Clienteling Personalizes In-store, Online Shopping

“Clienteling” enables shoppers and personnel in physical stores to interact with online channels, such as web, mobile, and social. Saks Fifth Avenue, for example, has used clienteling for over five years.

With clienteling, in-store associates access an application that provides info about a shopper, such as order history and preferences. The result is merchants can better serve customers and drive higher average value orders. Customers save time, and store associates can close sales faster.

A few clienteling systems enable customers to schedule appointments before they visit the store. This can help associates to prepare for the visit.

Benefits of Clienteling

A clienteling application can be used in many ways, such as:

Survey the shoppers while they are in the store. This could augment existing information about a customer, such as shopping preferences, wish list items, and favorite purchases. That data can help match products to customers and increase overall sales.

Cross-sell and up-sell products. Say a shopper is interested in a shoe on display. The application can determine whether the shoe is available in the store in the shopper’s size and color.

Create personalized offers for shoppers while they are in the store. This could be further enhanced if the shopper scans the bar code of an item, perhaps a shirt, that interests her. The application could then suggest matching products based on the scanned barcode. Examples might be pants, shoes, and jewelry

View the shopper’s activity on the company’s website or mobile app. Shoppers and associates can use products left in the cart in those channels for recommendations or personalized offers in the physical store.

Improve loyalty and service by helping customers meet their shopping needs in a shorter period of time.

Expand customer relationships by sending personalized thank you notes or birthday greetings or by inviting customers to a shopping event.

Facilitate virtual consultations via video calls. An associate can show products on a video call, and the customer can purchase them on the website or app, with the items shipped to her location.

Assign high-value customers to specific associates, who learn the customers’ preferences and recommend products accordingly. Associates could also share upcoming, unannounced products.

Facilitate omnichannel sales by allowing a single order to have a mix of products from multiple channels, such as the physical store and website.

Expedite checkouts. Clienteling also integrates with point-of-sale systems to enable in-store checkout while interacting with the customer, eliminating having to wait in line.

Enable direct interactions via email, social media, or SMS. The messages are tailored to each customer with scheduled follow-ups and reminders. The customers can respond to the messages as needed.


Clienteling providers include Tulip and Endear. Both offer multiple versions — from free to thousands of dollars — with many options to integrate with ecommerce platforms. Third-party vendors can also enable integrations.

Gagan Mehra
Gagan Mehra
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