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9 tactics to borrow from luxury retail’s clienteling strategy to improve your omnichannel CX



Clienteling is extremely effective for engaging with customers in a way that leads to loyalty and a better overall experience with your brand.

But outside of luxury and small retailers who have personal relationships built into their business model, clienteling is a tough tactic to pull off – especially when you throw multiple sales channels into the mix.

So how can mid-sized and chain store retailers incorporate some of the same concepts that make clienteling so effective into their customer engagement strategy?

Here are 9 ways to improve your omnichannel customer experience with clienteling tactics.


1: Need-based sales

Train your employees to listen for customers’ unspoken needs when they’re helping them on the sales floor. For example, if they’re looking for a home theater system, help them evaluate not only the speakers and acoustic panels, but also the wireless headphones that will recreate the experience when the baby is sleeping. Help your customer think through every detail of the occasion and get them everything that meets those needs.

2: Customer profiles

Mobile POS is your friend. It gives your sales associates quick access to a customer’s profile and shopping history so they can be better informed when making recommendations. Retail Pro POS is device-agnostic, which means your sales associates have secure access to the same powerful customer management tools, whether on small mobile devices or full-sized desktop computers.

3: Always say YES

Having an iPad or tablet accessible while engaging with customers on the sales floor means your sales associates can look up inventory at nearby store locations to see whether they have the particular size or color the customer wants. Then, complete the sale through that store with send sale capabilities in Retail Pro POS.

4: Digital lookbook

Retailers going for the clean, modern look of a lean inventory strategy can use inventory images in your mobile POS or on your website as an endless aisle lookbook to help your customer pick out and order items you don’t carry in store.

5: Now trending

Analyze the POS sales data in business intelligence and visual analytics software like Retail Pro Decisions to see micro and macro trends and take action to make the goods available to more customers. If your top shoppers are loving your newest products, extend the offer to the next tier of shoppers to bring them into your stores and spread the love!

6: Personalized service online

Use your customer data in Retail Pro to offer the same kind of personalized service on your website. Basket analyses help you see what products shoppers tend to purchase together so you can recommend similar pairings to shoppers buying only one item or the other.

7: Behavior-driven offers

For shoppers who have an account with you, use their purchase history as the basis for your recommendations. AppCard for Retail Pro integrates customers’ POS data to make it easier to personalize offers to them. Email marketing campaigns personalized with your customers’ actual shopping behavior make them more relevant and more likely end in conversion.

8: Customer nurture

Between visits to store or site, nurture shoppers by anticipating their next need and proactively contacting them via email or SMS. A customer’s purchase history in Retail Pro POS can inform the offers you make to them and helps you create personalized promotions through the AppCard for Retail Pro solution.

9: Unified experiences

A cohesive customer experience shows you know and understand shoppers’ wants, exposes them to new products they may benefit from, and makes it more convenient for them to get what they need from you. The best way to do that? Tie the purchasing journey and communications together across channels by integrating all your customer-facing tools on the Retail Pro POS platform.


Luxury retail sets high standards when it comes to giving shoppers a meaningful, customized customer experience. Retailers incorporating clienteling tactics into their own customer engagement strategy across channels can differentiate themselves by better, more personalized experiences at every touchpoint.



Customer survey results can be misleading



Many retailers ask customers for ratings on the service they received during a shopping trip.

Often, these requests to complete a survey are made from the associates themselves, and reinforced through a reminder on the receipt.

But exactly how valid are the results from these surveys?

At least one team of researchers say the answers aren't as truthful as retailers might hope.


Customers are biased in favor of employee security

This week, NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam talked on-air about a conversation he had with John Horton, a business school professor at New York University.

Horton and his colleagues had studied what the consequences were when people were asked to rate their service.

It turns out, there is bias inherent in such survey questions, because people are reluctant to give others a harsh rating: Fearing their answers may jeopardize employee jobs, respondents tend to rate service higher than it deserves.

So, even if a customer feels that an associate could have been friendlier, or more knowledgeable, he or she will give a three or four-star rating, rather than a more objective one or two-star rating.

Customers know that there are companies that will fire employees that have low ratings, and many don't want to be responsible for someone becoming unemployed simply if he or she was having "a bad day."


