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  • Writer's pictureKatie Tame

New Year, New Opportunities: Clienteling Going Into 2024

Updated: Jan 5

2023 has seen clienteling undergo a dramatic transformation, with dynamic shopping

behaviors prompting a shift in the approach to crafting an effective clienteling strategy.

Clienteling has transcended its traditional characteristics of in-person, one-on-one

interactions. Instead, it now encompasses multiple forms, including directed and self-

directed clienteling, in-store engagements, virtual interactions, and more. The past couple of

months has seen consumers inundated with festive shopping. As brands and sales teams

cast their eyes on 2024, it is necessary to acknowledge how the retail journey will continue

to evolve.


2024 clienteling strategy


Sales teams hoping to excel in 2024 and beyond need to understand the formula of a

successful clienteling strategy, which essentially hinges on four crucial elements:


● Developing and maintaining a deep understanding of your clients.

● Cultivating meaningful relationships.

● Tailoring experiences to individual preferences.

● Engaging in collaborative team efforts to sustain client involvement.


The landscape of clienteling in retail has undergone a significant transformation over the

past decade. Brands have honed their understanding of customer data and harnessed

innovative tools to deliver heightened personalization, both in physical stores and the online

realm.


Clienteling Basics: Understanding the Individual


To lay the groundwork for a successful clienteling strategy that enhances client engagement

through personalization, it is critical to gain a comprehensive understanding of your client -

both in a broader sense and on an individual level.


For brands, achieving a wider understanding of their client base is imperative. This can be

accomplished through the utilization of client data. In navigating clienteling in the digital era,

the effective collection and analysis of client data becomes essential. For businesses

beyond the scope of small, local establishments where personal familiarity with each client is

more feasible, identifying a target audience and getting to know their needs becomes pivotal.

This insight can be derived directly from the data or through a combination of business

insights and market research. Subsequently, the creation of client profiles becomes a

guiding framework for strategy development.


Client profiles serve to categorize consumers into segments based on their data points. This

segmentation proves valuable in comprehending the preferences, needs, and behaviors of

clients within a specific segment. It serves as a blueprint for customization, enabling the

effective personalization of experiences based on the distinct segments each client belongs

to.


Building Relationships


The significance of relationships has reached new heights. In a era where clients

increasingly demand personalized experiences and actively favor brands that deliver them,

clienteling emerges as a vital strategy. It serves as a means to provide relatable,

personalized interactions to clients on a mass scale.


The deeper your understanding of your clients is —derived from data, segmentation, and

conversation —the more adeptly you can establish empathetic connections that provide

insight into their circumstances and personalized recommendations. Such relationships

empower the creation of loyal clients who feel a profound connection to your brand. This, of

course, hinges on client data. To implement personalization on a large scale, possessing

data is imperative to discern the wants and desires of each clients.


In today’s landscape, personalization holds unprecedented significance in areas such as

client satisfaction, loyalty, lifetime value, and the likelihood of making a purchase. 86% of

consumers are inclined to spend more with companies that tailor their experiences, whilst a

notable 59% of consumers prioritize personalization over speed when it comes to customer

service.


New Year, New Opportunities


With the New Year comes new beginnings, resolutions and importantly, January sales.

Following a busy, not to mention costly December, consumers typically enter the January

sales period on the lookout for great deals that won’t break the bank. Often a hectic time for

shoppers, sales teams must prepare – ready to overcome the challenges of busy shop

floors, and leverage interest to generate long-term success and growth.


During busy periods, this can often be a big ask for sales teams, who must keep track of

inventory while serving clients in a timely and personalized manner to deliver high-quality

experiences. Technology can play a prominent role in meeting these demands. With the

right clienteling solutions in place, retailers can optimize sales and provides a great shopping

experience for clients, benefiting from both short and long-term results.


