Clienteling: The Future of Retail

by Brandon Wright November 29, 2018
Stores in Mall Christmastime

Fast forward 20 years, what does retail look like? Are we driving to the store in our self-driving, flying vehicle? Or are we sitting in the comfort of our home telling Alexa to buy our engagement ring? The debate of e-commerce vs. brick and mortar is still going strong. As a store owner, you’re constantly having to get through today while preparing for the future.

It doesn’t need to be e-commerce vs brick and mortar, it should be e-commerce plus brick and mortar. There needs to be a marriage between the two, not a war!

Why Clienteling Relies on Data

Clienteling is when a retail sales associate establishes long-term relationships with key customers based on their preferences, behaviors, and purchases.

More and more shoppers are using their mobile devices to research and even purchase products while in the store! What does that tell you about in-store experiences? It tells me that customers are finding better prices online, aren’t getting their answers in-person, or can’t find help.

The premise of clienteling is based on the gathering (and usage) of customer data.

Sales reps are competing with shopper’s who have access to millions of answers at their fingertips. Those sales reps should be armed with the same devices to help them answer questions, gather insights, and offer personal advice based on the customer.

Technology and data help bridge the gap between your online store and your physical store.

With data, retailers have the ability to: personalize pricing based on a customer’s past purchasing history, prepare for demand during different parts of the year and adjust inventory.

All in all, data ensures that clienteling will be unique based on each customer’s information.

The Future of Retail

The future is looking bright for consumers. They can expect more personalization and interaction with sales associates when they visit their favorite brick and mortars.

Customer loyalty has shifted from brand names to great experiences. Customers spend 3.5-4x more annually and are 33% more likely to become a repeat customer if they have a personalized relationship with their sales associate.

Empowering sales associates with the right technology and data not only helps them build relationships but helps with the bottom line.

There’s a lot of unknowns in the future but clienteling is not one of them.

Brands can help prepare for the future by turning their focus to clienteling and bridging the gap between online and in-store experiences.


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Brandon Wright

Brandon is the Founder and CEO of Clientbook (a clienteling tool for retailers that increases in-store foot traffic and sales).

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