Debunking Clienteling Myths: Unveiling Retail's Biggest Game-Changer

Clienteling has a bad reputation and we're here to change that. Learn how this universal retail strategy elevates loyalty and drives growth for brands of all sizes.

Debunking Clienteling Myths: Unveiling Retail's Game-Changer

Written by

Robert Woo, Writer @ Endear


It’s time we bust some myths about clienteling.

As a boutique approach to customer relationship management, clienteling is often misunderstood in the retail industry. Despite its proven potential for driving sales and customer engagement, it’s frequently confused with just “good customer service.”

Wrong. Customer service alone can’t show the ROI that comes from clienteling, nor the customer retention rates, nor the 300% increase in customer data collection that can be leveraged for future sales. Endear’s own users report an average return of 64X the cost of our subscription. You simply can’t get this level of success just from customer service.

And yet, we still hear the grumbles that clienteling isn’t worth it (we may or may not have a Google Alert set for “clienteling” keywords). Let’s address the top three complaints we’ve seen recently:

  • It’s too expensive to deploy
  • It can’t scale
  • It’s only for luxury brands

In our humble opinion, these beliefs are misguided. Clienteling can be a game-changer for businesses of all sizes and niches when implemented effectively. Let’s tackle these one by one.

Clienteling is too expensive, it can't scale, and it's only for luxury brands, right? Wrong.

Myth #1: It's too expensive to do clienteling correctly.

Clienteling's foremost deterrent for many businesses is the presumption that it is prohibitively expensive. Let’s dispel that right away: the cost of an Endear subscription for our average customer can be as low as $270/month. Don’t believe us? Find out for yourself.

But tangible pricing aside, the truth is that the cost of clienteling is an investment, and one that has been proven to pay off in the not-so-long run. Typically, clients start seeing positive ROI almost immediately after implementation, with an average lift of conversions, total sales, and order value after just a few months.

While traditional marketing methods like blanket advertising can drain resources without always delivering a good return on investment, clienteling focuses on fostering personal relationships with your customers, which leads to improved retention rates and increased lifetime value. Meaning, the ROI of clienteling continues to be seen over the life of your brands relationships.

Remember, it's far more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than to attract a new one. And today’s top clienteling platforms help businesses deploy effective clienteling strategies without breaking the bank. In fact, the cost of not leveraging clienteling is both the lost revenue from customer churn and the hefty cost of replacing them with new ones…which can be 15X the cost of simply retaining an existing customer!

How much more could a clienteling tool earn you? Calculate your ROI

Use the sliders to see how much more Endear could earn you each month.

Number of Stores Range

Enter 0 if you're e-commerce only.



Number of Customers

How many customers do you have, including all locations and e-commerce?



Number of Salespeople

How many retail associates and digital salespeople do you have in total?



Average Order Value

Select an option.



Myth #2: Clienteling for every customer takes too much time and energy.

Another myth that often haunts clienteling is the question of scalability. Many brands hesitate, thinking that while personalized attention is excellent for individual customers or smaller stores, scaling this level of personalized care to larger customer bases or across multiple locations seems daunting, if not impossible. The concern is genuine – the idea of providing bespoke experiences to each customer can seem labor-intensive and complicated to implement on a large scale.

But sales associates no longer have to memorize customer birthdays and carry little notebooks around with handwritten entries about their favorite styles. If that was the case, then yes, scale would be an issue. But luckily, modern clienteling software leverages technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze customer data and provide insights at a scale that would be impossible for humans to manage alone.

Modern clienteling platforms can track customer behavior, predict future buying patterns, and offer personalized product recommendations en masse, allowing businesses to deliver a tailored shopping experience to each customer, regardless of the size of their client base.

Endear’s platform is available from any location at any time, allowing for seamless integration across multiple stores, geographical locations, and teams. Store reps can access comprehensive customer profiles, including purchase history, preferences, and communication history, enabling them to provide personalized service consistently, whether they're interacting with customers in New York or London.

Of course, the true scalability comes from automation features that enable routine tasks to be handled efficiently, freeing up staff time to focus on high-value interactions. You can schedule personalized emails, text messages, or app notifications based on each customer's preferences and shopping habits, reaching out to thousands of customers simultaneously with tailored communication.

For example, gorjana has over 40 storefronts and a robust ecommerce business to boot. They use Endear to offer clienteling service to their entire audience, and even at their numbers, they are a beloved brand with strong loyalty.

Myth #3: Only luxury customers want a clienteling experience.

Finally, a common fallacy is that clienteling is only for luxury brands. Some retailers think that the level of service that comes with clienteling is really for the white-glove brands, and not the brands that cater to the general public.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. While high-end companies may have popularized clienteling, it's a technique that can benefit retailers of all types and sizes. In fact, clienteling may be more important to brands today than ever before. Luxury brands often thrive during recessions, but small to midsize brands need to buffer during downturns by increasing customer loyalty through clienteling, which has been proven to help weather the storm.

As an example, Jenette Bras is a boutique brand that has used clienteling methods to drive 36% more transactions at their stores. They know the value of their service and their reputation with their customers, and are better positioned to make it through any recessionary climates due to their returning audience.

Customers recognize that it's not about the price tag on your products, but the value you offer through personalized experiences. By understanding the needs of their customers, all businesses can curate products and services that keep them coming back for more.

It’s Time to Rebrand Clienteling

In an era of intense competition and discerning customers, clienteling is not just a fancy strategy; it's a necessity. Businesses that shun clienteling based on misconceptions are missing out on a valuable opportunity to enhance customer loyalty and drive growth.

It’s high time that clienteling shed any bad reputation. When implemented correctly, it's a cost-saving, inclusive, and versatile strategy that can benefit retailers of all sizes and sectors. With software solutions like Endear making clienteling accessible and efficient, it's never been easier for businesses to embrace this personalized approach to customer relationship management. So let's move past the myths and misconceptions, and start recognizing clienteling for what it truly is – a game-changer in the world of retail.

Want more? Get our Clienteling 101 Playbook

Enjoy our 3-step playbook for a clienteling strategy that's cost efficient, scalable, and effective.