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Drive Personalized Engagement With Mobile Clienteling

  • Written by  Tony Busa, Benbria Corporation

Tony Busa BenbriaConnected consumers want shopping experiences that are fast, efficient and relevant to their needs. Mobile clienteling lets retailers give shoppers exactly what they want, anytime and anywhere throughout their journey — before, during and after the store visit. By using mobile to engage, understand and satisfy shoppers, retailers can increase loyalty, average spend and same-store sales.

Mobile clienteling lets retailers captivate shoppers by taking them on a highly personalized shopping journey. By connecting with shoppers through mobile channels — text messages, apps, e-mail, in-store kiosks and more — retail associates can engage them in meaningful dialog and learn what they want, need, like and don’t like. Insights derived from these conversations can help associates deliver the tailored experiences shoppers crave. With an effective mobile clienteling strategy, retailers can:

  • Boost in-store traffic by proactively engaging shoppers via their channel of choice;
  • Increase basket size and sales conversions by supporting real-time up-selling and cross-selling;
  • Recover customers by understanding and acting on what’s working and not working;
  • Capture and retain loyal customers by providing an enhanced shopping experience; and
  • Save the sale by extending the “endless aisle” to the mobile world.

Clienteling In The Mobile Era

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The concept of clienteling far predates the dawn of mobile devices. It is a retail strategy that involves interacting with the shopper and providing personalized in-store service. The rise of mobile usage presents retailers with opportunities to apply clienteling strategies through a far-reaching new medium.

So how do traditional and mobile clienteling differ?

Traditional clienteling is static. Engagement occurs entirely within the confines of the retail store. The basis for engagement is information captured manually, while the shopper is actually in the store.

By contrast, mobile clienteling is dynamic. It works in real time across a variety of channels, giving both shoppers and retailers the freedom to choose how and when to communicate with each other. It’s not bound by time or store walls: engagement can happen anywhere, and it can unfold before, during and after the store visit. And there’s no need for manual data entry. One-on-one mobile dialog is automatically captured and analyzed so it can be used for meaningful action.

Turn Big Data Into Big Action

More and more consumers are using mobile phones for social connections and shopping. According to Nielsen, 87% of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners say they use these devices for shopping activities. Mobile clienteling brings mobile-social interaction to the heart of the shopping experience by facilitating real-time dialog between associates and shoppers. This dialog allows retailers to gather direct insights into customers’ wants, needs, opinions, buying history and behavior.

Retailers can use these insights as the basis for developing customer-centric Big Data strategies. Mobile clienteling uses analysis and reporting to spot trends, identify patterns, extract relevant customer information and make it available to associates when they are communicating with customers. Associates can use this information to make smart and timely product recommendations and address issues before they drive customers away. With the power of Big Data at their fingertips, associates can understand what makes each shopper tick and turn more shoppers into loyal customers.

Improve Store Operations

The retail store no longer stands on its own. Mobile, social and Internet channels now influence its success. To remain competitive, retailers must embrace these channels and use them as a means to learn what they can do better. By acting on insights gathered through these customer-driven channels, retailers can improve store operations and deliver a consistently superior shopper experience.

For example, cloud platforms can help retailers bring mobile clienteling capabilities and best-in-class operations into the store. Mobile clienteling integrates store operations with cloud-based mobile, online, contact center and customer relationship management (CRM) operations. This integration enables retail managers and associates to access data that shows what’s happening in the store right now. This data can form the basis for applying best practices to improve inventory, merchandising, customer service and operations.

Deliver A Personalized Journey

Connected consumers expect to have shopping experiences that are tailored to their needs. Mobile clienteling helps retail associates provide these experiences by giving them access to customer information in real time. Armed with this information, associates can reach out to customers through their preferred mobile channel — at any time throughout the journey — and delight them by engaging in private dialog that addresses their preferences, interests and desires. They can also use this information to propose cross-sell and up-sell offers that are likely to be accepted.

Shopper–associate dialog can take place on any channel. It can begin before the shopper comes to the store and lead to one-on-one selling in the store. It can even extend to follow-up support after the shopper makes a purchase or simply walks out of the store. The goal of a mobile clienteling strategy is to build a relationship between the associate and the shopper, and to leverage this relationship to deliver a superior shopping experience.

Mobile clienteling uses preference data to help associates serve customers’ immediate needs. Having access to meaningful data allows associates to make relevant recommendations and help shoppers make informed decisions. It can even allow them to offer an endless aisle experience by recommending products that aren’t available on store shelves. By combining the immediacy of mobile with highly targeted insights from data, associates can deliver a personalized journey that addresses the customer’s needs, desires and expectations.

Summary

Mobile clienteling strategies can have a positive impact for omnichannel retailers and shoppers alike. These strategies offer retailers opportunities to deliver a highly valued personal service to shoppers while improving sales associate productivity and store operations. When implemented effectively, mobile clienteling will improve top-line revenue by increasing customer loyalty, average customer spend and same-store sales.

Tony Busa is the Director of Marketing at Benbria. Benbria helps omnichannel retailers increase sales conversions, improve store operations, and enhance the customer experience through the following solutions: Endless Aisle Requests, Pickup Requests, Customer Notifications and Personal Shopper Assistance. www.benbria.com

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