How to Connect the Dots for An Effective Retail Clienteling Program

 Image courtesy of iStock

Image courtesy of iStock

"The best segments are segments of one." This brilliant quote from Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza illustrates the power and potential of clienteling. Clienteling is a new word for a time-honored retail tradition: the process of building relationships with customers to anticipate and fulfill their needs. It's the modern-day version of the "little black book" of customer sizes, preferences, and insights that high-end service associates keep for their best clients. Today, clienteling is most notably used by luxury retailers like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Chanel.

The Importance of Clienteling Today

The digital aspect of clienteling, where client information is available to store associates at all locations, is especially valuable to luxury retailers because their clients are mobile and travel throughout the world. However, the potential of clienteling goes far beyond luxury brands. Consumer demand for a more customized shopping experience is growing: retail customers are demanding a more “seamless” and integrated shopping experience across all channels.

As it stands today, only 19 percent of retail brands provide clienteling information to store associates, and approximately 7 percent “offer shared access for store associates to view a customer’s online shopping cart” according to a new report by NewStore. These retailers are missing the opportunity to leverage purchase history and transaction insights to up-sell and cross-sell products, build loyalty and deepen relationships with their best customers. In study after study, consumer researchers have found that personal attention is the number one factor that converts customers from browsers to buyers.

Clienteling by Neiman Marcus

Successful clienteling programs provide the ability to leverage customer data including contact information, loyalty program activity, fit, style and designer brand preferences, purchase history, anniversaries and birthdays, payment information, and even customer photos. In-store associates use the information to communicate special events and promotions, guide selling, make product recommendations, reserve products and process payments for online or phone orders. These personalized touches add value for the shopper and make a difference when it comes to establishing long-term connections.

So how can today’s retailers implement clienteling in their stores? Clienteling today frequently utilizes mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets or portable POS terminals. Neiman Marcus pioneered digital clienteling over five years ago with their proprietary Isell app that empowers sales associates using company-issued iPhones to retrieve customer data and tap into customer preferences.  Karen Katz, Neiman Marcus’ CEO, has continued to invest heavily in digital clienteling. Ms. Katz says the company’s newest tool that enables sales associates to text their clients with personalized outfit suggestions is “already a key driver of transactions.”

Enhance Clienteling with an eReceipt Program

eReceipt programs are a powerful enabler for clienteling and useful in capturing a customer’s best email address at the point of purchase.  Today’s mobile shopper is accustomed to new product suggestions based on browsing preferences, order history, size and style choices. At a functional level, the eReceipt followed by personalized post-purchase journey communications ensure a similar experience for in-store shoppers and helps retailers fully connect shoppers’ in-store purchase behaviors with their online profiles. Once accessible, this information empowers associates, wherever they are in the world, to support their clients in more personalized ways.

The eReceipt itself may feature messages from the customer’s personal brand consultant and personalized product recommendations as if they are coming directly from the client's own style consultant. Invitations to special events, personal shopping sessions or complimentary makeovers can all be scheduled right from the eReceipt and shoppers can provide retailers with immediate feedback on the products they purchases and the service experience they received.

Getting Started

In today’s fast-evolving marketplace clienteling enables retailers to provide a high level of personalized service to customers, whether they’re shopping online or in a brick and mortar location. Leveraging an eReceipt program to support clienteling is a powerful way to improve the customer experience across channels, increase loyalty and overall lifetime value.

Contact us to discover how flexReceipts can support your clienteling initiatives.