Social Clienteling



Social Clienteling
Going ‘Global’ Executive Summary | 1
retail consulting and industry thought leadership
Social Clienteling:
The Art of Customer Engagement
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Social Clienteling | 2
Meet Heather.
Heather is a social shopper who loves lily B.’s* clothing and
follows the retailer on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
Heather receives an invitation to a customer appreciation
event at her local lily B. store this Friday night. Heather
enthusiastically RSVPs the invitation and immediately posts
a comment about the event on her Facebook page for her
friends to see. Heather also visits lily B.’s Facebook page
to browse the catalogue. She looks at her wish list and
“visits” the bright fuchsia loafers she really, really wants.
Meanwhile, lily B. Store Associate, Alma, receives a
message that one of her VIP customers has responded to
the customer appreciation event invitation. Alma accesses
Heather’s account and reviews Heather’s wish list as well
as several other system generated recommendations for
Heather. Alma sends Heather a Facebook message:
“Those fuchsia loafers you like so much are on sale during
the customer appreciation event and we have a pair in your
size waiting for you here at the store, along with a cute bag
to match.” Alma also sends Heather a Pin from lily B.’s
Pinterest pages showing an outfit using Heather’s coveted
shoes and the suggested bag.
While at work, Heather receives the message and Pin; she
re-Pins and tweets the great news for all her friends to see.
She feels appreciated and special. She is happy that lily B.
is interested in having her business.
She can’t wait to attend the event.
* Heather is a fictional character; lily B. is a fictional retailer.
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Social Clienteling | 3
What is Social Clienteling?
The traditional way retailers drove customer behaviors has dramatically changed. As
shown in the previous example, the digital environment is reshaping how customers
access and share information. Today, shoppers are using online and mobile peer
reviews, portable product research, and online price comparisons before purchasing. It
is estimated that by 2015, as many as 75% of customers (up from 25% in 2010), will tell
their friends about good or bad shopping experiences using social media.1
Social Clienteling is much more than equipping store associates with mobile technology
to facilitate transactions or lookup customer purchase history. To succeed in this new
world, retailers must proactively seek insights into their customers‘ likes, dislikes, and
preferences and then use this insight to create personal customer experiences.
Merchants are adopting Social Clienteling strategies to engage with customers to
provide the quality, pricing, personal service and convenience that today’s customers
Social Clienteling leverages real-time visibility into shoppers’ omnichannel and social
media activities. Done well, this practice gives the retailer a 360-degree view of each
shopper’s social profile through data collection, storage and analysis. In the most
limited circumstances, a shopper’s social profile includes all transaction information
across all channels, shopper wish lists, stated preferences, shopper contact details and
payment information. More robust social profiles also take into consideration shopper
lifestyle attributes and preferences from multiple external data sources.
Gartner Key issues for customer experience management 2011
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Social Clienteling | 4
What are the Benefits of Social Clienteling?
Social Clienteling can improve customer loyalty and create shopper advocates who will
purchase and promote a brand for the long term. Social Clienteling provides a variety of
benefits to both the customer and the retailer, as shown below.
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Social Clienteling | 5
Putting Social Clienteling into Practice
In order to take advantage of Social Clienteling strategies, retailers must develop their
enterprise-wide omnichannel strategy, which involves fundamental organizational and
process transformation, enabled by technology. Roles and responsibilities at the store
level, the call-center, and at corporate need to change to become customer-centric.
New processes need to be defined and implemented to incorporate much more
personalized customer interactions.
Technology enablers can include customer databases, Customer Relationship
Management (CRM) systems, social media monitoring tools, data warehouses, analytic
tools, Point-of-Sale (POS) systems, mobile devices and more.
Effective use of data is also critical. Traditional retail clienteling may have included
collecting information in-store, through catalogue communications, via the call center or
online. However, those interactions were disjointed and siloed, and historically, most
retailers did little with the data they collected.
Social Clienteling is a customer-centric,
intelligent, near-real time way to analyze and
Enterprise-wide process and
act upon what customers are telling the
organizational changes, enabled
retailer. This means strong integration of all
by technology, are required to
data available, including traditional enterprise
accommodate new ways of
data coupled with new data sources such as
handling customer information
social, mobile, geo-location, external, reviews,
and new methods of
etc. The holistic use of these data sources and
interacting with customers.
understanding how they work together to
create an actionable, 360° view of the
customer is absolutely essential.
Engagement with the customer must be personalized to that customer’s specific needs.
By collecting customer communications from social media, as well as data such as
purchase history, wish lists, etc. from all channels, retailers can create a social profile
for each customer that can be used to develop one-to-one marketing and
communication strategies. In addition to customer shopping preferences and lifestyle
data, it is critical to understand how each customer wants to interact with the retailer.
This includes understanding the customer’s specific preferences around timing,
frequency, devices, and vehicles for the retailer’s communications. For example, one
shopper’s preference may be to receive communications via text on a daily basis, while
another may only wish to receive weekly notices via email. Developing the appropriate
strategies to incorporate these preferences can result in increased sales and long-term
customer loyalty.
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Social Clienteling | 6
The brand message must also be consistent across all channels. Social media
channels and mobile applications let shoppers interact with brands at any time,
anywhere. This access can also assist the retailer in building personal relationships
with their customers. When retailers listen to what shoppers are saying about their
brand and their competition, they can uncover crucial influencers, benchmark the
competition, and introduce proactive responses within their customer service teams.
Lastly, Social Clienteling involves the use of new measurements and rewarding
employees who are on the front lines and interacting with customers on a daily basis.
Rewarding sales associates should take into consideration their performance against
key metrics such as new customer attainment, gathering incremental customer data,
customer satisfaction and sales growth. Employees who are rewarded by their Social
Clienteling efforts will work harder for their company and have more employer-loyalty,
since they understand how it directly benefits them.
Copyright © The Parker Avery Group. All rights reserved.
Social Clienteling | 7
Final Word
The new world of Social Clienteling is different than traditional clienteling in many
significant ways. Traditional clienteling is stationary. Social Clienteling is actionable and
ever changing. Social Clienteling involves a holistic view of the shopper that is
developed by multi-channel interactions over time, coupled with enthusiastic sales
associates and advanced technology to drive the ongoing customer shopping
experience and keep customers delighted and engaged with the brand.
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Social Clienteling | 8
The Parker Avery Group
The Parker Avery Group is a boutique strategy and management consulting firm that is a trusted
advisor to leading retail brands. We combine practical industry experience with proven consulting
methodology to deliver measurable results. We specialize in merchandising, supply chain and the
omnichannel business model, integrating customer insights and the digital retail experience with
strategy and operational improvements. Parker Avery helps clients develop enhanced business
strategies, design improved processes and execute global business models.
Learn more about us at:
for more details
Robert Kaufmann
CEO | [email protected]
Lynne Ward
Senior Manager | [email protected]om
Tricia Garrett
Senior Manager, Marketing | [email protected]
Copyright © The Parker Avery Group. All rights reserved.

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