, your sales, your payment methods, and so on…
Other than collecting data, with clienteling platforms it is also easier to retrieve data. When you need to know, for example, if you’re currently selling more men’s or women’s jewelry, with a clienteling app you can retrieve this information with a couple of taps (imagine trying to retrieve this same information manually!)
But clienteling platforms can also:
- put all information that comes from multiple selling channels in one place
- suggest product recommendations for individual customers
- manage and book customer appointments
- send customized text messages, WhatsApp Business messages and emails
- and more…
Why do you need a clienteling platform?
Once you’ve understood that you need a clienteling program, the second most important clienteling tip is that you need a clienteling app to run your strategies. Yes, providing yourself with a clienteling platform is an investment (they don’t come for free and can require a subscription that can go from about $10050 per month to $1000+ per month), but the investment would be completely worth it. Why?
The advantages it can bring to your strategies are highly important:
The process of collecting and retrieving data becomes quicker, less subject to errors, and easier.
- Spot hidden opportunities
When you can collect and organize data precisely, it’s easier to spot hidden opportunities like hidden audiences for a particular item.
- Data organization at any level
Whether you are running a small store or a big retail chain, you need organization: you need to not miss any opportunity of selling, find a new customer, make an old one come back to the shop, reach out to your clients with new offers and deals… You can only achieve this if your data are well-organized.
Using a clienteling virtual tool allows you to be more flexible: whenever the customer needs you – in your retail store or online – you and your associates can be present omnichannel.
Last but not least, when you use clienteling apps and software, you can provide a high-end service consistently through time. Offering a consistent premium shopping experience to your clients, will build trust with your key customers. This is what makes any business successful in the long-term.
All these benefits provide you with an important advantage over your competitors.
Most recommended clienteling app for retailers
Now that you know what clienteling software is and why you should use one, let’s try to understand what is the best clienteling tool for retailers.
What does the best clienteling app look like?
Generally speaking, the best tools are always the ones that are specifically designed for a precise aim. A specific espresso machine makes better espresso than a machine that can also make tea and other 5 types of drinks.
In the same way, a specific clienteling app for retailers can provide customized features for retailers’ specific needs.
Your clienteling app should be aimed at retailers, with specific features that can enhance clienteling in that sector, but it doesn’t mean that all other selling channels have to be cut out.
The line between different selling channels is becoming thinner and thinner: many people check items online before going to the physical store and buying them. Or, on the other hand, they check the item at the store and then buy it a couple of days later from its website.
You need an app that can gather data coming from all the sales channels you use. Furthermore, we’ve discussed how clienteling is also enhancing the customer’s shopping experience. One way of enhancing it, it’s breaking down the barriers between the different sale channels. Make sure the clienteling app you choose is a tool that allows you and your retail business to go in this direction.
It allows payment collection from anywhere
One of the most important omnichannel tools you can have at your disposal is the possibility of collecting payments from anywhere, allowing customers to to check out wherever they are, online or in-store.
Features like “Check out anywhere” not only improve your customers’ experience but also improve the quality of customers’ perception of your business. It is also a way of collecting all payments with one tool which can improve the efficiency of data collection.
It offers data insights
A clienteling app collects tons of data. But data is useless if you don’t have a way of retrieving it in the most efficient way. Your clienteling app should be able to offer data insights, it should let you navigate data easily, retrieve it smoothly and also create reports to share with your colleagues or store.
The top clienteling apps are the ones that allow a certain margin of customization. Not all retailers are the same and have the same needs: being able to customize your clienteling app’s features around your needs can amplify the impact of your clienteling strategies.
Recommended clienteling app for luxury retail: StyleSend
Clienteling apps are becoming more and more popular and that’s why there are a lot of them around. In this article, we’ve discussed why you should invest in a trustworthy clienteling app and how to choose the right clienteling app for your luxury retail stores. In this paragraph, we’d like to go deeper to the point and recommend why StyleSend is the best clienteling app for your store teams.
StyleSend is a clienteling app aimed at a very specific target: luxury retail. If your business operates in this sector, we can assure you that the app comes with all the necessary features your business and your store teams need in order to enhance your customers’ shopping experience.
These are StyleSend’s main features:
- A secret assistant that creates customer segments and nudges a sales associate with client data just when they need it.
- Comprehensive customer journey views that inform you about the client’s previous purchases, store visits and wish lists among other important information.
- No-code integration for small and medium businesses that can get them set up with clienteling in less than 10 minutes via a free Shopify integration.
- In-built Whatsapp chat tab that runs on Whatsapp Business API integration.
StyleSend has premium data collection and insight features: other than performance tracking, it also provides you with important forecast features so that you can make the best data-driven decision when it comes to customer communication, sales, marketing, growth, and more…
StyleSend provides different pricing plans that cater to your needs and budget.
In this article, you’ve learned how, if you run a retail business, you need, first, a clienteling program, and, second, a clienteling app that helps you with it. Designing a clienteling program and providing yourself with a clienteling app is an investment of both time and money but, as we’ve discussed, the benefits you can gain from them are completely worth the investment.
Interested to read more about clienteling? Check out our next article titled “6 Ways to Improve Your Clienteling Strategy”.