Black Friday achieved a staggering $9.8 billion in online sales in the U.S., signaling a robust

willingness among shoppers to spend. Unexpectedly, overall retail sales in November

experienced a boost, attributed in part to lower gas prices, allowing consumers more

flexibility in their spending, as reported by Bloomberg. This surge in sales has uplifted

retailers’ spirits, validating their substantial efforts to capitalize on the peak shopping season

and giving them more scope to invest in effective clienteling.


While the physical presence of brands remains crucial, there’s a notable shift towards online

sales channels, driven by the need for convenience. To attract in-store customers, retailers

must offer unique experiences not easily replicated, or present their clients with enticing and

personalized offers. Retailers leveraging real-time client data to personalize promotions

based on individual needs can distinguish themselves in a competitive landscape. Despite

the challenges faced by the retail industry this year, several brands are approaching 2024

with optimism, unveiling growth plans.


According to a report from 360iResearch, the global market for clienteling software is poised

to witness a notable growth rate of 23.67% by the year 2030. This surge in investment

underscores retailers commitment to hyper-personalization, driven by one unequivocal

reason: its effectiveness.


Now, with the advent of groundbreaking technologies like generative AI and unprecedented

intensification in retail competition, the trajectory of clienteling is at a pivotal juncture.


Anticipating the future, it’s important to examine the emerging trends in clienteling expected

to shape the landscape in 2024 and beyond:


● Blended Approach: The blend of physical and digital experiences is transforming the

retail landscape. This integration seeks to deliver the tangible satisfaction of in-store

shopping while leveraging the convenience and abundant information found in the

online domain. Digital shopping carts, interactive digital displays, in-store augmented

reality sections, personalized coupons delivered to mobile devices during shopping,

can all be expected to feature in the near future. These tools are poised to empower

clients to shop with enhanced convenience, access to comprehensive information,

and levels of personalization akin to sophisticated clienteling approaches.


● AI: AI is making significant strides in retail, particularly in enhancing client experience

and personalizing shopping journeys. Chatbots, for instance, are becoming

increasingly sophisticated, capable of handling a wide range of inquiries, thus freeing

up human resources for more nuanced client interactions – such as delivering

elevated clienteling services to your top shoppers. Moreover, predictive analytics and

AI-powered recommendation engines are being used to better anticipate client

preferences and provide personalized suggestions, a step towards hyper-

personalized clienteling. AI facilitates better demand forecasting which is crucial for

inventory management, thereby reducing carrying costs and out-of-stock scenarios,

ensuring that customers find what they need when they need it. Letting AI run the

inventory process can free up more human time to do what we do best: provide

clienteling service to other humans.


● Technological Advances: Automation is fostering operational efficiencies across the

retail landscape, spanning from warehouse operations to the showroom. These

technological strides not only streamline warehouse processes and inventory

management but also accelerate order fulfillment and facilitate the adoption of

contactless payment methods.


● Hyperpersonalization: The era of generic promotions and broad-scale marketing is

making way for a new era of hyper-personalized retail clienteling. Leveraging

advanced clienteling platforms such as BSPK, which applies comprehensive data

analytics, retailers can now precisely segment and target clients, achieving

unparalleled accuracy. Sales teams can offer personalized recommendations and

promotions tailored to individual client preferences and purchase history. This

elevated level of personalization not only heightens client satisfaction but also

nurtures brand loyalty and promotes repeat purchases. Importantly, advancements in

personalization technology have democratized access, allowing smaller retailers and

businesses to reap the rewards of intelligent customer targeting.


● Gen Z: A demographic renowned for its distinctive consumption habits, is prompting

retailers to reassess their clienteling strategies. This environmentally-conscious yet

fast-fashion consumers are a generation that desires personalization while harboring

deep concerns about data privacy.Brands that align their values with those of Gen Z,

such as embracing sustainable practices and ensuring robust data security, stand a

better chance of resonating with this demographic and fostering their loyalty.