Use feedback for training

That does not mean, however, that customer feedback can never be trusted.

To obtain meaningful results, the survey must itself be constructed without bias.

Horton and his colleagues analyzed data from a large online platform with over a billion dollars in transactions.

They learned that when a rating platform informs users that the feedback is going to be private and that it won't be used to punish providers, users will provide more critical feedback.

The lesson is that even simple, one-question surveys can provide valuable feedback, as long as they don't appear to threaten the livelihood of individual who is being evaluated.

 Read blog: 3 CX improvements that drive revenue growth

If the survey makes it clear that the feedback is used for training purposes, participants will be honest.

And then future experiences might truly be worthy of a five-star rating.



3 Ways to build better customer profiles using Retail Pro POS

The elusive omnichannel shopper: she leaves her tracks everywhere but is yet to be understood.

Shoppers’ path to purchase today beelines from your store to your website on their computer at the office (used only during breaks, of course), to your mobile site on their tablet, to your app on their smartphone, and back.

Companies with strong omnichannel engagement are able to keep 89% of their customers, compared with 33 percent of companies with weak engagement.

But how can you keep customers and improve customer experience for shoppers whose journeys you’re still struggling to pinpoint?

Learn about your shoppers

One way is to build steps into your operations that will help you learn more about your customers. Basically, train your team to build customer profiles as they interact with shoppers.

But when you can give customers good reason to share their information with you online or in stores, you are in a better position to gather accurate data that will help you draw more useful, actionable insights from your company performance.

For example, if there’s something a customer wanted that’s not in stock, retailers can turn a bad experience into a positive one by placing an order for them from the store — with free shipping — delighting the customer while gathering additional shopper data.

Answers to a small number of carefully targeted questions can have a big impact on a business, whether in survey format or simply asked by an associate at the POS itself.

Of course, the simplest way (though not always the easiest way) to learn information about shoppers is to collect it directly from the source: Ask them. Here are 3 ways to build better customer profiles using Retail Pro POS.


1: Get feedback at the POS

Take time to chat with customers while ringing them up at the POS, and take notes.

POS flags in Retail Pro POS allow you to add quick-action buttons or fields to take note of shopper details at the POS, which you can then analyze and use to shape more effective decision making, or for their marketing campaigns, depending on the information you choose to capture.

Because workflows in Retail Pro are entirely tailorable to yours, you can automatically prompt sales associates to ask preset questions and record the answers.

This kind of information, collected incrementally over time, will help you build a truer understanding of your customers and draw conclusions to improve their experience.


2: Engage with shoppers on the sales floor

Having mobile POS available for your sales associates empowers them to do build customer profiles while they’re helping them on the sales floor. Retailers with a more consultative approach to customer engagement can create quick workflows to help associates create new customer profiles and start filling in the details while they assist: shoe size, scent preferences, skin tone.

Skincare brand Aesop uses Retail Pro to track, manage, and access customer data all over the world, ensuring the same experience for a particular customer regardless of location, because every store shares the same customer and inventory details.

“Our store consultants often work cross-country but the experience of working with the software is the same. We have one consistent thread through Retail Pro, though each store is entirely different,” said head of Aesop’s ICT, Troy Smith.

Over time these profiles will help your associates continue the conversation knowledgeably, making recommendations relevant to their needs because you see them through the customer’s history in the POS.


3: Invite your top shoppers to VIP in-store events

Inviting your top shoppers to exclusive in-store events not only rewards them and deepens their affinity for your brand, but also gives your team opportunity to keep learning about your shoppers.

Form your guest list using Retail Pro’s built-in reports on customer KPIs like total spend or Customer Lifetime Value. Then, get to learning about your customers’ preferences as you mingle over cocktails at your new product drop.

Or, use Retail Pro POS to collect information about visitors to the launch of your new pop-up store.

Designer brand Akris uses POS flags in Retail Pro POS to capture email addresses or phone numbers of customers attending their exclusive in-store events and then contact them for future events.


As you take advantage of these kinds of opportunities to build customer profiles, you’ll start learning more about your customers and can then more successfully unify your operations and customer engagement to place customers’ needs at the forefront of your business strategies.


