Clienteling and the age of personalised retail

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Clienteling in Retail

What is clienteling in retail?

While the act of clienteling in luxury retail is nothing new, clienteling in retail is now often discussed in a much broader sense. As expectations continue to shift, the ability to maintain relations with a customer base may only continue to get more complicated. With that in mind, it might be worth answering the question: what is clienteling in retail?

Simply put, “clienteling” refers to the act of building a relationship with customers based on purchase patterns and loyalty. The concept is not a new one but the changing landscape is pushing it to the forefront and reminding business owners of its importance.

Clienteling has roots in being the de facto process of salespeople. It is an important part of the sales process. By forming a relationship with a customer, the salesperson can gain their business and their loyalty. The difference between then and now is that this concept is being broadened to include everyone who faces the customer.

Clienteling is as important of a part of the job for the employee at the register as it is for the one behind the desk. There are a lot of different reasons for this but it is accelerating due to the pandemic and the increasingly digital age.

As the expectations begin to grow for retailers, many may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to capture the opportunity. Luckily, there are a great number of tools and apps developed in the pursuit of clienteling. Below is some information on valuable tools, their importance, and the best practices for using them.

Clienteling tools

Information has always been valuable in the world of retail. Sales people of the past would record information on their clients via pen and paper. Making information more accessible by all members of the team extends personalization into everyday interactions.

As a result, clienteling is changing from something reserved only for large clients. Solutions in clienteling are resulting in the ability to personalize experiences for all clients by all team members. Businesses of all sizes can do this through any number of clienteling apps.

Tracking customer spending habits and preferences are just the beginning of what these clienteling solutions can accomplish. As the interest in a personalized relationship with customers grows, so will the number of tools available to meet the need.

Many of these clienteling tools are available on a cloud network allowing them to be accessible from anywhere. Some of the forms these tools take are in the following:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Customer Data Platform (CDM)
  • Loyalty Programs
  • The collection of data through cookies
  • Collected data from in-person interactions

Many tools combine multiple elements from the above into a comprehensive platform.  Businesses can forge a more personal relationship between the brand and the customer through these tools. Doing this helps in building brand loyalty and enthusiasm.

Retail clienteling examples

Different companies will have different needs when it comes to managing their customer data. No solution is going to fit the needs of every business. Here are some retail clienteling examples that showcase other companies that have implemented this.

As one concrete example, adding surveys that are sent out after a customer completes a sale would yield $560k in profit and priceless insight. Utilizing Lexer’s Secure Form Builder grants the ability to track customer satisfaction. Additionally, it increases personalization and grants a deeper understanding of current customers.

There is also Brand Collective, the apparel group with brands like Clarks, Hush Puppies, and Superdry. Using the CDP at Lexer, Brand Collective has gained the ability to gain additional customer insights for their campaigns. Brand Collective’s customer acquisition rates have doubled along with a 5x increase in revenue from paid channels.

These are two examples that could illustrate the benefits of retail clienteling. While every plan is unique, they all share the common goal of strengthening relationships with their customers. Customers are more likely to be loyal to brands with which they have formed a meaningful connection.

Clienteling benefits

The main answer to the question “why is clienteling important,” is that it increases sales. Clienteling benefits business owners and their customers alike. Through personalization, brands can connect with their base in a way that has never before been possible.

In addition to increased profitability, clients who feel that relationship with your company will tell their friends and family members about it. That type of brand evangelism cannot have a price put upon it. Clienteling benefits don’t end at your client. Rather, they extend to each person that is enthusiastically told about your business.

Clienteling your customer base also gives a much better opportunity for upselling. Insight gives a greater ability to reach out after the sale with other offers as you are aware of what each customer wants. Sending out a single email to all your clients ignores the individuality they all have.

Finally, clienteling is important because it increases repeat business. Nothing is more valuable than the customer that returns, unprompted. Repeat business is always going to be more valuable than new business as it doesn’t require any additional effort. When you show your customers that they’re important to you, you will also be gaining their loyalty.

While customers can enjoy a business, they’ll love a brand that they connect and have a relationship with. Providing that will set your company apart from those who do not.

Clienteling strategies

Clienteling strategies may evolve as the retail landscape also changes shape. In any case, employing clienteling practices can ensure that you are meeting the needs of your customers. Of course, a compelling question to ask might be: what are some of the clienteling strategies that get used in building meaningful relationships?

Increasing online interactions is one way. Offering a secure form or a way to speak directly with somebody on your team is a great way to accomplish this. The more that you are speaking with your customers, the more likely they are to purchase from you. Additionally, if your customers have an issue, resolving it right away is essential to fostering the relationship.

Events and appointments could also be an effective strategy for increasing the communication you have with your clientele. In-person and virtual meetings could go a long way in fostering a relationship with your clients. It also allows the company to personify itself, as opposed to seeming like a faceless organization.

Finally, it may help to personalize whenever possible. An email sent to a million people is unlikely to come off as personal and instead may seem cold and overly corporate. It could go a long way in securing return business if you take the time to tailor your marketing efforts to your customers in particular.

Clienteling skills

Clienteling best practices may entail a number of important strategies. For one, it is often important to remember the personhood of the customer with whom you are speaking. As the day goes on and the conversations we have can often become formulaic and rigid. Individualizing your message will always help towards the goal of clienteling.

One of the main clienteling training is always calling customers by their names. It may feel awkward to switch into saying a person’s name, but it reminds them that they are important to the company. This highlights the importance of a speedy database of information one click away.

Research is another of the clienteling skills vital to success. The more that is already known going into a conversation, the better the foundation for the call. Researching is just half of this though. Large teams have to have a way to ensure that all that information is accessible. Otherwise, you will have to repeat the research, taking up unnecessary time and resources.

This brings us to our final point, collaboration. Clienteling is a team effort and any member of your staff must be able to carry out the duties thereof. In the past, salespeople were the only ones who focused on clienteling. If anyone needed anything, they’d go through that specific person.

Now, anyone is able to treat your clients with the familiarity they deserve.

Retail clienteling software

While some sign up for a CRM and call it a day, there’s much more to clienteling than a CRM. When looking at clienteling vs CRM, the main difference is depth. Retail clienteling software can capture more information and use it in an all-encompassing platform. CRMs will often require integration into other platforms that usually use the data.

There are a myriad of different applications and software solutions for retail clienteling. The main problem that people run into with these is that they aren’t often made for brands and retailers. There is only one CDP built specifically for these.

Lexer provides an end-to-end retail CDP solution. Capture in-depth data on your customers, target those customers based on that data and forge personal bonds with them — all from one solution. Utilizing Lexer’s clienteling software allows companies to leverage their own customer’s data. This represents an exciting time for the retailers who capitalize on the opportunity.

Click here to learn the top 15 reasons customers choose Lexer as their preferred CDP partner and vendor.

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