It seems like there's an app for nearly everything these days - whether you're trying to order a cup of coffee or find your soul mate, you've probably considered using an app to accomplish your goal.
But only recently has the app-centric world we live in started to penetrate the retail industry. For the first time, brands and retailers are turning to technology solutions in order to operate more efficiently and grow more quickly. A big motivation for this transformation is the industry's push to also become more omnichannel. In order to bridge the gap between in-store and online experiences, many companies have embraced various platforms and apps that help to crystalize how these two channels speak to each other.
Such is the case with clienteling. What used to be an art form maintained entirely in a black book or binder has finally transferred over into efficient CRM systems like Endear that let brands not only scale up their customer outreach, but perhaps more importantly professionalize the experience and track its performance.
What is Clienteling
As we've said before, clienteling is efficiently using customer information to create intimate shopping experiences. While once unique to the world of high-end department stores and personal shoppers, the surge in new technology has also meant the democratization of top-notch, high-touch services for every consumer, not just VIP's.
While marketing teams may largely focus on new customer acquisition, clienteling focuses on extending the lifetime value of a customer once he or she has been acquired. Picture a salesperson reaching out to customers in order to let them know that new items have come into the store, or to share news about an upcoming sale.
What separates this kind of activity from what a brand's marketing team may do is that these calls or conversations are meant to be personalized and ongoing. Beyond generating sales, the salesperson is aiming to build rapport with each individual customer and get to know her on a 1-1 basis in order to then use that knowledge to continuously improve the customer's experience, as well as her impressions of the brand. These efforts all result in increased brand loyalty.
What is a Clienteling Program
A clienteling program refers to the specific strategy, messaging, and processes a single brand has put together in order to increase sales coming through current customers.
While clienteling is a general retail industry term for high-touch customer outreach, a clienteling program is unique to each brand based on how they believe they can best serve their audience - for example, some brands may focus more on phone calls while others focus on email or text message. The more organized and structured a clienteling program is, the more likely it is to make an impact on your company's bottom line. Giving your sales team a structure to follow and goals to aim for as part of a formal clienteling program will likely result in more consistent engagement from them and the customers they contact.
Whether you're using an old-fashion binder or a new app like Endear to manage your program, these tools are only there to support the strategy you've developed through getting to know your customers and understanding how best to meet their needs.
Don't Let Training Stop You
Want to launch clienteling but not sure how to train your team? Endear offers an extensive academy on how to use its platform to reach out to customers and keep them engaged over email and SMS.
The Rise of Clienteling Apps
Before Endear arrived on the scene, many associates were in fact still using pen and paper to keep track of their customers, those customers' tastes and preferences. But the popularity of e-commerce created new challenges around how to get a full picture of who a customer was or what she liked - not to mention nearly impossible to know who else she was talking to at other stores.
While online shopping has certainly made life easier in many ways, it also has failed to deliver the same level of service that the in-store experience offers, largely because of the lack of human assistance. The beauty of modern clienteling apps is not just the organizational benefits, but also the engagement opportunities. While an associate may initially be inclined to use her own phone or email to reach out to a customer, clienteling apps take customer communication to a new level thanks to their advanced features and analytics.
The Benefits of a Clienteling App
There are numerous benefits to moving your clienteling efforts into an app like Endear - let us count them!
1. Organization at Every Size
If you're running a small store or even a pop-up, you may think that a clienteling app isn't necessary. But the beauty of a clienteling app like Endear is that it helps even the smallest teams stay competitive with larger retail stores that have the most sophisticated technology solutions. Your team can count on Endear to coordinate who is responsible for which customers, assign tasks, and even set reminders so that everyone is held accountable for their work. By rolling out a clienteling app when you're still young, you'll maintain these best practices as you grow.
2. Detect Hidden Audiences
Without a feed of real-time data, it's challenging to know who to reach out to, and when. Especially with changes in staffing and with multiple channels and locations, relying on overt signals from customers to determine who to contact is not a safe bet. By using a clienteling solution, you can stay up to date on your customers' activities in-store and online, and incorporate this behavior into relevant, timely messages.
3. Efficient Outreach
Your salespeople have likely developed very close relationships to customers, but sometimes sales teams may want to share the same information with multiple customers at once. The right clienteling tools will enable your teams to reach out to a single customer or swaths of customers without sacrificing personalization, and certainly without generic copy like "Hey Friend". Your team should be able to seamlessly incorporate customer-specific details in their messages, while also taking advantage of templates and bulk-sending capabilities.
4. Seamless Remote Shopping
The old days of clienteling often revolved around coaxing customers into coming into the store to purchase. But today's shopper should be encouraged to purchase wherever and however she likes - that includes sharing product images that connect back to the item online, that way the customer can decide if a trip to the store is necessary. Even if she purchases online though, a good clienteling program and the tools it runs on will be able to track your team's role in this purchase.
See for Yourself
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5. Transparent Performance Data
On that note, it's important that the tools you use don't just let you carry out a clienteling program, but also also tell you how that program is doing. As customers continue to interact with more touchpoints throughout their purchase journey, your clienteling app should help you understand exactly what role your salespeople play in those journeys. Rather than relying on daily reports of foot traffic versus sales, more modern tools should give you a way to actually increase both those key metrics and indicate who on your team is following through.
6. Consistent Service
And last but not least, clienteling apps will also help you deliver better service to your end customers. While associates may want to use their personal devices with customers, the problem with this approach is that it gives a brand very little visibility into what is being shared with customers, and also makes it very hard for associates to get credit for their outreach. But perhaps most important to everyone, sending messages from a personal device limits an associate's resources when it comes to enhancing messages and taking advantage of brand assets.
With a clienteling app, you can stay on top of the entire team's outreach to customers, so that no messages fall through the cracks. You can also ensure that if someone leaves the team, their customers are still looked after by someone else. You can use apps like Endear to encourage any customer to start a conversation when they are in need of guidance or have questions - rather than relying on one associate, customers should have the whole store team at their disposal! Encouraging everyone to participate in your clienteling program is onyl going to increase your brand's stickiness, so don't be shy about sharing contact info since those emails and phone numbers are for the business.
Ready to Get Started?
Book a demo with a member of our sales team to find out how Endear can kick your clienteling program into high-gear.
How to Introduce Clienteling at Your Brand
Before you go searching for a clienteling app, you should first figure out what type of clienteling program is right for your brand. The more you know about your customers and what good service means to them, the more value you'll get out of the software you end up choosing. First talk to your team and see if they are already doing any clienteling on their own, and what those customers have responded positively to.
Once you have the structure of your program in place (or simply in mind), you can start to think about the right tools for your team. Things to consider on the software side is what technology you already use, such as your e-commerce platform and your POS. You'll have a much easier time getting a program launched if your clienteling app speaks to the other systems you're already using. Another question to ask is how you'd like to speak to your customers - do you need phone calling, or do your customers prefer a DM over Facebook or Instagram? The more of these questions you ask yourself ahead of your search, the sooner you'll land on the right option.
At Endear, we pride ourselves on being one of the easiest clienteling apps to get up and running for any brand thanks to our out-of-the-box integrations and our user-friendly platform. In fact, most of our customers are able to drive over two times the cost of their subscription in sales just during their free trial.