4 ways to use pop-ups’ popularity to boost your brick & mortar strategy



Pop-up stores are a popular way to freshen brick and mortar presence as well as to physically connect e-commerce retailers to their customers.

They have been around for a few years, but they have steadily become increasingly popular.

In fact, the recently defunct Toys R Us chain had reportedly exploring popups as a possible comeback before deciding finally to reimagine their in-store experience.

The strategy is a cost-effective way for many types of retailers to experiment in physical retail, from e-commerce giant Alibaba to brick and mortar veteran Macy's.

Here's how you can use pop-up shops' popularity to boost your profits.


1: Collect data

Pop-up stores that are spawned from brick and mortars tend to be much smaller and more focused than their parents.

New brands or trendy items can easily be curated and then tested in a pop-up shop.

Once inside, shoppers movements can be tracked with video cameras, allowing retailers to learn what items piqued shoppers' interests, and what didn't.


2: Promote your cause

Popups are a great way to illustrate the power of cause marketing.

Retailers often have "pet" charities, and popups let retailers focus on that cause.

Specific merchandise is showcased and a portion of the profits are directed to the charity.

Press coverage is often also a welcome by-product of this strategy.

Customers expect their favor stores to align with charitable causes: 86% of consumers believe that companies should take a stand for social issues.

64% of those who said it’s ‘extremely important’ for a company to take a stand on a social issue said they were ‘very likely’ to purchase a product based on that commitment, according to the 2018 Shelton Group’s ‘Brands & Stands: Social Purpose is the New Black.


3: Connect with the neighborhood

E-commerce companies looking to form a local connection have found popups an ideal solution.

Alibaba, for example, opened 60 physical pop-up stores in 52 malls across 12 cities in China for Single's Day last year.

More than 100 brands participated, including L’Oréal, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Lego.


4: Test new technology

Due to their small size, popups are the equivalent of a test market.

New POS software, smart shelves, and virtual reality solutions such as the "magic mirror," which lets shoppers try on items such as sunglasses, cosmetics and apparel virtually.

Pop-up stores provide a bit of spark to brick and mortar retailers that may be unable or unwilling to shake things up inside their existing stores.

Popups' focus on trends or charitable causes is an effective method to encourage brand loyalty as well as bring in new clientele.


VIP experiences that build loyalty in luxury retail



Luxury shopping is an experience all its own.

Included in the unique ecosystem of retailers catering to the very wealthy are loyalty programs.

Many recent program launches come from companies realizing that they need assistance building loyalty among affluent millennials, a subset that spends north of $2 trillion annually.

While stores are focused on rewarding their VIPs, the benefits are more high-flying than discount coupons and special events.


High personalization

First, these top-shelf programs are highly personalized.

Customers spending thousands of dollars expect to feel valued.

These programs go the extra mile for clients who are not only big spenders but often also influencers.

One highlight of such programs include concierge services.

Concierge services are the epitome of personalization — they are dedicated to helping regular customers optimize their shopping experiences.

For a fee, customers are treated to a variety of special services, including events, personal shoppers and exclusive experiences.

These retailers are betting that this extraordinary treatment will tighten the loyalty bond between customers and stores.

For example, jewelry companies might offer concierge services to customers who have made a large purchase such as an engagement ring to help them plan the engagement party.

Luxury car dealers such as Infiniti offer the free use of a personal assistant 24/7 for four years.

Companies can easily generate brand engagement and loyalty by providing assistance with important life moments as well as more mundane daily tasks.

Brands that reach out to customers, provide enhanced delivery and after-care services create deeper relationships and long-term loyalty.

Those companies may have rarified customers, but the retailers are down to earth when it comes to understanding their market, customers and goals.

Strategy is customized in a way that might include personal concierge services or a custom loyalty program — but both make customers feel valued.

Cutting-edge digital experience

Technology can help make a good experience great.

Traditional concierge and loyalty services are being enhanced with cutting-edge digital services.

By integrating the latest technologies into a traditionally low-tech segment, customers receive a truly unique experience.

Creating a deep emotional connection between brand and customer drives long-term loyalty.

The stakes are higher with the luxury segment, because expectations are much greater.

