Blog March 24, 2022 |

Omni-Channel Clienteling: The Future of Retail

Clienteling, which refers to retailers’ ability to provide personalized service and suggestions to customers who visit their ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores or connect with their call centers and customer service teams, used to be arduous for many retail companies.

That’s because these organizations had insufficient shopper insights. More specifically, these companies lacked a unified, real-time view of all online and offline customer data.

In-store associates and call center and customer service reps struggled mightily, as their point-of-sale (POS) and CRM software, among other data-driven tools, couldn't connect with other tech in their stacks, like those that track behaviors, interests, and engagement.

Thus, these professionals lacked context and an understanding of who they spoke with on the floor, on the phone, and in live chats on their retail businesses’ websites.

It's a much different story today for retailers that have a single customer view to help sales associates, showroom representatives, call center employees, and growth-focused teams (e.g., marketing, customer experience) craft a cohesive, omni-channel clienteling strategy.

And it's customer data platforms (CDP) like BlueConic that enable retailers to build this actionable single customer view and empower teams to improve their clienteling efforts.

The CDP's important role in retailers' omni-channel clienteling strategies

When cross-functional teams are able to work off the same set of unified first-party data that updates in real time, traditional and digitally native retail businesses can build mutually beneficial relationships with customers:

  • Customers get bespoke experiences based on their interests, preferences, behaviors, past purchase history, loyalty status, and more.

  • Retailers earn their loyalty and are able to upsell and cross-sell them more effectively.

And customer data platforms can help retail organizations streamline their CX strategies, transform their relationships with customers, and boost their bottom lines.

Consider BlueConic. Our pure-play CDP collects critical customer data across all the channels and systems in a retailer’s tech stack. This includes all the tools in-store associates and customer service and call center reps utilize: in-store POS, customer service/ticketing software, live chat tools, and dedicated clienteling apps.

This first-party data is unified at an individual level, then sent back to in-store and call center and customer service staff members and their tools in a format they can use to improve how they engage with customers (i.e., provide prompt, helpful responses and answers).

Exchange of data is supported both in real time and batch, and the business users who manage their BlueConic tenants for their retail companies decide exactly which data gets sent to those downstream systems — either the entirety of profiles or just certain subsets of shopper data — for these associates to access.

This sharing of dynamically updated data aids service-centric retail employees in many ways:

  • In-store associates can pull up a returning customer's profile data on their clienteling app to instantaneously view that individuals' past shopping behavior (e.g., specific items/brands bought, clothing/shoe size, color preferences, average order value). This then informs their engagement approach with said customer to sell more effectively than had they lacked these shopper insights.

  • Call center and customer service reps charged with quickly and efficiently resolving customer concerns can use this same profile data as well. For instance, they can factor in past customer communications (e.g., tickets submitted, interactions with live-chat tools) and engagement (e.g., loyalty-program sign-ups, preferred store locations) to answer questions and satisfy shoppers.

Data can also be shared from these associates back to growth-focused teams.

For instance, as a POS system processes a particular transaction, that purchase data syncs automatically and immediately with the persistent profile for the customer in question.

This transactional data for in-store shoppers can aid marketers' cross-channel customer lifecycle orchestration efforts (i.e., delivering highly relevant, timely, individualized messaging to customers as they move through their distinct journeys).

How retailers use BlueConic to build cohesive clienteling strategies

Those are the high-level pros of clienteling with BlueConic. Here are more specific examples of how retail companies benefit from our pure-play customer data platform when it comes to their omni-channel clienteling efforts.

Reduce returns and exchanges with personalized service.

The personalized level of service retail employees are able to offer with BlueConic means their customers are less likely to buy items that don't end up fitting them or are outside of their comfort zone in terms of style and price.

In turn, those individuals become less likely to return or exchange those items.

It’s retailers that go above and beyond with personalized recommendations and assistance like this, online and offline, that enhance the likelihood of more positive brand sentiment and greater customer and brand loyalty.

Real-time data access also helps call center and customer service reps resolve customers’ issues and answer their questions quicker, which leads to less frustration for customers (and diminishes the odds they churn).

Deploy CLV and next-best-offer and -action models.

Providing custom-tailored recommendations to shoppers browsing physical stores isn’t the only means of personalization BlueConic enables for retail organizations today.

Technology users can also configure and deploy machine learning models in AI Workbench in BlueConic, such as next-best-offer and -action recommendations, that can be calculated for each customer profile to provide personalized messaging to shoppers.

And these business users can do so without the need for assistance from IT or data science required, thanks to BlueConic’s intuitive, easy-to-use, point-and-click interface.

Sharing insights from these models to in-store associates' clienteling apps on their mobile devices means those associates have multiple recommendations from which they can choose to share with shoppers based on their unique buying patterns and product interests.

Another AI Workbench use case involves predictive scoring. The score generated from BlueConic's out-of-the-box customer lifetime value (CLV) model can be sent to the clienteling app used by in-store associates.

This helps them understand when they're speaking with loyal and/or high-spending customers and ensure they provide them with a VIP, white-glove brand experience.

Why retailers without a clienteling strategy — and a CDP — are missing out

"Competing in this omnichannel world requires understanding complex shopping journeys and building a customer engagement strategy that provides a high-quality, seamless experience," RIS News contributors and retail marketing experts Dianne Inniss and Babs Ryan recently wrote.

It's no longer enough to focus on one channel over another with your engagement model. You must account for customers' online and offline activity, marry that data, and leverage it to provide the most compelling CX possible.

What's more, you need to utilize this single view of the customer based on consented first-party data to differentiate your retail business from competitors.

Exceeding customers' expectations today means delivering messaging and experiences tailored to their unique experiences, interests, and interactions.

And it's pure-play CDPs like BlueConic that can empower both your business technology users and ‘offline’ employees alike to construct a comprehensive clienteling strategy that can help them go above and beyond for your customers.

Download our Omni-Channel Acceleration eBrief to find out how traditional and digitally native retailers use a CDP to make the most of their customer data and shopper insights.

Guides Omni-Channel Acceleration in Retail Learn More

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