Clienteling: Empowering Data Where It’s Needed Anywhere and Everywhere

27/06/2019 | by Cathy McCabe

Clienteling: Empowering Data Where It’s Needed Anywhere and Everywhere

Savvy retailers know that their bricks and mortar stores are not going away. They know that while it’s vital to have digital capability, online hasn’t been the all-conquering force some once predicted. Retailers know the idea of a seamless, omni-channel experience coupled with exceptional service is the ideal outcome, but being able to sell to a customer through a number of channels means you must have the ability to actually service a customer on any channel. They know that customers expect consistent levels of service, no matter how they’ve chosen to interact: they expect to be known and they want to have meaningful and relevant communication.

Almost every retailer or service business in the world is working toward what’s being called a single view of customer; in other words, pulling customer data from all channels into one central repository. Where this often falls down, however, is in the execution. There’s not much point in having everything you know about a customer in one place if it’s locked away in a database or backend system and not available where it’s needed most: the front line.

In today’s world, that front line is anywhere and everywhere. It may be on an ecommerce site where a customer is seeing recommendations made to them while adding items to a basket or wishlist; it could a service representative dealing with a customer via Facebook Messenger or WeChat; it might be in an email inbox or it might be on the shop floor.

So, how do retailers make the most out of the data opportunity?


Clienteling has become a popular word in the industry, but it is still used in different contexts. When I talk to people, they seem to have one of two views on clienteling:
360-view of the customer and stock lookup/order online – endless aisle
360-view of the customer and customer communications

The truth is that clienteling encompasses both of those views and more, and the key is really to find the real use cases that will move the needle for the business and focus on them. Retail is transforming and the key is to focus on connecting with new customers and nurturing existing customers; the store still typically produces 80% of retail revenue so marginal changes, such as 2 to 3 extra purchases, can make a big difference.

Customer 360

That 360-degree view of the customer needs to be available no matter where a brand is interacting with them. Diligent use of technology is vital to ensure optimal customer satisfaction: one-size-fits-all might work for a particular handbag, but it doesn’t cut it when it comes to automated marketing. By actively choosing strategies based on a customer’s unique purchase habits, you can ensure that the effort you’re expending is well spent, ensuring customer happiness which means more sales. Personalised interactions make a huge difference.

Help your sales associates to nurture their clients

The best associates are the best because they engage personally with their clients: they’re sending product recommendations through WhatsApp, SMS, and email — and those clients are often the most valuable to a business. If that data isn’t part of your 360-view, you’re missing a key piece of the puzzle and you risk alienating a customer because the full nature of their brand relationship isn’t understood. It’s locked away in a black book, and if the associate leaves, that goodwill goes with them. So make sure that black book is digital and stays with the brand.

In Summary

Quite simply, clienteling means different things to different people and retailers need to identify their unique journeys that will make the biggest impact to them and their customers. Successful clienteling involves leveraging data from all channels and making it available to your greatest asset: your associates. It complements and augments your marketing automation, e-commerce and service channels enabling all teams to work together in unison surfacing the data in a single platform and simplifying the workflow.

By delighting the right customers at the right time, you will achieve increased sales and brand loyalty, and our mission is to help you do that.

Full article can be found and the Salesforce blog here

Cathy McCabe

Written by Cathy McCabe

Cathy has spent her entire career in global retail and IT. She is passionate about bridging the gap between digital and physical experiences by connecting customers, products, and services. Cathy was previously CIO at Jaeger and VP of Customer & Payments Technology at Burberry.

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