Turning Customers Into Clients: The Power of Relationship Selling in Retail
At a time when commerce is conducted at digital speeds and retaining brand loyalty is more challenging than ever, many retailers are discovering that technology can help them strengthen their ties to customers through a concept called “clienteling.”
Simply stated, clienteling leans on technology to reinforce a personal relationship between a customer and an in-store sales associate. The associate assumes responsibility for a list of his or her customers, whose needs and shopping habits they grow to understand over time. The clienteling concept has transformed many retail businesses that have adopted it, resulting in high levels of customer retention along with greater transaction amounts per client; increased success in upselling, based on a trusted relationship; and more successful ongoing communications post-sale.
Clienteling’s power is further enhanced when it’s an integral part of the customer’s omnichannel shopping experience. Consider the following example: A consumer visits a website to select specific items she’d like to see in person at the brand’s retail store. She assembles a wish list online and then uses a calendar feature to set an appointment with her sales associate at a time that’s convenient to her, knowing that she will receive the associate’s personalized attention. In-store, the associate receives notification of the appointment and confirms it.
Accessing the brand’s clienteling system, the associate can view the items selected by the customer and pull those items for display to her before her appointment. When the customer arrives, the associate reviews her detailed information and then helps her to evaluate the products she selected while online. The in-store associate can also suggest accessories or upgrades for those selections.
Tourneau, an upscale retailer of quality timepieces, has realized its vision for cross-channel clienteling with solutions from MICROS-Retail. Tourneau clients can visit the brand’s website to make in-store appointments as well as place the timepieces they want to see in an online “watch tray.” The website has real-time integration with Tourneau’s clienteling system that enables its store associates to access customer and appointment data and review customers’ wish lists. The associates also can make additions to a customer’s wish list, enabling further collaboration. Tourneau reports that this creative application of clienteling techniques generates a conversion rate six times higher than average.