Research suggests that the average cost of selling to new customers is as much as five times the cost of selling to existing ones. As clients become familiar with a brand, gaining and keeping their interest becomes less expensive. Businesses that recognize this fact know that the best approach to keeping their most valuable clients is superior customer service — and that means clienteling.

While “clienteling” once was little more than a buzzword that meant “catering to clients,” the modern clienteling meaning is more definitive. The most widely accepted clienteling definition refers specifically to the processes or tools used to promote customer satisfaction through the personalization of the shopping experience. Effective clienteling is part of a complex journey. In essence, it transforms your customer journey into something personalized. To accomplish this, clienteling tools rely on client data, such as purchase history and personal information. The end goal is to increase customer lifetime value.

Clienteling allows businesses to focus on those high-value repeat customers who cost less and buy more. It acts as a centralized data resource to build a 360-degree view of individual shoppers. With clienteling, data collection rates see increases of as much as 300% and retention rates by as much as 200%. This is particularly evident for the 20% of customers who drive 70% of sales.

Clienteling is particularly effective in retail. Despite the rise of ecommerce, 85% of consumers still prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores rather than online. Retail clienteling allows businesses to keep track of purchases, giving in-store associates the power to identify not only the most loyal customers but also their preferences. Associates can then provide a more targeted service.

Additionally, retail businesses can take advantage of mobile smart technology to further improve in-store sales. According to a survey by SessionM, 90% of consumers use their smartphones to compare prices or research products while shopping in a store. With this in mind, many businesses are using retail selling apps, along with store associate apps, to better connect employees and consumers and to promote guided selling.

As consumers enter a store, retail clienteling software helps employees access customer profiles and order history to drive informed selling interactions. What’s more, clienteling apps can be enhanced with predictive recommendations to help employees boost conversions and increase transaction sizes with the right offer to the right customer at the right time. Store mobility gives associates more information, making it easier to hunt down product information, like product dimensions and stock availability, to provide faster service to the shopper.

Store employee apps can also be used by retail management to track and evaluate employee performance.

An effective clienteling app fills the role of the notebooks, paper files, and sticky notes businesses once relied on to keep track of data associated with their most valued customers, but it does so much more. New software advances are making clienteling better, cheaper, more effective, and more available than ever before. More importantly, superior clienteling gives retail store associates, retail store managers, marketers, and more the power to customize the customer journey to fit individual clients.

Mobility solutions provide instant access to all customer, product, and inventory information. Additionally, they improve task management and collaboration, customer insights, product insights, and the ability to transact, resulting in improved assisted selling and a better in-store experience. Cloud technology is making it possible for authorized users to trigger timely, unique, and meaningful messages, based on real-time customer behavior. Branded communication templates deliver relevant content on email, mobile, social, ads, and the web to drive in-store engagement.

Clienteling tools can take client relationships to a whole new level. Easy customer lookup gets the conversation off on the right foot, keeping sales representatives on top of client interests, and allowing them to step seamlessly back into the buying journey. Wish lists, online shopping carts, past purchases, outstanding orders, and rewards programs can all be accessed at the push of a button. Segmentation analysis capabilities provide insights into the best selling strategies per customer.

Retail employee mobile apps can also provide sales professionals with product insights. Product lookup presents easy access to detailed product information, including reviews, pricing, current promotions, available inventory, and even related products for recommendation. Predictive recommendations help sellers go above and beyond with their customers, with data-driven offers to drive increased upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Of course, before businesses can take advantage of what modern clienteling strategies have to offer, they need to know what to look for. Here are six important factors to consider when choosing a clienteling solution:

  • Intuitive user experience
    Retail employees should be able to take advantage of a clienteling tool’s advanced capabilities without having to undergo any advanced training. This will ensure higher adoption rates and better client service in and out of the showroom.

  • Unified data
    A single view of your customers, integrating data from every available source and presented in an actionable way, makes it possible for employees to find and implement the most relevant information quickly and easily.

  • Ease of integration
    Improved customer service is important, but not at the expense of every other part of a business. Superior clienteling services easily integrate with existing systems and processes, so that no business will have to choose between keeping clients happy and keeping everything else functioning properly.

  • Personalized in-store experience
    Associates armed with deep customer insight are much more capable of providing personalized engagement and increasing in-store client satisfaction. This means more return business and fewer customer-service related problems.

  • Cross-channel engagement
    A clienteling solution that creates a unified customer journey can bridge gaps between digital and physical touchpoints. Personalized communication helps ensure that clients are interested to hear what your company has to say.

  • Flexibility
    The retail world is always changing — new product trends come and go, client preferences shift, new media options bring in new sales channels; having a clienteling solution that can change along with it is a must. Tools that receive regular support updates will remain viable for years to come.

In order to hit these vital points, superior clienteling solutions rely on superior customer relationship management (CRM) software. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that so many retail businesses depend on the world’s number one CRM solution: Salesforce.

Salesforce CRM is the most powerful customer relationship management tool available. Salesforce retail services makes it possible for businesses to empower their customers and their employees.

Salesforce uses rich client profiles and advanced client tracking to give retailers the vital insight they need to guide their customers. Automated reminders and event triggers ensure that no important step ever goes unnoticed. Additionally, a single-customer view, including online, past purchase history, and preferences, results in an in-depth customer profile, so that you can build the kind of personalized, informed customer journey that clients expect.

Salesforce also makes it possible to make predictive recommendations. By analyzing large amounts of client data, your business will be able to accurately forecast client needs, promoting customer satisfaction and driving cross-sell opportunities in the process. And speaking of customers, real-time case resolution with Salesforce-enhanced customer-service capabilities means that problems are solved quickly and effectively. Salesforce also functions as an efficient customer appointment management tool.

Additionally, thanks to cloud technology, Salesforce is fully compatible with any platform, across any device, and can be accessed at any time. This means that no matter who is using it or where, they’ll have access to the same reliable data, in real time. Cloud technology also ensures that client data is kept safely offsite.

To put it simply, Salesforce connects retailers with their customers. The end result is stronger relationships, improved sales, and more satisfied shoppers.

Retailers work hard to find their customers; the last thing they want is for those customers to opt for another brand. Advanced clienteling tools give customers the kind of 1-to-1 attention that keeps them interested, engaged, and eager to come back. Salesforce for retail connects retailers to shoppers, and that means happy shoppers and happy employees.
Contact us to talk about the latest Salesforce retail solutions, and let us help you set up a strategy to connect with your customers like never before.