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Clienteling? Is that even a word?!

It certainly is! If, as an independent retailer, you think that Clienteling is something that is beyond your capacity, let Abacus Solutions explore a few simple ways in which you too could begin to really understand the demands of your customers.

So, first of all, what exactly is ‘Clienteling’? As it’s a term that clearly wasn’t in usage twenty years ago, we can safely assume the concept didn’t exist two decades ago! A fairly new phenomenon, ‘Clienteling’ is an approach used by retailers to establish- and sustain- effective consumer relationships. Put simply, it is the idea of using data, built up from online services, to gain insights into consumer preferences and behaviours which is then managed by retailers in order to influence future consumer behaviour.

If, for example, your clienteling research gives you access to, for example, the ‘wish list’ of a customer, you would then be able to direct specific marketing towards that customer in line with the products identified on that wish list. If, to give another example, your clienteling had thrown up the fact that a customer had last purchased a mattress from you eight years ago, then you would be able to direct mattress-related marketing towards that customer in order to push them towards making a new purchase.

Clever? Yes, it is. The main benefit for the customer is that they feel they are the recipient of a tailored service- we all like the idea of a ‘personal’ approach and clienteling certainly allows for that. From a retail angle, the advantages are many-fold: improved customer relationships; targeted marketing opportunities; greater opportunities for repeat custom…

This is all well and good but you may well be already aware that specially tailored ‘clienteling’ software currently available comes with a hefty price tag and, for an independent retailer in an already difficult market, many of us are just not willing to invest that amount into this concept. So, are there any other ways in which you can begin to ‘clientel’ without busting your bank balance?

Thankfully, the answer is yes and the method simple. Making sure that your website is up-to-date and effective will allow you to gain hugely helpful insights into the behaviours and preferences of your own web-shoppers. Once you are at the point where browsers are using your site purposefully and carefully, you will then start to gain massively helpful information straight from Google Analytics. Google Analytics is not bolt-on software yet still provides information on a whole host of browsing information such as: age and gender profiles; time and duration of browsing; most and least popular landing pages; bounce rates; devices used; geographical location of browsers…

Without paying any extortionate fee, you will find that you are able to access and build up a reasonably accurate profile of your online browsers. Once this picture starts to evolve, and you understand the requirements and the profile of those web-shoppers, you can start to target that more efficiently, both in store and online. Looking at bounce rates and duration of browsing will enable you to plug any gaps in your website, improving the experience of the site and looking to enhance pages where the bounce rate is highest. Being aware of the age profile of your visitors will enable you to design your site and tailor your offers with that group particularly in mind and geographical location may also make a difference when you consider the e-commerce opportunities offered online. Simple strategies will make a difference and will filter into your ‘bricks and mortar’ store. A customer who feels that the website meets their specific need is more likely to take the time to visit said store. Additionally, allowing your sales people access to the data you have accumulated will, in turn, allow them to personalise their in-store service, therefore increasing sales in store.

However, the information you gain from careful study of Google Analytics will only serve you well if it is representative. The data will not be representative if your website is just not working and doing the job for you. The first stage in successful clienteling? Get your website sorted to the highest standard you can. Then you know that the data you are looking at is telling you something useful.

Clienteling- make the first client your own website. Then the opportunities are limitless.

If you need any help or information, please feel free to contact us as detailed below.
E. Barker & Son (Hillsboro) Limited
Reg. Office: 39 Burton Street, SHEFFIELD, S6 2HH
Reg No: 254789
VAT No: 172 4086 69