Customer Engagement

How to build deeper relationships with your customers

Initiating closer ties with your customers can be as simple as writing their name on coffee cups, but it can make the difference in billions of dollars in revenue.

Initiating closer ties with your customers can be as simple as writing their name on coffee cups, but it can make the difference in billions of dollars in revenue. By employing personalizing service, Starbucks is driving higher profits than any other coffeehouse worldwide, despite being established years after some of its competitors. Practices like these can make a customer feel much more than just a step towards another transaction.

However, we're sure there's a lot more that has driven the company's success than a black Sharpie. Nonetheless, there's no second-guessing that when consumers receive a personalized experience, they're more likely to return for more. So, how can Independent retailers build deeper relationships with their customers? That's what we'll uncover here.


In-store experience: The missing piece to your retail puzzle

It can be easy to forget the magical experience of in-store shopping with the ease of making a few clicks and buying online. The abundance of choices in the market have consumers surfing, browsing, exploring, and examining way more than they are purchasing. 

This is where a great in-store experience gives retailers an edge. Offline selling isn’t just limited to selling the product. In the store, you are selling:

Purpose & Brand Story: A retailer needs to clearly state what they offer. Is their store the first in town to feature ethically sourced clothing. Whatever the purpose may be, the store must clearly communicate it.

Curating The Mood: Personal care brands usually mesmerize customers with their scents and soothing music to communicate the mood they'd feel if they were to use their products. Home improvement and decor stores will set up a cozy vibe with plush couches, and bright walls and give a glimpse of a dream home in the process.

Visual Merchandising: Visual merchandising is the practice of using products, lighting, and other elements to attract customers and keep them engaged. It's also the art of placing products strategically, where the customers will be more drawn to them. For instance, making the most of the visual display with mannequins or placing items under $5 at check-out.


Take Decathlon, the sports goods retailer, as an example of a company that utilizes all three elements to its advantage. Most of their stores allow you to play with their gear and equipment – regardless of whether you'll walk home with it.

The store also has an outdoor sports aesthetic, with even their employees wearing sports jerseys as their uniform. In a Decathlon store, you'll see people hitting it at the Ping-Pong table, cruising through on a bike, or resting inside a camping tent. Through this in-store experience, Decathlon is selling adventure. What is your store selling?

Decathlon at Union Station, Toronto
Clienteling: Customer service but better

Another great way to develop deeper bonds with customers is clienteling. Clienteling is akin to customer service but focuses on individualized interactions.

Here are characteristics that factor into clienteling:

An Integrated Experience: When a customer gets connected to a retailer, they want to be able to access it via its mobile app, website, or in-store. Not only that, retailers should provide a seamless experience. If a buyer feels highly valued by a retail associate offering a birthday discount code but the website doesn’t cooperate, the experience can feel disconnected.

Analytic-driven sales associates: Most retailers collect some level of data, but it's time to harness that data by sharing it with your sales associates. Sales associates should be able to access data, such as the company's most sold products in relation to demographics like the age group of shoppers, loyalty rating, etc. Then, they can guide customers in a manner that shortens the time spent on scavenging for the ideal product, alleviates confusion, and improves customer satisfaction.

Listen to the Unspoken: Customers who walk into retail stores aren't all experts on the product they've come to shop for. Facilitating their needs by getting to know the customer is part of clienteling. Asking the right questions can narrow down options and save customers time.

What tools and strategies can retailers use to drive long-term loyalty?

We've discussed how clienteling can leave a lasting impression on your customers through your In-store experience. But what other tools and strategies can bring your customers closer to your brand?

Loyalty Programs: Bath and Body Works rewards their customers with 1 point for every dollar they spend on purchases they make. Once they have 75 points, they can cash it for a product of their choice. If customers want to buy a product that's available at two stores for the same price, they'll probably choose the one with the loyalty program. 

Invest in CRM: Clienteling can only be done with tools that easily collect, organize, and store customer data. A good CRM should not only record precious data but also process it to reveal shopping trends, personal customer trends, and more. 

Customer Engagement: When consumers stumble upon your store or website, how long can you keep them engaged before they move on? The average time for a consumer to spend on any website is 54 seconds. Physical stores can do a better job than this due to the power of human relationships. Whether it’s a friendly sales associate or a kids play area, the key is to keep your customers engaged in the store experience for longer. 

Building Lasting Connections: The Key to Sustainable Business Growth

The formula for building deep relationships with your customers is before you.

Having the power to build human relationships is where offline stores trump ecommerce platforms. So, when a consumer walks into the store, hook them to your unique experience. Use appropriate tools to track their buying habits, and if they return, remember to use the recorded data to deliver a personalized shopping experience.

© 2024 RareCircles Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 RareCircles Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 RareCircles Inc. All rights reserved.