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It's official! Endear is now the first-ever clienteling platform to join the Shopify Plus Certified app program, and we couldn't be more excited. As a company that got its start as a Shopify app, this certification has always been a goal of ours. With that in mind, I wanted to take the opportunity to share a bit more about our story leading up to this milestone.
Intro to Endear
For those of you I haven't had the pleasure to pitch yet, Endear is an omnichannel clienteling solution that gives retail teams the power to engage customers over remote channels like email and text, and track how that outreach turns into sales not just in store but online, too. Endear's primary focus is on ensuring salespeople can carry their skills over to the digital world in order to better serve consumers, increase sales for their brand, and receive recognition for their efforts.
Put another way, Endear is the first CRM designed specifically for sales people in retail. While the retail industry may call what we do "clienteling," the tools we provide — a customer database, centralized messaging, asset libraries, reporting — are the same tools offered by traditional CRM solutions like Hubspot and Salesforce for every other professional sales person.
However, if you speak to anyone in retail about trying to use those traditional solutions at a store, you'll quickly learn they're a poor fit for a variety of reasons:
- They're too complex for a userbase who is constantly switching back and forth between serving customers in-person and managing their digital relationships.
- They're designed for products and services that have a much longer sales cycles and therefore require pipeline management. Retail, as you know, is all about frequency and retention.
- Most CRMs don't offer integrations to other retail-related technology, like POS systems.
So what's the difference between a CRM and a clienteling app? Simply put, semantics. While clienteling is retail's way of saying "high-touch customer attention and engagement," CRM solutions are built to accomplish the same thing: help you keep track of potential and current customers, keep in touch with them, and keep everyone on the team honest about their performance and on track with their goals.
Enjoy a Free 60 min. Consultation
On Shopify Plus? Celebrate our milestone with us by getting a free 60 minute consultation and audit of your current retail sales process. Our team of experts will address your pain points and identify solutions you can start implementing today.
Why We Built Endear
Before the rise of online shopping, retail associates typically had enough in-store foot traffic to occupy their work days, so a CRM wasn't all that necessary. Sure, top associates would stay in touch with VIP customers on their own time, but a relationship management system was simply not a need-to-have. But then e-commerce entered the scene, consumers moved their shopping and spending online, foot traffic continued to fall, and these rudimentary tactics were just not cutting it. Certainly with the arrival of COVID in 2020 (and with foot traffic at a screeching halt), it became clear that store teams and the brands they worked for had to find a way to apply and translate the skills they'd honed in the physical world into the digital realm.
Plus, we thought it interesting that retail associates were the only group of salespeople who didn't have CRM software - in fact, no technology to do their jobs at all. You can read more about how unnecessarily tedious and laborious this made their jobs, but to summarize: associates spent a lot of time on rote tasks that every other type of salesperson expected to be digitized, if not fully automated. To us, it was obvious things needed to change, and we knew just how to fix them.
What Makes Endear Different
When looking at the clienteling landscape back in 2019, we noticed that most of the resources available were all incredibly custom and costly. They required a large upfront investment of time and money, and for brands with maybe only a handful of stores, they were not accessible at all. Meanwhile in the tech industry, you couldn't run a Google search on any problem (whether email, social media editing, or even CRM) without finding a plethora of out-of-the-box, SaaS-style solutions complete with free trials and transparent pricing. It was here where we identified an opportunity in the world of clienteling, and we figured that growing retail brands would welcome this sort of solution.
Why We Started With Shopify
When we launched, Shopify was already a major player for online stores, but they had also launched their POS product for brick-and-mortar. Early on, we identified Shopify POS as a key entry point because it would allow merchants to easily find our product and easily start using it without any technical help. From our experience, most small retailers didn't have a lot of development resources (if any at all) so we wanted to make sure integration efforts didn't stand in the way.
"The Shopify Plus Certified App program is designed to meet the advanced requirements of the world's fastest growing brands. We're happy to welcome Endear to the program, bringing their insight and experience inCRM and Clienteling to the Plus merchant community." - Mark Bergen, VP of Revenue @ Shopify
From Shopify to Shopify Plus
Our partnership with Shopify has continued to flourish because we believe in the same principles: just because your brand is bigger doesn't mean your technology has to cost a fortune or take forever to implement. One of the best parts about Endear is we're built to grow and scale with our customers. Not only is our pricing designed to reward your growth, but now as a Shopify Plus app, we can offer even more sophisticated technology to better suit any larger operation. We've had tons of customers get started with Endear as a small team, and rejoice as they grow because they never have to worry about replacing Endear with something more advanced - it just keeps working!
What's Next For Us
We are thrilled to be in the company of such impressive Plus apps that are similarly helping move omnichannel retail forward, and are proud of Shopify Plus for embracing apps like us (and our friends at Dor and Marsello) who are tackling omnichannel retail from the physical store side. We are excited to continue to explore all the opportunities that come with being a Shopify Plus Certified App partner, including new partnerships, new integrations, and new features for our Plus customers! We hope you'll join us for this next stage and beyond!
Let's Keep Chatting
Congrats! You actually made it to the end of our blog post - we must have said something right. Book a demo of Endear to find out what we can do for your business. No matter what size you are, let's get to the next stage together.