It’s no secret that clienteling is an increasingly critical component of successful retail businesses. To review, clienteling is the process of using customer information to create intimate shopping experiences.
Clienteling emulates the kind of retail store experience you might find at high-end boutiques or personal shopping programs — but for every customer that visits your online or physical store.
As brands continue to expand their presence in different channels and customers continue to diversify the platforms on which they shop, it’s more important than ever to utilize clienteling to provide a seamless customer experience — all without losing those personal touch points that shoppers need across retail experiences to feel special and loyal to your brand.
But not all clienteling is created equal; it varies based on your customer base. Neglecting to track and utilize customer data and personal information may be hindering your company’s growth and clienteling strategy.
We’ve outlined several companies who are making waves in clienteling. Each can teach us a thing or two about forming customer relationships on and offline.
Bonobos has been a household name in retail since its founding in 2011 — and for good reason. The men’s clothing retailer generated a lot of buzz for its innovative approach to e-commerce when it expanded from a 100% e-commerce business to include over 30 brick-and-mortar “guideshops” spread across various cities in the United States.
The guideshops are designed to be a space for loyal customers to try on the hundreds of products Bonobos sells online. The sales associates, or “guides”, place online orders in-store that are then shipped to customers’ homes. Pretty amazing, right?
But what truly made Bonobos stand out was its ability to manage in-store and online purchases, returns, transaction histories, and inventory through one integrated system. Though similar practices have become commonplace nowadays with other retailers, Bonobos put digital clienteling on the map.
When most of us think of college dorms, we think of twin XL mattresses and bare concrete walls. E-commerce retailer Dormify wanted to bring personalization into the mix by making it easy for students and young professionals to decorate their living space.
Visitors to the Dormify website can take a style quiz to receive personalized decor recommendations straight to their inbox, and Dormify uses this information to provide tailored marketing. For new and repeat customers looking for even more individualized attention, Dormify even offers personal consultations via video chat and in-person at their New York City Style studio.
Despite their size, large luxury department stores were some of the first players to offer high-touch clienteling, and are still some of the best at offering impeccable customer service to draw in their best customers - Nordstrom is no exception. Through the retailer’s mobile app, clients can build a wish list, select items they want to try on and reserve a dressing room in-store.
Location services then notify associates when the customer is on their way so their fitting room can be prepared before they even set foot in the door. Nordstrom continues to invest in retail technology and additional mobile clienteling solutions after two retail technology acquisitions in early 2018.
What can we take away from these outstanding retail brands? Here’s a short list of suggestions to start implementing clienteling strategies today:
- Create a seamless omnichannel retail experience.
- Host special in-store promotions.
- Offer unique services like in-person and online personal styling, consultations, tailoring, and more.
- Provide product exclusives.
Learn more from the brands listed in our guide to clienteling.
Whether its retail technology, good old-fashioned customer service, or some combination of the two, offering personalized experiences through clienteling is key for any successful retailer. In the end, it’s about knowing your customer and giving them a retail experience that fosters a personal relationship with your brand. Check out how Endear can help.