1. Associates are going rogue
Have you ever observed what your top selling associates do in a day? Have you ever asked them what they think they do differently from the rest? Often, the top-selling associates are doing more than you might think! Aside from great selling skills, top associates often possess entrepreneurial grit, and they think outside the box to achieve their goals. You may see associates recording their top customers’ contact information in their personal notebooks or phones, and start to contact customers using their personal accounts. They won’t let the lack of enterprise tools stop them from building relationships.
While you might be pleased with these associates’ sales, you’re missing out on many opportunities at a big picture level. For instance, the data collected by personal devices or notebooks is not secure. This may contradict PCI and PII regulations and recommendations, and it leaves with the associate in the event that they leave the company. What’s more, the enterprise isn’t gaining the precious data that it would, if the same associates were equipped with digital clienteling tools. This data is key to continuous enhancements and personalization of the customer experience and communications at the mass marketing level, online and in stores.
If your associates are texting and e-mailing customers without corporate guidance, there’s also a missed opportunity for branding and management oversight, which would easily be remedied with a clienteling solution that includes templates and integrated customer communications.
2. Traffic is declining
In today’s omni-channel world, customers don’t need to make a trip to the physical store to research purchases, browse or even buy. If you’ve noticed a decline in traffic, store associates armed with the right tools can be your best defense! Many of the best practices in clienteling are designed to increase traffic in the store, and subsequent recency and frequency measures. These initiatives are focused primarily on active outreach by the store associate with the best relationship with the customer. This personal, human connection is something unique to the store, that can be aided by technology, but not replaced with a computer.
The outreach designed to increase store traffic includes a variety of purposes such as store events, offers/promotions, new products, replenishment, etc. All of these are designed to provide highly individualized value for the customer receiving the communication. These initiatives are supported by clienteling apps such as follow-ups, prospects, brand alerts, queries, and templates. With a clienteling solution, marketing teams gain a new communication channel: the store associate. What better way to communicate with customers than through someone who has a personal connection with the customer? These one-to-one communications tend to have a much higher conversion rate than even the most carefully segmented marketing e-mails.
3. Conversions are stagnant
Although showrooming isn’t having quite the negative impact as it was once feared to have on brick-and-mortar stores, today’s reality is that there are still many customers who research purchases in the store, and ultimately buy online. Retailers are not powerless to influence this trend! Once the customer is in the store, either through an outreach attempt or walk-in traffic, the associate must be armed with tools to facilitate a sale. This is best accomplished by providing an omni-channel view of a customer with clienteling, and through tools designed to provide product related information. By providing access to a customer’s profile, an associate may look up important notes, open offers, past purchases, wish lists, and more.
By having access to product-related information, the associate can look up alternative sizes and colors, identify where products might be available, and by working directly with the customer to identify other products that may provide up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Clienteling apps that support these capabilities include the customer profile (wish lists, notes, preferences, offers, etc.), client book, search, and look book.
4. Transaction size is too small
Selling more, or higher ticket items, to each customer is an important goal for most retailers, as measured by the typical KPI of average transaction size. Increasing transaction size can be accomplished through the effective outreach with personalized value propositions, facilitated by effective use of clienteling tools. By focusing outreach on items other than discounts and promotions, the average transaction size increases dramatically. Personalized communications increase the odds of a customer buying, and enhance the relationship over time. Communicating to customers about new products, cross-sell opportunities, points-based thresholds, and new affiliated brands allows the associate to focus on effective outreach about something other than sales and promotions.
Clienteling apps that support increases in transaction size include the client book, customer profile, look book, brand alerts, prospects/offers, and wish list. While most clienteling deployments vary in some ways, the fundamentals of increasing traffic, conversions and transaction size are the same. Retailers must establish their strategy and goals, define the best practices and business processes that support these goals, configure a solution to enforce these businesses, and educate and empower their associates to execute.
5. You don’t know your best customers
For most retailers, 80% of sales are derived from their top 20% (often less than 20%) of customers. This 80/20 rule demonstrates the value of a dedicated focus on the top tier customer, as a 5% gain in sales from these customers represents a much greater benefit than a 10% gain with all other customers combined. It is often much easier to influence the loyal customer than the customer who is not yet loyal to the brand.
For these reasons, a typical clienteling initiative in retail is designed to provide a targeted focus on the top tier of customers with the end goal of enhancing the relationship with this customer at both the brand, and the individual associate level. While the typical sale is not to be ignored (and in fact can be impacted dramatically with the right tools), the main emphasis of a clienteling initiative is on influencing the interaction with a select group of clients.
Clienteling offers a unique opportunity to gather insights about these top customers that could not be gleaned from operational data alone. For instance, the preferences an associate may record, or freeform notes, add another dimension to the enterprise profile that allows for further personalization and refinement of the brand experience.