Effective Clienteling in Brick-and-Mortar Retail
Written by Dipesh Hinduja
2 Min Read
Some might say that consumers have fully bought into online shopping as their primary method of purchasing—all but spelling certain doom for brick-and-mortar retail shopping as we know it—but the truth is that certain verticals such as apparel, home goods, and many others will always have a physical component for shoppers who need to know that what they’re buying actually suits their personal tastes.
As these brick-and-mortar retailers continue to evolve in an uncertain landscape, it’s crucial for them to focus on creating stronger relationships with existing customers and connecting with new and prospective customers. Mobile and app-assisted clienteling, or assisted selling, is an excellent way to do just that, condensing insights from past customer purchases and behavior across the omnichannel into a central repository that gives these associates an edge in recommending just the right item for their preferences. They can also extend visits by sending personalized emails with sales links to items they mentioned or looked at during previous visits. That can lead to big sales lifts and increased foot traffic across stores at a time when both can be hard to come by.
It’s the epitome of a “smart” shopping experience in a brick-and-mortar store, but executing it brings a lot of risks to go along with the rewards. How so? For the answer, let’s take a look at a not-so-typical day in the life of an average apparel retail associate.
It’s Not Working
Today is actually a very special day for your high-end boutique company. You’ve just established a partnership with a white-hot streetwear brand, and they’ve agreed to do an exclusive invitation-only “drop” in your stores. Your social media accounts have been stoking the fires with preview photos, and anticipation is sky-high. Most importantly, your store tablets are equipped with a brand-new clienteling application that allows your associates to create virtual “looks” with the new gear, as well as creating exclusive appointments for your high-end customers to come in and shop at their pleasure.
Your associates start loading up invites to their best customers only to get an error saying that the task can’t be completed at this time. Attempts to manually send hastily-written emails out to these customers creates a debacle, as some never get past the spam filters. A backend configuration issue has crippled the app, and the same social media buzz that made this such an event turns sour as frustrated customers assault your brand for not having it together.
So where did it go wrong? You worked hard to create this streetwear partnership. Your brand and associates created relationships that you could leverage had you thought you had the right hardware and software to make this launch successful. How could this happen?
Despite your best efforts, you’re not a technology company. Mobile Device Management (MDM) administration to push well-tested internal updates and data to your devices is not your specialty. Even more importantly, you don’t have an industry-leading 24x7x365 on-shore mobile help desk to help your associates manage these issues in real-time.
This is where managed mobile services (MMS) come in. The right MMS provider can help you craft a sensible and smart mobile blueprint, with extensive testing of your apps and devices to ensure effective integration on day one. They can also bring craft a holistic MDM solution that offers greater stability and return on your mobile investment. Leveraging a strong partnership with the right MMS provider can be all the difference in getting your in-store clienteling right.
After all, if you’re going to deploy assisted selling apps and hardware to your associates….shouldn’t you do it in style?