Loyal customers are the holy grail and the ultimate goal of any successful business, but retailers must commit to a long-term strategy with continual updates to ultimately be successful.


3 realities about your Baby Boomer shoppers that will help you win them over



Baby boomers — those customers between the ages of 54 and 72 — are predicted to increase their spending by 58% to $4.74 trillion over the next 20 years.

That's far more sales growth than millennials, whose spending will grow by only 24%.

With an estimated 75.4 million baby boomers in the United States, retailers can't afford to ignore this segment of the population.

Here are 3 realities retailers often fail to recognize about their baby boomer customers.


1: Boomers see technology as a tool.

Technology is a clear winner when used as the means to an end: Tablets for line-busting or to check inventory are welcome.

Technology that is seen as distracting or as taking away from the customer experience is a no-no. The demographic is not digital-native, so the sales experience should be personal, with eye contact, helpful associates and relationship building, i.e., conversation.

Only 12 percent of boomers said in a Colloquy survey that they rely on family and friends to help them decide on a purchase, so social sharing before buying is fairly uncommon.


2: Boomers enjoy shopping in-store.

The Colloquy report found that a whopping 84% of respondents said they preferred to shop in-store.

That figure is likely tied to Boomers high expectations of personal service.

There's a tremendous opportunity for retailers that choose to invest in understanding this demographic's characteristics.


3: Boomers do shop online.

And in significant numbers: 66% of the segment reportedly make regular purchases using web devices, according to Immersion Active.

In the United States, 70% of disposable income is attributed to Baby Boomers.

As Boomers become more comfortable with ecommerce as well as social media-savvy, it's likely they'll be discovering and purchasing trending products online.

As they become more "omnishoppers," they may become the key to the success for many brands.


Retailers need to realize the importance of differentiating their demographics when implementing a sales strategy.

Groups such as millennials, Gen X and baby boomers respond to sales techniques differently.

And, while millennials might be grabbing attention with their brand awareness and focus on social media, retailers need to be aware of and cater to baby boomers‘ particular traits.


Unifying commerce in Brazil: Retail Pro at ABF Franchising Expo 2019



Recently Retail Pro International’s Authorized Business Partner in Brazil, PA Latinoamericana, participated in the 27th edition of ABF Franchising Expo, the largest franchise fair in the world.



Brazilian publication GBLjeans reports, “American retail management software platform, Retail Pro International, has chosen a local distributor, with fashion as one of the key business segments. With this new local distributor, Americana Retail Pro International intends to gain greater participation in the Brazilian market.”



Together with some of our key partners in retail technology, Targit, SAP, Toshiba, and Adyen, Retail Pro offers retailers in Brazil and all over the world a unified platform to help their business keep improving retail performance and customer experience in their stores.



PA Latinoamericana CEO, Allan Pires, comments, “We at PA Latinoamericana are really proud of all the work that’s been performed here in Brazil. Having recently partnered with Retail Pro, it is clear that we have a great path ahead of us.”



Over 400 visitors came to the booth to hear how they can build unified commerce on Retail Pro to reach better results and grow their business.




Event photos courtesy of PA Latinoamericana and Ramo Sistemas Digitais.

Using Retail Pro mobile POS to connect with customers on the sales floor



How does going mobile help you understand your customers?

It frees your sales associates from the cash wrap so they can more meaningfully engage with shoppers on your sales floor and learn about them!

There is no better way to personalize a customer’s experience than by actually getting personal and asking questions. What are they looking for? What’s the occasion? Can we help you find something to go along with the item you’re trying on?

That kind of human connection makes customers feel like they’re shopping with a friend, and it builds emotional attachment to your brand.

Then, when they’re ready, the associate can complete the sale right there on the spot.



United Colors of Benetton use Retail Pro on tablets in their hip new flagship redesign. The mobile POS reinforce the brand’s ultramodern mood and allows an exclusive payment via mobile and card only, potentially everywhere in the store, reducing the time spent in a queue.

You’ll need to train associates on smoothly transitioning from the personal shopper role to closing the sale and packing their purchase. Positioning bagging stations at key, central points in your store will help keep the efficiency of the traditional queue, without its anti-climactic, assembly line feel.

