Article

Empowering Store Associates to Deliver Next-Level Service and Drive Customer Loyalty

By John Konczal,
Empowering Store Associates to Deliver Next-Level Service

The store is no longer merely a place to make a purchase. It now serves multiple roles in the customer buying journey, as a click and collect center, a returns hub, and a customer service center. This is why leading retailers are taking in-store customer engagement to a whole new level, capitalizing on the customer relationship building opportunities offered by “clienteling.”

Clienteling provides digital sales and service aids to store associates, empowering them to provide next-level service to customers before, during, and after the purchase. Clienteling enables associates to move beyond reactive problem solving to proactive service that anticipates needs and helps customers find high-value solutions.

The most impactful clienteling tools are those that are part of a next-generation point of sale solution that enables store associates to seamlessly navigate from checkout to supporting a customer inquiry. With a next-generation point of sale solution like Manhattan Point of Sale, associates are provided with a complete view of customer engagement, including transaction and interaction history across channels. As a result, store associates can use this information to personalize any customer interaction in the store and provide a higher level of service.

So if you are a retailer looking to equip your store associates with digital clienteling tools – a massive trend in global retail right now – what benefit will clienteling serve the store, customers, and the wider business? 

Store associates as proactive solution providers

Store associates armed with the right digital clienteling tools, typically via a mobile device, can be a retailer’s best offense in today’s ultra-competitive omnichannel world. A clienteling solution can provide store associates digital access to detailed product information at their fingertips to offer customers expertise across the product catalog. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 59 percent of shoppers say the most important attribute related to in-store shopping is the deep product knowledge of store associates.1

Situations do arise where the customer can’t make a purchase decision when engaging with the store associate. This scenario is an opportunity for the store associate to build a relationship with the customer rather than lose the sale. Clienteling provides store associates with tools such as look books to share product information with customers to help them make decisions, whether in store or online. For example, in a fashion retail setting, an associate using our clienteling tool with look book capabilities can curate styles for the customer, including accessories, and share the look book with the customer via the customer’s email or social media account. Equally, a shopper who can’t find her size in the shirt she loves will greatly appreciate being able to order it via a store associate’s tablet for next-day home delivery. In both cases, the store associate is able to satisfy the customer’s need, and the customer leaves the store delighted.

Shopping experiences can be personalized

Personalized selling is essential to the future of retail, as is delivering a frictionless and consistent experience to shoppers.

With Manhattan Clienteling capabilities, the store associate can become a brand ambassador and an orchestrator of immersive customer experiences. What better way to engage with customers than through someone who has a personal connection with the customer? Clienteling allows store associates to arrange individual appointments with customers and view customer history and preferences before the appointment to provide a high-value customer experience.

With access to customer history and preferences through their clienteling tool, store associates have more opportunities to offer the personalized service that builds greater customer loyalty and customer lifetime value. Personalized recommendations or promotions based on shopping history are one of many ways retailers can take the in-store experience to the next level with clienteling. The vast majority of shoppers (91 percent) are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations, according to Accenture.2

Outstanding service can drive sales, traffic, and loyalty

With a tablet or hand-held device in their hands and clienteling app by their side giving access to customer, product, and inventory information, store associates take on an extended and highly valuable role. They are style advisers, home delivery planners, interior design experts, and lifestyle problem-solvers.

The convenience and expert service the shopper receives won’t go unnoticed and repeat visits – across all channels – are far more likely. Pew Centre Research has found that 84 percent of U.S. shoppers prefer to buy from sellers they are personally familiar with.3

And customer loyalty will build over time as service levels increase. Beyond special assistance with products, store associates can be empowered to provide one-to-one support with home delivery and endless aisle fulfillment options, as well as present special offers and promotions or information on new product launches, VIP workshops, and events.

Visibility lights the way

Thanks to Manhattan Point of Sale and Clienteling, friction can be eliminated for customers who might otherwise have been stuck on their purchase journey. Rather than heading online to carry out research, or checking out a competitor’s store offer, customers are assisted on the spot, and the chances of a purchase significantly increase.

This next-level of service is best accomplished by providing store associates with an omnichannel view of the customer via integrated tools, which are designed to provide product-related information and a 360-degree view of inventory. With access to a customer’s profile, an associate may look up important notes, open offers, past purchases, wish lists, and more. The associate may work directly with the customer to identify other products for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

And in true omnichannel fashion, the store associate can make ordering from an extended catalog, arranging home delivery, or setting up future appointments easy to execute. This way, the sale is secured before the customer walks out of the door empty handed.

We’re helping retailers succeed with Manhattan Active™ Omni, one of our core retail solutions that removes the silo structure of a traditional retail system and champions visibility across the retail enterprise.

This technology enables a single view of the customer, takes care of omnichannel order management, and, thanks to a single view of inventory, ensures customers aren’t promised product or delivery options that just aren’t possible. And our next-generation Point of Sale and Clienteling capabilities turn this visibility into action in the store to enable exceptional customer experiences.

In fact, everything is in place to Push Possible®, and, as our retail clients are discovering, this is where customer delight lies.

1. PricewaterhouseCoopers, Total Retail 2017

2. Accenture, 2018 Making it Personal

3. Pew Research Center, Online Shopping and Purchasing Preferences Article