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  • Writer's pictureKatie Tame

Clienteling & Retail Approach: Expect the best, experience better

Updated: Apr 23

Within the past few decades, clienteling has undergone a significant transformation. Before technology became a critical aspect of life, clienteling represented an elevated level of customer service – synonymous with knowing a client’s name or engaging in one-on-one in person interactions. Change has not just occurred in the way we interact, communicate and form relationships, but also the way we shop. Clienteling now encompasses a plethora of different techniques that converge to bring clients an experience that creates a memory. Relationships are now more critical than ever, as interactions begin to lack human touch, it is imperative to add them. As we navigate this era of advanced clienteling, sales associates must adapt to these changes and leverage modern tools and technologies to build stronger relationships with their customers. By embracing the complex nature of clienteling, sales professionals can stay ahead of the curve and create lasting connections with their clientele while meeting the growing demand for personalized experiences.

Understanding your client

The foundation to a successful clienteling strategy lies in having a comprehensive understanding of your clientele, both as individuals and as a collective. In the past, this was achieved through individual interactions between sales associates and clients, but with the modern scale of businesses and the prevalence of online shopping, a different approach is required. To grasp the intricacies of your client base on a larger scale, sales teams need to harness client data. In today's digital era, collecting and analyzing data is paramount to effective clienteling. Establishing a first-name basis relationship with every client, while feasible for small local businesses, is no longer practical for larger brands.

Technology and scale demand a data-driven approach to clienteling. By outlining the importance of client data and developing well-defined client profiles and segments, sales teams can build a more effective and personalized clienteling strategy that resonates with their diverse client base, thereby strengthening relationships and fostering long-term loyalty.

Building relationships with your clients

Getting to know your client is the ground work for building a good relationship with them. An empathetic connection that acknowledges your clients as people with interests, needs, and defining characteristics that shape them from the next person is what creates loyal clients that feel connected to your brand. Offering your clients, a profound understanding of their circumstances and delivering personalized recommendations helps drive a sense of belonging and grows trust. Such symbiotic relationships foster a sense of loyalty, anchoring customers to your brand.

To cater to individual preferences on a large scale, a comprehensive grasp of each client is critical. Personalization has assumed unprecedented significance in encouraging feelings of delight, driving lifetime value and ensuring loyalty and the likelihood of future purchases. Leveraging new technology can curate experiences that helps sales associates cater to their clients, creating enriched experiences that strengthen relationships.

Best Practices

1. Team

By incorporating an advanced and proficient clienteling platform, you empower your entire team to coordinate effortlessly regarding customer preferences, requests, and communications. This seamless approach not only enhances the overall client experience but also supplements the effectiveness of your team's outreach and support endeavors. An efficient clienteling platform paves the way for a smarter, more streamlined approach to engagement and service delivery.

2. Prioritize outreach

An effective strategy necessitates proactive and regular outreach, avoiding any reliance solely on clients to initiate communication. The primary objective of clienteling revolves around cultivating and enduring meaningful relationships. In a crowded marketplace brimming with competing companies vying for customer attention, taking the initiative becomes paramount to distinguish oneself and establish enduring connections.

Proactive outreach may take various forms, such as offering customer coupons or expressions of gratitude, either in virtual or physical formats. Additionally, making personalized recommendations to a select group of customers, introducing loyal patrons to recently implemented features while demonstrating their usage, or providing referral codes and bonuses can significantly contribute to the success of this approach. In tandem, soliciting customer feedback through surveys and involving loyal clients in the design process of upcoming products showcases a commitment to customer-centricity.

Furthermore, timely reminders for reordering products, scheduling appointments, and similar activities represent subtle yet powerful ways to foster engagement and retention. The crux lies in maintaining a steady stream of relevant communication that consistently adds value, reinforcing the notion that your brand is steadfastly present to cater to their needs and concerns. By embracing a well-crafted clienteling approach, businesses can forge enduring connections that solidify customer loyalty and drive mutual success.

3. Personalization

The significance of personalization in your outreach and communications is paramount. As previously highlighted, clienteling hinges on incorporating an element of the human touch, and modern-day clients have come to expect bespoke interactions at every juncture.

Personalization does not need to entail massive and elaborate undertakings; rather, it can manifest through seemingly subtle yet impactful gestures, such as addressing communications directly to individual clients. The customization of experiences needs to be in line with each client’s unique preferences, offering personalized recommendations based on their purchase history, and providing exclusive offers grounded in their past purchases or segmentation data. Embracing a personalized approach is vital to forging enduring and profitable relationships with your clientele.

4. A holistic approach

As with any type of relationship, client relationships necessitate ongoing nurturing; neglecting them can lead to your client taking their business elsewhere. Relationship development, particularly for sales associates, should not be transactional in its nature. A common theme that can be observed among many retailers is the tendency to disengage once a sale has been secured.

The key to successful clienteling lies in transcending limits of a transaction and staying dynamically engaged with client’s post-purchase. Maintaining relevance and personalization in your outreach and communication ensures that you remain at the forefront of their minds long after the initial sale.

Importantly, clienteling isn't bound by a fixed endpoint; it's an ongoing journey. While a successful sale is a desirable outcome, it merely represents a single step in the process. By cultivating enduring relationships with clients, you enhance the likelihood of future sales while streamlining the overall process for your company. Sales teams need to prioritize building meaningful relationships, surpassing the sole focus on sales. The ultimate goal of clienteling lies in fostering prosperous, long-term connections that naturally lead to increased sales over an extended period. Acknowledge that clienteling is a strategic, long-term endeavor, and valuing the significance of enduring relationships will yield far more substantial results than a purely transactional approach. Embrace the long game, and the rewards will be manifold.


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