The best thing about mobile POS is its versatility. Since Retail Pro POS is a browser-based software, you can use it on your choice of Apple, Windows, or Android devices.

And with support for biometric login, Retail Pro helps your employees log in faster and jump back into that assembly line mode for a fast and efficient checkout experience. Plus, the stocking associates can pull out another mobile POS to bust through the line faster.

Thinking about going mobile in your stores? Request a demo and get this whitepaper to see if mobile is right for your enterprise.



The power of personalizing the post-sale



Mass-marketed messages are inundating consumers from every available avenue. Retailers today continuously push out these messages using the latest trending channels, hoping to acquire new and repeat customers. With the emergence of more advanced marketing techniques and technologies, outreach has become even more sophisticated.

While a steady diet of messages has allowed consumers to respond and engage with brands in a variety of ways, it has also created a demand for greater personalization.

Stellar personalized experiences provided by some of retail’s top brands (including GNC, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Sephora and Under Armour) have helped to permanently alter consumers’ expectations for brands. A recent Infogroup survey, The Power of Personalization, found that 44% of shoppers are open to switching brands [to ones] that do a better job at personalization.

With so many options to choose from, consumers now look for better, more relevant experiences to keep them engaged. The message is clear: legacy retailers must raise their personalization game or risk losing customers.

A glaring missed opportunity for many retailers is in the re-engagement of their existing customers.

In a recent joint report by Commerce Next and Oracle, 81% of e-commerce marketers cited acquisition marketing as the top priority. The greater focus on new customers may be costing them as current customers are known to pay 67% more than new customers.

Consider the above facts alongside research by Litmus, which states that 64% of consumers consider a retailer’s purchase confirmations as the most valuable messages in their inbox; and research from Experian, which states that transactional emails generate 6x more revenue than standard marketing emails; and an untapped opportunity begins to emerge.

It is for these reasons, well-respected brands including Under Armour and GNC have started tapping into the potential of their post-purchase communications.


GNC - A Move towards Customer-Centricity

While the path to personalization can be a winding one for many retailers, GNC continues to remain ahead of the curve.

Having originally adopted smart receipts several years ago, GNC recently looked to flexEngage for new ways to increase the number of GNC brand advocates. Several adjustments were made on the fly to further personalize GNCs smart receipts, and as a result, the brand experienced a 10x lift in membership for their paid loyalty program as well as a 7% increase in sales from product recommendations within receipts.

But the impact continued as 10% of GNC customers receiving smart receipts also enrolled in auto-delivery for products they just purchased.

“This is one of the touchpoints that we use for customer retention and repeat trips. We know that customers access their receipts multiple times for various reasons, so we want to be present for them with multiple tiers of messaging that meet their needs,” says Jennifer Biefel, former Director of Customer Marketing & Loyalty at GNC.



Under Armour - Creating a Better Customer Experience

Under Armour, a leader in sports and fitness apparel, recently saw the need for improving their post-sale shopping experience.

At the time, shoppers left Under Armour stores with either flat, paper receipts or unengaging PDF receipts which were eventually emailed to customers long after they had left the store. With the goal of keeping customers engaged beyond the sale, Under Armour worked with flexEngage to upgrade their post-sale communications.

Today, Under Armour customers that opt for smart receipts leave their stores with brand-right, dynamic receipts delivered in seconds.

Brent Ott, Senior Manager, Global Store Experience at Under Armour spoke to the effectiveness of the upgrade: “The minute we launched it, we saw the initial challenge that we were trying to resolve was fixed. It was a big win.”

Powerful Results

Under Armour’s brand-right receipts are delivered to their customers' mobile phones in less than 60 seconds. This improvement has also led to some unexpected results.

“The biggest success that we didn’t realize at first was the open rates. The digital marketing team was really excited that the open rates were as high as they were. We are seeing a huge win with our customer feedback surveys. There has been a huge increase in customers’ willingness to tell us about their in-store experiences,” Brent said.

While Under Armour is just getting started in their post-sale personalization journey, smart receipt customers can expect more relevant content from Under Armour as they continue to look for ways to drive brand loyalty and repeat visits.

