A major shift is happening in the retail industry from products to relationships. Studies show customers want a relationship with somebody they can trust. They want more than product reviews. They want an expert, somebody who knows their tastes, budget, upcoming needs and will let them know when the things they want are on sale.
In addition, today’s customers are sophisticated and use technology to enhance human relationships. Retail has to keep up or die. Furniture retail is no different.
How do furniture retailers build long-term relationships with clients at scale? The answer is a process called clienteling.
What is clienteling?
By definition, it’s a technique used by retail sales associates to build long-term relationships with key customers.”
Clienteling has become a bit of a buzzword recently. At Clientbook, we’d like to think we’ve played a small part in evangelizing this message. After all, we’ve come to be known as “The Clienteling Company.” That’s cool with us since we built our entire business aimed at helping retailers turn first-time customers into long-term clients.
How will clienteling help your store and sales associates?
Be Backs: One of the challenges we commonly hear from furniture sales associates is their struggle with “be backs.” A customer comes in, browses, and says they’ll be back, only never to be seen again.
The right clienteling tool can help furniture sales associates capture all the important and relevant prospect details, including their likes and preferences, making it easy to build a relationship with them beyond their initial visit.
Out of Stock: Currently, most furniture stores are dealing with supply chain issues and out-of-stock items. While this is a challenge, it also presents an opportunity.
Effectively clienteling will enable your sales associates to stay in touch with clients and provide timely updates while their items are on backorder. They can even upsell complementary in-stock items while clients wait.
Sales Cadence: Every day, furniture store owners wish their sales associates had a way to know when to reach out to clients and what to have them say. After all, many associates are still trying to manage their clients on an old-school Rolodex of cards. Those days are over.
With the right clienteling software, your sales associates can create the perfect sales cadence by delivering the right message to the right client at the right time.
How to get started.
Clienteling 101 is building on-going and sustainable relationships with customers. There are best practices every furniture retailer should adopt to be successful with clienteling:
- Bring client information into one place.
Furniture retailers have data in multiple silos (notebooks, spreadsheets, 3rd party messaging apps, point of sales systems, and more), making it difficult, if not impossible, to effectively clientele.
This can take time, so a good place to start is by identifying all the different places in which your client information currently resides.
- Make it easy.
The Clientbook clienteling tool will enable sales associates to never miss a customer follow-up by automatically creating task reminders based on staff and store best practices. Putting common tasks like sending reviews and payment links or creating wish lists right at the fingertips of your sales associates will make life so much easier for them. They’ll thank you.
- Automate for scale.
For most retailers, clienteling isn’t done consistently simply because it’s too manual, too time-consuming, and impossible to scale when you have thousands of clients.
Depending on the industry, a good sales associate has between 500 and 1,000 clients. That’s a lot of personal notes, texts, emails to write, anniversaries, service dates, product updates, and even names to remember.
Clientbook can help you start by taking the data you’ve collected and use it to create a sequence for the post-sales journey. Hitting clients with the right message at the right time will bring them back to the store again and again while freeing up the sales associate from the manual “grunt work,” allowing them to do what they do best – sell.
What your furniture clients will experience through clienteling is a retailer who knows them, recommends products that complement past purchases, and knows when they are buying and what they can afford.
For more information about how this HFA Solution Partner can help you, click here.