According to Insider Intelligence, Gen Z exhibits preferences for causes they wish to

support with their spending. To provide effective clienteling services to this

generation, retailers must stay attuned to the evolving preferences and values of their

youthful clientele.


Clienteling Best Practices


Clienteling best practices


Clienteling revolves around understanding your clients and establishing relationships that

foster repeat business. Numerous tactics exist to execute this strategy effectively, and going

into 2024 these are the key ones to focus on:


Encourage team collaboration


70%, of the consumers anticipate seamless collaboration among teams working behind the

scenes, while 54% express the expectation that a company shares internal information to

eliminate the need for clients to reiterate their details.


Deploying an efficient clienteling platform and seamlessly integrating it with your existing

infrastructure enables your entire team to synchronize efforts in understanding client

preferences, managing requests, and facilitating communication. This not only enhances the

experience but also optimizes the effectiveness and efficiency of client outreach and support

for your team.


Prioritize outreach


A successful clienteling strategy involves a considerable amount of outreach - the goal of

clienteling is to deepen long-term relationships. In a noisy marketplace with thousands of

brands competing for your clients attention, you’ll need to initiate if you want to stand out and

build relationships that last.


Proactive outreach can look like:


● Sending out client coupons or thank-you gifts, whether in virtual or physical form.

● Offering personalized recommendations to a select group of clients.

● Introducing loyal clients to newly implemented features and products and providing

demonstrations.

● Issuing referral codes or bonuses to incentivize client engagement.

● Conducting client feedback surveys to gather valuable insights.

● Soliciting feedback from loyal clients on upcoming product designs.

● Sending gentle reminders to client regarding product reorders and appointment

scheduling.


The key is to strengthen the relationship through relevant communication that continually

adds value and reassures your client that you are there for them.


Personalize


The more personalization embedded in your outreach and communications with your client,

the more impactful it becomes. Clienteling thrives on the basis of personalization, and

modern clients anticipate tailored experiences at every juncture.


Personalization does not need to be an extensive undertaking; even subtle touches can

make a significant difference.


● Directly addressing communications to the intended recipient.

● Adapting app experiences according to individual client preferences.

● Offering personalized recommendations based on purchase or search history.

● Providing unique coupons tailored to previous purchases or segmentation data.

● Sending birthday coupons or rewards to celebrate special occasions.

● Utilizing proximity messaging and marketing for targeted engagement.


The depth of your understanding about your clients directly correlates with your ability to

personalize. The more tailored their offers and communications, the higher the likelihood of

customer purchases, loyalty to your brand, and referrals to others.


Keep the relationship going


Client relationships can stagnate over time without consistent attention. A common pitfall in

clienteling is neglecting the relationship once a sale is finalized. Maintain a presence in your

client’s life post-purchase by delivering pertinent and personalized outreach, offers, and

communication.


● Ask for feedback or reviews to gauge satisfaction.

● Send informative communications on maximizing the value of their purchased

product.

● Issue reminders for post-service follow-ups or upcoming appointments, as applicable.

● Provide promotions for new products related to their initial purchase.


Clienteling is not constrained by a fixed end date. While the ultimate goal is, of course, the

completion of a sale, viewing the sale as just one phase in a continuous clienteling journey is

essential. Nurturing ongoing relationships enhances the likelihood of future sales, rendering

the process more efficient for your brand. Going into the future, sale teams should utilize

clienteling as a means to emphasize the relationship rather than solely focusing on making a

sale. The objective of clienteling is to cultivate enduring, successful relationships that

ultimately translate into increased sales over an extended period. In essence, it’s a long-term

strategy, and prioritizing sustained relationships over quick victories contributes more

significantly to your clienteling strategy than a narrow focus on immediate sales.


As 2023 concludes, the retail landscape of 2024 promises exciting transformations. Brands

that continually evolve, leveraging the latest technological innovations, are poised to thrive in

this dynamic market.

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