The 4 C’s of Clienteling

Clienteling is the technique used by retail sales associates to convert the casual customer into a regular client. But you probably already knew that if you’re reading this article or using a tool like Clientbook.

What makes clienteling really successful is focusing on the four Cs. Let's look at each in more detail:


Usually this begins with walk-ins who visit your store for the first time, so naturally you want to greet them personally. You begin a conversation by talking about their needs. You’re friendly and not pushy.You’re consultative, not salesy. This is where trust (or connection) begins to develop.

When the time is right you get some personal information: name, email, product likes and dislikes, who they buy for, special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, moving into a new home, starting a new school year, etc. Get as much of this data regardless of whether they buy. It’s your best chance to get them back in the store again.This information can later be supplemented with point-of-sale data after they’ve purchased or returned to the store.


Continuity is about sending out regular, relevant messages.The best way to do this is to automate groups of messages, and personalize others.

A best practice is to map out automated activities and align the out-of-store experience with the in-store (see the graphic below for what this looks like visually and map out your own customer lifecycle). Match in-person touch points with each message you send.

The brand will stay the same on all communications: in-store, payment, sale invites and personal shopping advice. That’s continuity.


Let’s be honest, most customers will forget about you the moment they leave the store. Send a text and they remember you for a couple minutes, and they think about the products you showed them.

Be consistent with your communications and you become somebody they trust. We touched on this in Continuity, but let’s repeat: The moment you stop communicating regularly is the moment you lose a client. After you establish trust, you have to maintain it with consistent, relevant communication. That means delivering the right message at the right time.

It also means the sales process has to be the same exceptional experience every time. You want good reviews, but what you really want is great clients coming back again and again because they know exactly what they are going to get.


When it comes to clienteling, converting first-time buyers into repeat buyers is the name of the game. The right tool helps since texting is the preferred communication of over 80% of consumers. The open rate percentage on text messages is usually in the high 90s. It’s the screen they spend the most time with.

With each response, you develop a clearer profile of each customer and a deeper connection.

Conversion is also about measuring success. After all, you can’t change or fix what you can’t measure. All of those client interactions and engagements create a powerful history and should give you actionable data, enabling you to make better decisions and convert more prospects into buyers, and first-time customers into long-term clients. Having this information easily accessible in one place saves you a lot of headaches and allows you to set trackable goals.

Equally important is having the ability to measure and track every aspect of your sales process and the activities of your sales associates.

In Conclusion

Whether you've been clienteling for years or just looking to get started with your sales associates, the 4 C's are a good reminder to keep it simple plan things out. And don't forget the fifth C: Clientbook. Having the right tool to clientele at scale can make all the difference.

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