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‘Clienteling’: a point of view, tailored to you

By Jennifer Shepherd, Managing Consultant



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December 5, 2022 | 8 min read

'Clienteling', the development of deeper relationships with customers, is taking on new hybrid dimensions. Jennifer Shepherd and Jack O’Callaghan of Frog look into the principles behind this trend.

Sales assistants at a brewery

Frog looks at the re-emerging phenomenon of 'clienteling' / Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash

Considering that 75% of UK sales take place in-store and 70% of those sales come from 20% of customers, the in-store customer experience is as relevant as ever and solutions like ‘clienteling’ become a no-brainer.

Clienteling seeks to create meaningful relationships with your most valuable customers to build loyalty, driving lifetime value, average order value (AOV) and repeat purchase. Traditionally adopted by luxury retailers, clienteling is often associated with in-store, but now bleeds across channels.

With the return of customers to stores coupled with new technologies, and an increasing need to connect online and offline behaviors, the race is on to deliver the best, most innovative ways to keep shoppers engaged.

Driving success requires looking to the market to understand your customers more deeply, gathering insights and embedding them into the operations and services in-store. Here, we’ve selected three initiatives retailers should consider including within their clienteling offerings.

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1. Data-powered interactions

Leveraging online data insights can drive huge value. Kering, the French luxury retailer owner of Gucci, found that 90% of product discovery and decisions are made online before entering the store.

Delivering actionable data to store advisors has the potential to increase average order values by up to 30%.

2. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI)

The use of AI in the retail market is projected to grow by 39% by 2026, with 50% of workers using virtual assistants by 2025. AI recommendations won’t be ‘nice to have’ but ‘must have’.

3. Experience over ‘things’

Creating multi-sensory spaces provides a richer experience to customers. Nike recently launched an interactive touch-enabled ‘Inside Track Table’ that allows customers to see real-time information and customer reviews on Nike footwear.

Three applications

Where and how these are applied can vary to suit your brand and ambition. One application is interactive mirrors: 94% of customers are interested in virtual try-on applications; since their early inception these have moved on dramatically with 3D modeling solutions like Avant-Garde Fitting System.

Another is Omnichannel baskets; 35% of customers expect to carry on the same interaction with the same advisors, across all touchpoints, including in-store, bringing the baskets they created online at home to the store.

A third application is multi-sensory stores. 85% of customers say that music improves their mood when shopping; 49% say that they would welcome seeing offers in-store on digital screens. This coupled with the value customers have to touch and feel garments in-store increases their likelihood to purchase by 38%.

Where to start on your clienteling journey

Interactive mirrors and omnichannel baskets are great, but these experiential designs need to be supported through future-proofed capabilities that form the basis and foundation that clienteling can be built on.

  1. Centralized data: CRM at its best is the consolidation of all data into one central source. While not easy, it’s fundamental. From here the rest falls into place.

  2. Omnichannel communications: 64% of shoppers see hybrid shopping as the norm and expect brands to be able to meet them where they shop. Even if customers purchase in-store, it’s likely that they’ve already done the research online first.

  3. Customer identification: Shockingly, 63% of retailers are unable to identify customers prior to checkout. Creating a seamless experience is important and methods can vary, from facial scanning to location-based tracking. Capgemini’s own ‘live store’, CornerShop, applies Bluetooth beacons throughout the store to achieve this.

  4. Automated tasks: 44% of UK retail assistants say that their biggest frustration is outdated tech for completing tasks. Applied effectively, teams in-store can be redirected to specific customers and given automated tasks that best suit the individual customer, increasing customer satisfaction.

  5. Personalized recommendations: 75% of customers say they’re more likely to buy when identified by name and provided with product recommendations.

At Frog, we believe in creating world-class customer experiences, like CornerShop, the live store of tomorrow in London’s Shoreditch.

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frog is a leading global creative consultancy, part of Capgemini Invent. Partnering with passionate leaders and visionary entrepreneurs, we apply creativity, strategy,...

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