The effects of inflation on the American consumer are everywhere you look these days. Between rising gas prices, sky-high mortgage rates, and more and more money on groceries going out the window, it seems that price increases are all around us.
Forbes reports that collectively, the American people lost over $1 trillion dollars to inflation last year.
When even basic necessities have drastic price increases, consumer spending is bound to be influenced, especially on non-essential expenses. This can be a big problem for retailers, and even more so if you're selling expensive luxury products where consumer demand is down.
So what's a business owner to do when the current inflation rate is changing public spending?
If you're experiencing inflation anxiety, we've got five tips on how clienteling can help you make a plan to fight inflationary pressures and meet your sales goals.
What is clienteling?
Before we dive into our tips on how clienteling can help retailers fight inflation, let's go over what clienteling is.
Clienteling is a retail technique where retail sales associates work to build long-term relationships with buyers, converting one-time customers into loyal clients. This helps you earn repeat business, improve retention, and elevate your overall brand.
It's all about collecting client data and then using it to engage with customers when they're not in your store, such as by sending them a personalized offer on a product you know they'd like, earning their loyalty and getting them back in your store.
Five clienteling tips to help you survive inflation
Clienteling can be a major contributor to increasing your sales and earning loyal clients, even during uncertain economic times.
Below we've identified five tips on how clienteling can be your secret weapon against inflation.
1. Identify your best customers
First, use clienteling to figure out who your best, most loyal customers are. Which of your customers come in the most often? Which ones spend the most? Which ones have the best customer lifetime value?
When consumers are feeling the effects of inflation, or even the fear of future inflation, they're going to question the value of everything they buy. This makes it hard for retailers to convince a brand new customer to give their brand a try when they're already fighting to pay for essential expenses like food, gas, and housing.
So don't waste time and money chasing customers who aren't ready to buy yet. Identify who your best customers are and work to get them back into your store. They already understand the value your products have and the positive impact your brand has in their life—all they need is a reminder from you.
2. Get personal
Next, once you've identified who your best customers are, it's time to make them a personalized offer.
When you know your clients' preferences and tastes, you can tailor offers they are most interested in. Determine what products complement purchases they've already made, what occasions they are most likely to shop for, and who is on their list.
For example, if you own a jewelry store and have a client that purchased a necklace for their significant other, you could reach out with a personalized offer on a set of matching earrings. This works even better if it's close to their birthday or anniversary, making them even more likely to buy.
Today's buyers increasingly expect this level of personalization from retailers, and will even spend more when they get it. Data from the Business Impact of Personalization study finds that people are 40% more likely to spend more money than they planned on when they identify the shopping experience to be highly personalized.
3. Make the most of your sales team
Your customers aren't the only area to focus on during turbulent economic times. Your sales team is just as important. Oftentimes going hand in hand with a high rate of inflation is high turnover and labor shortages.
After all, your sales team is likely getting hit with higher prices for their basic needs and may need to look elsewhere for better opportunities. In fact, survey data from Checkr finds that 74% of retail workers surveyed are either already searching for a new job or are thinking about it this year. Of those retail workers, 34% are looking for higher wages.
If you're struggling to hire more workers during this tight labor market, make the most of the ones you already have and automate time-consuming tasks with clienteling software.
Nothing beats personal messages and face-to-face interactions, which is why clienteling software like Clientbook aims to help retailers make the most of retail technology without losing the personal touch.
For example, instead of automating a mass message to send to clients, you can set up an automated reminder to go out to your sales associate to text a client personally. Or, you can input important dates in your clients' lives, like birthdays and anniversaries, so you're reminded when you should reach out to wish them well and remind them to come shop with you again.
By utilizing clienteling software, your current sales associates can become more efficient and do the work of many.
4. Rethink your advertising
Advertising is another area that you'll want to switch up when today's consumers don't feel they have as much purchasing power. With customer acquisition costs rising rapidly, your advertising dollars aren't going to go far.
We're not saying don't advertise. We're saying tap into your existing customer base more and use them to your advantage. This goes back to our first tip: focus on the customers you know are ready to buy and the ones who seem "recession-proof."
So instead of running an ad to get your brand name out to new customers, pause those campaigns and instead focus on getting your loyal customers to talk you up. Encourage them to write a review for you online. Have them bring a friend with them the next time they shop with you.
By using your loyal clients, you'll save money on advertising costs while also reengaging with a buyer you already know is happy with you. It's a win all around for you, your loyal client, and their friend who's going to be introduced to a great new brand.
5. Never waste a good contact
Finally, make sure you're collecting data on your shoppers so you don't waste a good contact.
Unfortunately, not everyone who walks through your door will buy something from you that day. Make sure you have an easy process to capture important details from store visitors who don't make a purchase. Chances are, your competitors are already doing this and will follow up with them. You should too.
Get their name, contact information, product preferences, and other information that will help you reach out and make a personalized offer later to encourage them to come back another day and make a purchase with you.
With today's consumers worried about how much they're spending at the gas pump, adjusting their grocery budget, and working to save on other essential expenses, it can be tricky for retailers to compete. However, clienteling can make it possible.
By focusing on your best customers, offering personalized shopping experiences, and utilizing clienteling software like Clientbook to make the most of your sales team, you'll have the perfect game plan for ridding you and your customers of inflation anxiety.
The best part is, when inflation slows down and price stability returns, you'll already have a habit of clienteling that will continue to foster business growth during a booming economy.
If you're ready to see how clienteling with Clientbook can help you combat inflationary pressures, book a demo with us today.