Unlocking Customer Loyalty: The Power of Clienteling in a Digital Age

Building Lasting Connections and Driving Revenue through Personalised Engagement

There are many studies showing that it is more beneficial to increase the number of retained customers than to single-mindedly focus on efforts to acquire new ones.

According to recent data collected by Smile.io the longer a customer buys from your business, the higher their average order value will be across most industries. For example, in the beauty and cosmetics industry, customers spend 30% more per order after shopping with a company for six months, and 45% more after 36 months.

At the recent eComm Live event in Belfast, on a panel about Customer Retention with Brown Thomas, Aer Lingus and Next all represented, the value of the omnichannel customer was discussed. BT indicated that an omnichannel customer is worth up to 3.5 times a single channel customer. This underscored the importance of the role of customer retention tactics to drive that omnichannel behaviour.

This is further supported by forecasts which indicate that by 2027 the online retail segment will account for nearly 25% of the total global retail sales. 

Meanwhile, the rising costs of customer acquisition (CAC) has also been widely documented. One study (SimplicityDXshowed an increase of 222% between 2014 and 2022. That cost is continuing to rise as the impact of organic declines, advertising platforms focus on increasing revenue, and the diversity of choice and offering online continues to increase.

Strategic Approaches to Cultivating Long-Term Customer Relationships in an Omnichannel Era

A loyal customer base will provide a steady stream of more predictable income for businesses, reducing marketing costs, spreading customer acquisition costs, and acting as a buffer in a dynamic and evolving marketplace.

But how to secure, engage and nurture such a customer base?

In ‘bricks and mortar’ stores, retailers understand that a personal touch, a smile at the door, and efforts at building relationships with customers go a long way to driving repeat purchases, higher basket values, and improved customer retention. The ‘little black book’ of VIP customers that get high touch and personal treatment is a well known tactic in-store.

At StudioForty9, we recommend taking a leaf from that little black book and focus on a strategic approach to building and nurturing long-term relationships with valuable customers.

This is Clienteling and we can do it online just as it has been done in store for generations.

In an online context, Clienteling involves collecting, analysing, and using customer data to personalise interactions and deliver tailored experiences that drive loyalty and repeat business.

It goes beyond focusing on one particular sales journey or segmenting via broad demographics. Instead we use technology and key data points to build an understanding of individual needs and preferences and with a view to building a more personalised relationship with the client.


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How is Clienteling Different to Loyalty Schemes?

Although both loyalty schemes and clienteling focus on building relationships with customers and encouraging repeat business, there are differences between the two approaches.

Loyalty schemes focus on rewards for transactions. Usually customers earn points which can be redeemed on future purchases when they have built up enough of them.

Clienteling goes much further and focuses on building a relationship, emotional engagement and trust by having an in-depth knowledge of the customer from data points collected over time, and then delivering that individual customer an experience tailored specifically for them.

What are the benefits of clienteling?

  • Emotional connection: Clienteling seeks to create a positive and memorable customer experience that fosters loyalty.
  • Personalised Shopping Experience: It provides a personalised shopping experience for each customer. Customers are offered the products that most apply to their needs and preferences, providing an enhanced customer experience.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction: Clienteling often goes beyond the transactional to also offer customer service options, including direct contact - sometimes via Whatsapp or mobile messaging - and appointmenting.
  • Increased customer loyalty: By building strong relationships, clienteling encourages customers to stay loyal and become repeat buyers.
  • Improved sales and AOV: As customers become increasingly engaged, they are more likely to return and buy new product ranges in greater quantity, and may refer friends too.
  • Reduced customer acquisition costs: As clienteling focuses on building relationships with existing customers, this should in turn lower acquisition costs as each acquired customer spends more over a longer timeframe.
  • Buffer against changes in the market: As a merchant, clienteling speaks directly to your customer proposition as a business. This is the reason a customer does business with you over anyone else. Focusing on this gives you the opportunity to move away from having to fight to win every single transaction in a dynamic and increasingly competitive marketplace.

Getting started with Clienteling?

Clienteling isn’t just a one-time action, it is about fostering a long term relationship with your customer. If you’re unsure where to start, why not reach out to our team today.

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