Clientbook Blog
December 5, 2023

Clienteling best practices: Three simple ways to start clienteling

Clienteling, or retail clienteling, is a great way for retailers to enhance customer satisfaction and build long-term relationships with key customers, fostering loyalty over time. In the evolving retail landscape, where individual customer needs and personalized communication are paramount, this strategy becomes even more critical. 

However, if your retail sales associates haven't made a habit of building client relationships and customer interactions, it can be tricky getting the ball rolling.

But getting started is actually easier than you think—especially if you have a clienteling software like Clientbook on your side to streamline the process and offer easier access to customer data. 

In this article, we'll go over the clienteling best practices you need to set your retail business up for success as you start clienteling, focusing on creating a relevant customer experience and implementing effective business strategies.

New to clienteling? Get our starter kit for beginner's tips you need to point you in the right direction

What is clienteling and why should retailers be doing it? 

Clienteling, or relationship selling, is a retail strategy used to earn loyal customers by having your sales associates focus on the customer relationship more than just closing a sale. This approach is crucial in today's context where customer issues and the need for relevant content in the retail experience are becoming increasingly important.

So when a luxury retailer, like a jeweler or high-end fashion boutique, gets to know a client—their product preferences, important dates in their life, and personal style—your sales team can make personalized recommendations and offers based on what they know they'd like best.

In addition, in an age where mobile devices play a significant role in shopping, incorporating strategies like virtual clienteling can significantly enhance the shopping experience.

Whether manual or digital, this style of selling benefits retailers in a lot of ways. 

Here are few other key benefits of clienteling: 

  • Boosts sales: Today's buyers want and expect a personalized shopping experience. Epsilon reported that 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences.
  • Foster customer loyalty: The more your team gets to know your clients—and the more they make spot-on product recommendations—the more trust you'll earn from clients. And that trust will likely translate to repeat business. 
  • Elevate your brand: When every client feels like a VIP in your store, that sets you apart from other retail stores that aren't prioritizing customer engagement. And when a single customer has a good experience, they're sure to share your brand with others and earn you new clients. 

Three clienteling best practices to get you started 

Now that we've covered what retail clienteling is and why it's important, let's dive into how you can make it happen at your retail store. 

1. Set a clienteling goal for your sales team

First, when you're just starting out, setting a goal for a specific number of clienteling activities your sales associates should be responsible for in a given day will give them something tangible to work toward. 

This could include sending out reminders, making a personalized product recommendation, reaching out on a birthday or anniversary, or calling the client with a product update.

We recommend setting a "rule of five" and encouraging your sales associates to do five clienteling activities a day to start out. You even gamify this and turn every engagement or personal interaction into a point—whoever gets the most points at the end of the day wins! 

2. Segment your customers

Once you've set a goal for your team, segment your customers so you know which ones they should focus on and how to interact with them.

If you have a lot of important clients on your contact lists, it can be difficult to know who to send messages to and when.

By segmenting your customers based on factors like where they're at in the customer journey, their customer lifetime value, or how often they visit your store, your team will have a better idea of who to prioritize.

We recommend putting your customers into one of three buckets:

1. VIPs: These are your high-value customers you see regularly. They come to your physical store often and spend a lot when they do. Your team should have a detailed history about them, what they like, and who they shop for.

2. Steady Eddys: These customers come in maybe once or twice a year, usually around a holiday or special occasion. They may not be as high spenders or as frequent visitors as your VIPs, but your team should still have personal relationships with them. 

3. First Timers: These are the shoppers who have made one purchase with you, but you haven't seen them again. You may not even have a formal customer profile on them yet. 

However you decide to categorize your client base, once you have them segmented, you'll strategize how your team should spend their time. You may decide to dedicate more of your team's resources to ensuring client retention for your VIP clients, start offering more personalized service to your middle-of-the-road clients, or utilize digital channels to reengage your first timers online.   

3. Go beyond reviews

Finally, you may be tempted to slow down your clienteling efforts after you've earned a client's loyalty and given you a great review online—but don't stop there!  

For most retailers, getting the review is where the relationship with the client ends. But in reality, this should actually be the beginning of a post-sales journey to build long-lasting relationships with clients.

Map out what the customer experience and touch points might be for the next 6 to 12 months. Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a wishlist of items they may like based on their purchase history
  • Be aware of any special life events that might be happening in that time frame, such as birthdays, anniversaries, or graduations
  • Send a message that gives them a reason to revisit the store, such as a service task reminder, store event, or promotion.

Going beyond reviews is the key to turning a first-time customer into a long-term client.

How clienteling software like Clientbook can help

The best way to set your team up for clienteling success is to invest in an advanced clienteling tool, like Clientbook. Our software aids in understanding customer insights and enhances customer acquisition strategies.

By utilizing retail technologies like Clientbook, you can move from having client information scattered across notebooks and sticky notes into having real-time customer data in one, centralized location. 

From there, you can easily search, filter, sort, and tag your clients with ease. You'll be able to build customer wish lists for each client, keep tabs on their shopping history and even send messages right to their phone. 

Better yet, you can even automate the more time-consuming clienteling tasks, like customer follow-ups, so you'll never forget to reach out.

Interested? Take a tour of Clientbook's software to see how we can help you start clienteling 


If you're new to clienteling, following the best practices in this article will point you in the right direction and kickstart your sales team toward success. But don't forget—you don't have to figure it all out on your own. Clientbook can help you start digital clienteling with ease.

If you're ready to see how Clientbook's software can help you start connecting with your clients on a personal level, book a demo today.

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