Why Retail Brands Should Invest in Virtual Clienteling

by Confer With

In recent times, clienteling is synonymous with luxury brands that deliver exceptional customer service. Nowadays, clienteling experiences go beyond knowing the customer on a first-name basis but instead establishes a 360-degree profile of their past purchases, needs, wants, and interests to make tailored recommendations. Combine that with customers sharing a strong emotional connection with a brand that can deliver a personalised online shopping experience, and it highlights a strong opportunity to strengthen customer engagement.

As stores reopen and customers are demanding more personable experiences online, it is time for retailers to reinvent their digital strategy and focus on virtual clienteling services.

In this article, Confer With will focus on the following:

  • What is clienteling?
  • Why should retailers invest in virtual clienteling?
  • Virtual clienteling and live video shopping.

What is clienteling?

Clienteling is a process used to develop meaningful relationships between the brand and customer. Sales associates have access to real-time data where they can make sound recommendations to clients based on past purchases, needs, wants, and interests. However, anyone armed with a tablet can access customer data; what makes clienteling so effective is the people behind it. It requires outstanding customer service, clientele management, and ongoing knowledge of trends. Empower your team with virtual clienteling and they can identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities with every sales transaction. More so, clienteling can make such an impact that customers will purchase and, most importantly, repeat their custom.

Why should retailers invest in virtual clienteling?

In 2020, 84 per cent of shoppers used online resources to support their product purchases, increasing eight per cent from the year before. Meanwhile, customer expectations have changed, drastically. In the past, the key brand differentiator would be a next day delivery model combined with low prices. Now, it’s edging towards who can offer the best customer experience.

What does this mean? Firstly, by equipping a virtual team at the forefront of your eCommerce store you can be readily available when customers begin their search. With the power of live video shopping, it can connect your customers and supply your team with data, knowledge, and customer insight to deliver an immersive clienteling experience. Secondly, customers use online resources to research and evaluate products to make informed decisions. Without virtual clienteling, customers may not be able to navigate across your channels seamlessly and they will become frustrated at the lack of support. By offering a holistic approach to selling, it will initiate a meaningful conversation to evoke product discovery and immersion.

In physical retail, there has been an evident disconnection between the retailer and customer. The customer walks in without leaving any tangible breadcrumbs for the sales associate to trace to make sound recommendations for future purchases. When data is absent, it falls heavily on the sales associate to ask open questions and communicate effectively to have an intricate understanding of their preferences. Boston Retail Partners suggest 63 per cent of retailers struggle to identify their customers, with an additional 20 per cent not being able to identify them at all. This is reflected in how consumers feel, with 36 per cent saying retailers need to offer more personalised experiences, and 80 per cent saying they are more likely to buy from a company that delivers a personalised journey.

The demand is few and far between. Retailers are driving innovation in delivering personable experiences across all sales channels, and customers are demanding personalisation in a world where hundreds if not thousands pass through your eCommerce store a day. But the question is, how can you implement virtual clienteling? Let’s find out.

Virtual clienteling and live video shopping

Delivering one-to-one live video not only mimics in-store experiences but is powered with data-driven actions. Taking a holistic approach to selling will make your customer feel valued, cared for, and unique. People’s frustration at online shopping derives from irrelevant marketing messages and spam. By addressing these issues head-on and offering a virtual assistant can ensure customers are satisfied with an enhanced service. Live video shopping opens valuable dialogue that is so often missed when browsing eCommerce sites.

During lockdown, retailers have recognised the need to connect online consumers with in-store staff, and this will become more of an opportunity to differentiate and develop customer loyalty through superior service. Meanwhile, a proportion of people will be prioritising safety when shopping for non-essentials and at least 50 per cent expect to see businesses follow COVID-19 regulations. By offering a new sales channel in the form of virtual clienteling, you can offer a safe and secure space to those who feel hesitant in the aftershock of the pandemic.

Implementing live video technology makes every product shoppable, and with the addition of showing images, videos, and live reactions it can engage customers in an online shopping experience that has never felt so…human.