How Clienteling with Online Scheduling Drives Retail Sales

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Author - Olga Kamylevich

Olga Kamylevich
Published: April 17, 2018

How Clienteling with Online Scheduling Drives Retail Sales

The Modern Retail Customer

Retail companies are having to work harder nowadays for a customer’s attention. The well-tested strategies of luring customers into stores with one-day sales, direct mail pieces, limited time giveaways and special events are not always as effective as they used to be. Brick and mortar retailers that shift their marketing and sales tactics to include digital tools can better connect and interact with customers that are now used to being romanced by companies across both online and offline channels.

Brick-and-mortar retail locations will most likely continue to reduce their footprint but the physical storefront will still continue to exist despite the onslaught of competition from online-only retailers. Making sure your company is delivering convenience and a positive experience for your customers is a solid place to start building and retaining your company’s customer base. The art of clienteling combined with a little technological support can play an important part in this customer nurturing process.

More than half (54%) of retailers said the customer experience is their most important area of focus, way ahead of cross-channel marketing (16%), data-driven marketing (14%), mobile (11%), and programmatic buying/optimization (4%). (Adobe)

Clienteling Still Matters

Clienteling, a buzzword for retail salesperson’s art of catering to customers, is still a very valid practice in modern retail. By establishing long-term relationships with their key customers based on their particular tastes, preferences and past purchases, the lifetime value of a customer can increase.

In the good old days, the salesperson had a sort of little black book with this valuable information, allowing them to provide a highly personalized shopping experience. Personalizing the customer experience has now since moved from Rolodexes and paper files to software applications, specifically mobile apps.

Taking the Black Book Digital

In the new omnichannel world of retail, the traditional black book is no longer as powerful as it used to be. Your customers are mobile and can be present in many locations, whether they be global or national or local. Your customer’s relationship with your retail business could include more than one storefront as well as your online channels. This customer mobility creates a challenge for a salesperson that uses a black book. How can the data and insights it provides be available for stores wherever the customer chooses to shop?

75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, OR knows their purchase history. (Accenture)

Acting as a digital black book, clienteling apps can help your sales staff better serve your customers and better serve your business. A good application will take all the important black book insights your business has about a customer and put it all in one place, at the fingertips of your sales staff, so it’s visible across devices and locations. Clienteling apps provide your salespeople with these useful features:

A Catalog – your products with inventory levels, location availability and customer reviews at their fingertips from a tablet or mobile phone.

A Customer Profile – including purchase histories, special dates, the locations and frequency of their visits.

A Personalization Multi-tool – integrations with CRM platforms, social media, and mobile POS software can provide salespeople with several opportunities to serve the customer directly on the sales floor, and send personalized emails or text messages about sales, store or life events.

This centralized data helps a salesperson deliver recommendations and guide the customer experience in-store. This data can also better engage customers on your website in a similar manner. An evaluation of your business’ needs is a good starting point to use as a comparison against an application’s functionality, scalability, and cost before committing to one. 

A Natural Partnership for Success

Another perhaps less sexy yet just as effective ways to continue to deliver the convenience and positive experience that modern retail customers now expect is with online appointment scheduling.  Something as seemingly simple as automating appointment scheduling can closely tie together with clienteling practices for the convenience and positive experience that the modern retail customer now expects.

An appointment scheduling application used in tandem with your clienteling app can help to pull your online customers into your physical stores, give your salespeople more time to serve your customers and can extend the impact of convenience, personalization and positive customer experience.

At SUMO we have seen a proof of this concept with one of our large retail clients, a jewelry retail chain. The retailer implemented SUMO with a goal to carry the business through daily sales cycles and boost sales for the upcoming holiday season. The retailer implemented SUMO’s self-scheduling buttons on various pages on their website. They also had their salespeople use SUMO in tandem with their regular clienteling application activities. The retail chain was able to combine the convenience of self-scheduling with the positive experience of personalized service to great effect. The retailer was able to track website traffic that walked into their stores. They also saw an uptick in the growth of their client base.

A Retail One-Two Punch

Retail customers, more than ever, are accustomed to being catered to as a valued client whether it’s their first visit to your store or their fortieth. Clienteling applications deliver the experience the modern retail customer expects. An online appointment scheduling platform extends the experience while delivering the convenience the modern retail customer likes. The combination of these two sales tools can go a long way to both growing and sustaining customer loyalty.

94% of consumers name a consistently good customer experience as the main reason they remain loyal to a brand (Blackhawk Network)

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Discover how clienteling practices and online appointment scheduling can drive retail sales and enhance customer experience.

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