The key to any good business model—whether at a jewelry store, fashion boutique, beauty business, or furniture showroom—is building a base of core clients that you know you'll see time and time again, rain or shine.
But how do you build such loyal business relationships, especially if you're a smaller retail business that's just starting out?
If you're looking to grow your client base at your retail store, this article has the tips you need to get started.
What is a client base?
As a retailer, your client base refers to your current customers that regularly visit your store and make purchases with you.
Terms like customer base, current client base, or body of clients are often used interchangeably to refer to the number of loyal customers you have at your store.
How to build a strong client base: Six tips
Growing a healthy client base is an excellent goal for any retailer, and we're here to help you make that happen. Below are a few tips to get you started.
1. Learn who your target audience is
Before you can go about building a loyal client base, you need to know what types of clients you want to attract to your business.
Is there a specific gender or age demographic your products appeal to most? What about an ideal household income or budget a buyer should have? Will your clients be making smaller purchases more frequently, or larger purchases once or twice a year?
As you start to identify the client demographics that make up what your ideal client looks like, you'll have a better understanding of how to market to them best and how you can help them learn about your business.
For example, if you're noticing that your current customer base skews on the younger side, you may want to focus your marketing efforts to the communication channels they're already on, such as social media and even SMS marketing campaigns.
2. Start clienteling
Once you've identified who your target clients are and gotten them into your store, the next step is start clienteling.
Clienteling is a retail strategy where retail sales associates focus on client engagement efforts to foster lasting client relationships.
So instead of simply steering clients right toward the high-quality products to make a sale, they'll instead get to know the shopper—their preferences, shopping history, and who they shop for—so they can make a genuine connection and understand what items they'd like best.
By talking to the shopper and getting to know them, your sales team is collecting valuable data they can use later to follow up with them with an offer on a product they know fits their personal style.
3. Create personalized shopping experiences
Clienteling makes this next step even easier: personalization. Today's shoppers want and expect personalized shopping experience from retailers. And studies show that retailers will lose happy clients if they aren't offering personalization.
Marigold's 2023 Consumer Trends Index reported that 49% of consumers surveyed said they feel frustration when they receive irrelevant content or offers, and 42% feel frustration from messaging that doesn’t reflect their wants and needs.
So when your sales associates make a personalized offer to a shopper based on products they've purchased in the past, you're not only showing the shopper that you know and care about their likes and interests, but you're far more likely to earn their loyalty.
4. Engage with your audience in person and online
Next, remember that client interactions shouldn't stop after a shopper leaves your store. This is especially true if they left without making a purchase, but also applies to the ones who did.
Engaging with your clients both in-store and online is crucial in both encouraging potential clients to make a purchase with you soon and keeping your current clients happy with follow-up offers.
Keep in mind that as much as you and your sales associates greet shoppers in person, shake their hands, and show them your product displays in your physical store, you should be spending an equal amount of time responding to online reviews, making phone calls with clients, and posting company announcements on your website and social media pages.
5. Focus on client retention at least as much as client acquisition
Another key to building a solid customer base is focusing on client retention at least as much as client acquisition. In other words, you want to make sure you're showing appreciation for clients who already come into your store just as much as you're trying to get new ones through the door.
After all, retaining your satisfied clients does big things for your profit margins. According to a Bain & Company report, an increase in customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25%.
So as you work toward reaching new prospective clients, don't forget about the ones that got you there. This means following up with them often, rewarding them for their loyalty, and maybe even offering a customer loyalty program that keeps them coming back.
As you work to keep those on your current client list happy, word of mouth marketing will work wonders for your customer acquisition efforts as they tell their friends and family about the excellent customer service they've received from you.
6. Utilize retail technology
Finally, remember that you don't have to go about reaching your potential client base all on your own. There are all sorts of retail technology tools and professional services available for retailers looking to build their client bases.
For example, Clientbook is a clienteling software built for retailers looking to streamline their clienteling efforts. With Clientbook, your sales associates can facilitate communication between clients, build custom profiles and wish lists for each client, get customer feedback, and even make the most of client payment integrations.
By utilizing a tool like Clientbook, not only will you be able to increase your client engagement efforts for your current customers, but also target clients that aren't already buying regularly with you.
As a business owner, creating a client base building strategy from scratch can seem like quite a feat, but at Clientbook, we're here to make the process simple and streamlined. By following the tips in this article, and investing in a clienteling tool like Clientbook, your client list will grow faster than ever before.
If you're ready to see how Clientbook can help you build customer loyalty and grow your client base, take a tour of our software for a first-hand look, or schedule a demo so we can walk through it with you.