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What Is Clienteling and Why Is It Important?

by Sam Osbourne

Clienteling keeps customers coming back, back and back again. Read on to find out what clienteling is and why this emerging retail trend is taking the world by storm.

What is clienteling? 

Clienteling is an emerging retail strategy that store associates are using to build meaningful, lasting and personalized relationships with customers. 

Store associates rely upon a Clienteling Software to learn about each customer’s product preferences, previous purchases and much more. By displaying important data in one place, clienteling tools essentially helps store teams to know their customers better and enhance the 1:1 service experience. 

What is virtual clienteling?

Virtual clienteling (also known as digital clienteling) is a type of clienteling that occurs via a digital platform. It covers everything from tailored customer SMS and emails to live video shopping. 

This type of clienteling is particularly important because it can transform the traditionally impersonal online shopping experience. With the right omnichannel clienteling software, your store teams can recognize online customers and connect with them over video chat. 

 

Why is clienteling important in retail? 

Clienteling strategies in retail are important not only because they enhance the customer experience, but because they encourage return customers. In turn, this drives profitability. 

For many businesses, the Pareto Principle holds true–80% of their sales come from 20% of customers who return again and again. Repeat customers are a key revenue driver for retailers. That’s  why it’s crucial brand leaders aim to turn one-time customers into lasting brand advocates. 

Clienteling is the emerging and successful Retail Choreography strategy that store teams are using to do this and know their customers better. With data about the customer at hand, associates can go beyond the hum-drum of typical shopper-store associate interactions and create genuine connections with customers. 

How does clienteling work?

Clienteling relies on data. After all, store associates aren’t telepathic–to greet and recognize customers, they need access to information about their name, reason for visiting and so on.  

For that, your store associates need to be using a Retail Choreography Software that’s integrated with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Without one, there’s simply no way your store associates will be able to manually collect data on the level required.

Leading Clienteling Platforms like Qudini, Tulip and Clientela use in-store apps which your teams can seamlessly use to learn about upcoming customers and seamlessly manage their experience.  

 

How is clienteling different from customer service?

The key difference between the clienteling experience and customer service comes down to the level of service personalization. 

Essentially, customer service depends on a single interaction and the store associate only has the information the customer discloses there and then to tailor service. 

By contrast, with in-store or virtual clienteling tools, the store associate has the customer’s entire history of store visits at their fingertips. This helps them go above and beyond to deliver a far more personalized experience. 

Ultimately, clienteling creates stronger customer relationships and leads to conversion at a much higher rate than the typical customer service process. 

 

Clienteling examples

Three retailers in particular are leading the way when it comes to clienteling: 

Taobao

Online shopping platform Taobao has been leading the way in retail clienteling in China for a number of years. Retailers on Taobao use in-store and virtual appointments, Live Shop and virtual try-on technology to create a unique and personalized online shopping experience. 

Bonobos

Founded in 2011, Bonobos has appeared in the news multiple times because of their revolutionary “guideshops”. When customers visit Bonobos’ guideshops, they receive the ultimate clienteling experience from a Guide who gives them end-to-end style and sizing advice before delivering stock straight to their home. 

However, what really set Bonobos apart was that they used a Clienteling software fully integrated with functionalities to manage stock, purchase history, online and in-store purchases and much more. This enabled them to pioneer the way for digital clienteling. 

Dormify

Dormify’s clienteling strategy begins as soon as college students visit their website and fill out a style quiz. Dormify then sends each customer unique design recommendations and personalized marketing content. As if that wasn’t enough, Dormify also lets customers book consultations in-store or via video chat. 

 

What are the benefits of clienteling?

The key clienteling benefit for businesses is that it leads to a much better customer experience.

In turn, this leads to several other benefits, including:

Cartoon of a store assistant pulling up a customer's profile on a clienteling software

Learn more about our Clienteling Software

Get in touch if you’d like to find out about Qudini’s leading clienteling platform, extensive capabilities and latest CRM integrations. 

 

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Peak season is just around the corner!

Have you thought about how you’re going to manage peak season traffic this winter?

New best practice guide

Our new best practice guide explains how Appointment Booking Landing pages will drive traffic to your in-store and virtual appointment services.

Latest consumer survey report

Our latest consumer survey report shows which types of retail stores and banks customers want to be able to schedule appointments within…

Recent consumer survey report

Our recent consumer survey report shows how the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits and which habits will be here to stay…

Upcoming Webinar

Our Upcoming Webinar will present consumer insights on how the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits. Sign-up below for Tuesday October 12th (2pm ET | 11am PT).