Clienteling: the future of in-store experience

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4 min read

Customer loyalty is key for long-term business success, especially during times that increase customer churn (for example because of price increases, poor customer services or competitive offers). Loyalty is built upon strong relationships and as we all know, the best relationships can grow out of getting to know each other.

Enter "clienteling", a method used in retail sales which creates long-term relationships with customers based on their historical data as well as data from similar customers.

Content: 

  1. What does clienteling mean?
  2. Clienteling Software
  3. Clienteling advantages

What does clienteling mean?

Originally, clienteling meant "catering to clients" which seems like nothing new in the environment of customer relationship management.

However, aside from this rather broad description, clienteling usually includes specific techniques and tools to gain more insights from the customer (behavior, preferences, needs, etc.) as well as use this data to optimize their experience thus strengthening the relationship. More often than not, clienteling software is used in-store to provide the sales rep or store assistant with the right information as well as helpful content (e.g., questionnaires) for a guided and highly personalized consultation.

This way, the shopping visit turns into a real experience with expert advice which makes clienteling perfect for high-prized product lines such as make-up, clothing, or even jewelry.

Salesforce defines clienteling as

"Processes or tools used to promote customer satisfaction through the personalization of the shopping experience."

Basically, clienteling takes personalization to another level by leveraging data, artificial intelligence, and automation for more relevance and individual communication on the customer journey.

Salesforce cites that clienteling can increase data collection rates by 300% and retention rates by up to 200%, especially for the most loyal customers that usually make up the majority of sales.

Clienteling also combines both the digital and analog shopping experience and helps to collect data from stationary shops by keeping track of purchases and buying behavior (frequency, types of products, average spent, etc.). In fact, since the majority of modern consumers use their smartphones in-store to check up on prices and product details, clienteling supports this behavior. Customers don't have to do the research by themselves but instead are supported by the sales reps and store assistants who can give much more detailed information with specific retail apps.

Clienteling Software

Back to overview

Clienteling software is often used synonymously with clienteling as a term and is usually specialized to connect with different platforms (commerce, CRM, marketing automation, etc.) to collect and process customer data and provide insights to the customers' behavior (return rates, purchase frequency, purchase amount, engagement, product preferences, shop preferences (online or stationary), etc.).

In most cases, clienteling software can be used app-based on a mobile device (usually a tablet or smartphone) and acts as an information sheet for the sales rep in-store. Smartphones have the additional advantage that they make 1:1 communication (via chat, phone or text message) easier.

Example

A consumer enters the shop and the app identifies the consumer and pulls up their purchase history. Via artificial intelligence (e.g., predictions), the app can recommend products that are most likely to fit the consumer's tastes and needs. Additionally, the app can generate the best offers via vouchers, loyalty programs or current sales, to provide incentives and increase transaction sizes.

The sales rep can guide the customer along their shopping journey by using data on the customers' behavior, reference historical data (such as past purchases or requirements) and recommend perfectly fitting products.

In one of DIGITALL's clienteling projects, we developed a clienteling app that could lead the customer through a questionnaire about their beauty routines and skin care to generate the perfect make-up and care products for their specific skin type and daily routines. In addition, the app supports the management of appointments for beauty treatments and campaign implementation, contains a comprehensive product catalog, maps the entire customer history and includes a dashboard for the sales reps.

Clienteling advantages

Back to overview

Sales

  • Individualized experiences can shape customer behavior positively
  • Transaction frequencies and sizes increase
  • More transparency on customer data but also results, so the sales team as well as individual sales reps can view their own results and optimize if necessary
  • Automation and AI decreases the amount of manual work when it comes to researching customer data
  • Automation also reduces complexity by offering easy-to-use recommendation systems and reports
  • Connected with ERP and other systems, clienteling can help sell surplus stock by recommending it to the customers most likely to purchase (even without any discounts)

Customers

  • An individual and relevant customer experience across all channels
  • Products, campaigns, and discounts actually fit the customer's tastes and needs
  • Communication is aimed at the customer's behavior and needs, thus feels more personal
  • Due to personalized recommendations, customers see sales reps as well as the sales communication as valuable and look forward to it
  • Decrease in returns
  • Connected with marketing & commerce platforms, even the shop filter and ads can be personalized, increasing the engagement rate
  • Since the sales rep has all the necessary information, deals, and details, customers save time finding the right product.
  • Personalized recommendations, special offers, and individual surveys decrease the amount of "buyer's regret" and returns.

Salesforce offers the right tools and platforms to introduce clienteling to your shopping environment. The intuitive interface enables your staff to consult customers highly individualized and easy connections to other systems as well as the use of artificial intelligence create recommendations and information based on your customers' entire purchase history.

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by Dorothea Rösch

Dorothea Rösch has been a Business Consultant and Analyst at DIGITALL since September 2021 and is involved in Customer Experience (CX). Currently, she is involved in the development of a clienteling app to enable a personalized experience between sales consultants and premium customers.

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