Under Armour and GNC’s enhancements to their smart receipts showcase the power of post-sale personalization. By harnessing smart receipts, brands are able to capture more attention and revenue from current customers and leverage heightened consumer interest to highlight their other marketing programs.


Leveraging Personalized Receipts

Ready to leverage the power of post-sale personalization? flexEngage seamlessly integrates into Retail Pro Prism as well as Retail Pro 9 and above. Getting started is simple. Visit www.flexengage.com or email hello@flexengage.com for more information.



This guest post brought to you by our friends at flexEngage.

3 CX improvements that drive revenue growth



For retailers looking to compete with the fast pace and convenience of online businesses, the in-store experience is an increasingly important battleground.

While historically success for retailers may have been measured by metrics such as comparable growth by store, sales per square foot, and gross margin return on investment, these no longer tell the full story.

Modern retailers need to know more than just what your customers are buying.

To succeed today, you need to understand how each of your touch points impacts the totality of your customer experience.

And the trend is one that’s catching – a recent study by the Forrester Group reports, “72% businesses now say improving the customer experience is their No.1 priority.”


CX improvements drive increased loyalty & revenue

For today’s retailers, the availability of point-of-sale data provides a huge range of options when it comes to building true and lasting engagement.

Creating customer experiences that are truly memorable can help drive loyalty and advocacy for your business, so it’s important to make every single moment count.

Here are 3 quick examples of how to deliver a ‘customer-centric’ approach that will spur revenue growth.


1: Make each experience count

In an increasingly competitive landscape, you need to focus on creating memorable experiences.

This doesn’t need to involve a radical overhaul of everything you do. As we found with one of our retail partners, the little things can add up.

The Retail Prodigy Group (master franchisee holders for Nike) is committed to providing the ‘ultimate customer experience’ with every visit.

In practice, this manifests itself in a series of relatively cost efficient, but rigorously maintained, service measures, especially at the point of sale.

Staff at RPG are trained to ask for each customer’s name and always offer multiple product selections at the checkout.

Customers are made to feel welcome with small personal touches, creating an authentic and warm experience.

This not only creates happy customers but can lead to financial gain too – we measured a 30% increase in average transaction as a result of these measures and a 5% increase in total revenue



2: Taking a ‘benefits-led’ approach to the sales process

Today’s customers expect high service standards as the norm: in order to drive return visits, you need to be able to certainly meet and ideally exceed these expectations regularly.

While many sales associates are trained to ensure that they know the features of each of their products, it can be even more powerful if your staff is able to speak to the benefits that a product will offer to each of your customers.

A benefits-led sales approach not only demonstrates expertise but also the capacity to listen well.

One retailer found that a sales associate’s ability to convey three or more product benefits led to a 20% increase in average transaction value. 

Treat your customers well, and they’ll reward you in return.



3: Make sure that you are staffed appropriately

From an operational perspective, it can be a challenge to monitor for consistency of staffing distribution and the timing of staff breaks across a day so that each customer gets what they need every time.

While breakdowns in your scheduling patterns are not always easy to spot, the negative impacts are.

If your customers aren’t getting the help they need, they’ll quickly take their business elsewhere.

By utilizing technology that enables you to track performance standards across the day, you can reduce mangers’ need to be on the floor at all times.

One specialty foods retailer using the TruRating customer feedback solution noticed their product and service scores were dipping in the evenings.

After an inspection of the floor, it became clear that there were issues in stock and staffing.

Through a scheduling reshuffle and an increased focus on product availability in the evening, the store was able to drive a 22% increase in customer satisfaction and a 12% associated increase in spend.

A low-cost fix was suddenly transformed into a revenue opportunity.


Point-of-Sale Insights from TruRating and Retail Pro

With simple changes like these, you can optimize toward a more ‘customer-centric’ approach in your business – and tools like Retail Pro POS and customer insights specialist TruRating can help.

Through a simple integration with Retail Pro POS, TruRating enables you to ask customer feedback questions via your payment devices, gathering insights from up to 88% of customers daily, neatly packaged in an intuitive and easy-to-read dashboard.

To learn more or to find out how you can set up your account today, reach out to your Retail Pro Business Partner or contact TruRating directly at 1(855) 285-1685 or Hello@trurating.com.



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