We’re about to kick off a new customer relationship management (CRM) and loyalty initiative with the garden and outdoor specialist Notcutts. The company is family-owned and it’s been ‘helping gardeners since 1897’. Now, with 19 garden centres across the country, the personal and expert service that Notcutts has always prided itself on is about to get a 21st century makeover.
We’ll be helping Notcutts build on the success of its Sage Privilege Club, an industry-leading loyalty programme with over 125,000 members. But the new loyalty, CRM and clienteling solution will bring the management of all of this in-house.
The two main planks of the new programme are: the CRM loyalty solution, a multichannel customer database and campaign manager; and a clienteling application that will put customer information at the fingertips of the customer service team.
When it comes to gardening, Notcutts believes that “there’s nothing we love more than rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck in” and that hands-on approach is just as important when it comes to tending to customers! The thinking behind the move to in-house management is that Notcutts will be able to drive more responsive and proactive services to its customers, through improved customer insight.
And as well as a more personalised experience for customers, it’ll mean a much more joined up experience too – both for customers and behind the scenes. That’s because Notcutts are also planning to roll out our clienteling tool – which generates a complete view of customer behaviour – to help Customer Services manage queries and follow-ups more efficiently. As a result, the service team will have instant, real-time access to customer activity and interaction across all touchpoints so they’ll be much better equipped to deal with customer queries.
Posted by Tanya Bowen, Director, CRM Loyalty and Clienteling, BT Expedite & Fresca
The winning line-up included household names like Macy’s and American Apparel, so it was a great result to pick up the Silver Award in Customer Engagement.
The Cole Haan Clienteling story began about 18 months ago when the company’s head of CRM was guest speaker at our annual client conference. As a customer of our North American partner Epicor, Cole Haan presented best practice use of its CRM system. The retailer was actively seeking a Clienteling solution at the time and, during the two-day event, our sleek Clienteling tool caught the eye.
Clienteling is all about building closer relationships with customers to generate incremental margin on your bottom line. It puts the sales associate in control of customer relationships and arms them with all the information they need to provide an unrivalled personal service.
This helps create a culture of repeatable customer excellence by leveraging every customer touchpoint and connecting the entire retail operation with a goal of knowing, engaging with, and serving the customer better.
Everyone gets the VIP service
Our Clienteling tool is compatible with any mobile device – and Cole Haan opted to use it on in-store iPads. As a luxury brand, the in-store experience plays a massive part in establishing and retaining customer loyalty.
Sitting on top of the company’s CRM solution, the Clienteling tool completes the circle and puts all customer data at the fingertips of the sales associates. This in turn is turning the traditional role of associate on its head – so rather than wait for a customer to come in, the tool is helping them proactively draw in customers.
Part of this proactive aspect is set up in the system itself. Cole Haan is aiming for “a customer-centric strategy that will enable the business to build lifetime value with our most profitable clients”.
So sales associates receive regular updates and tasks on a “30-60-90-120” day basis, depending on when a customer last visited. They can see who their most profitable and valuable customers are and engage with them in a way that’s tailored to the customer.
By digitising its traditional “black books” and integrating this information with its CRM system, Cole Haan is getting a single customer view. It sets parameters and tasks but is not overly prescriptive – the sales associate can still choose to contact customers and track this activity in the system.
It’s early days yet, but already the results are compelling. Cody Perret, Sales Associate 5th Avenue Store, Cole Haan said: “This is the tool that will make our good sales associates amazing and our great sales associates INCREDIBLE. The iPad also keeps us ON THE FLOOR. Instead of disappearing behind a register where the client assumes they have been forgotten about, we stay in sight and they know we are assisting them.” Other benefits include:
- former ‘black book’ clients that typically purchased twice a year are already purchasing three times since implementation
- team members can utilise the iPad for expediting regular, ongoing and seasonal tasks, such as floor mapping and changing out product lines
- paper-based seasonal floor plans are no longer sent to each store, but instead plans are communicated electronically – saving significantly on print and postal costs
- store managers and associates don’t have to leave the sales floor to print directives or perform outreach – product knowledge is always a ‘swipe away’
- an overall increase in productivity.
Clienteling is important in North America and we’re seeing some frontrunners in the UK, Asia and Europe take it up as we’re rolling out the tool with half a dozen UK customers over the next few months. It’s another idea from over here that’s doing rather well over there.
Posted by Tanya Bowen, Director of CRM, Loyalty and Clienteling, BT Expedite
We’re about a third of the way through a nine-month project to install a new integrated multichannel solution for footwear specialist Charles Clinkard, including a merchandising system, point of sale, and CRM.
After three months of hard work on both sides, we’re bang on track to have the new system up and running in all 34 branches before the next big trading period for footwear retailers at Easter (yes, that’s right, Easter. Apparently people don’t ask Santa for shoes).
With the software now in place and the design phase drawing to a close, we’ve been working together to figure out how to set things up so that Charles Clinkard gets the most out of the functionality that comes with the Mercatus merchandising system. The company’s current system has served it well for the past 10 years, but it just can’t cope with the demands of a more integrated, multichannel world.
Right now that’s a nuisance – soon, it’ll be a disaster. Customers are getting used to seamless, multichannel shopping and increasingly expect things like click and collect.
As the teams have kicked around different ways of overcoming the more fiddly aspects of footwear merchandising (such as every size of every style in five different widths!) we’ve been regular visitors to the Charles Clinkard head office – as much as 2-3 times a week over the summer.
Fortunately everyone seems to be getting on and that familiarity has bred a great working relationship that’s really helping us create a solution that should support Charles Clinkard for many years to come.
Watch the video and read the full story, including the views of Tim Payne, Charles Clinkard’s merchandise director
About Charles Clinkard
The business began in 1924 with the opening of a shoe shop in Stockton. From small beginnings The Clinkard Group has now grown to be the leading Independent Footwear Retailer in the North East and one of the largest Independents in the UK. The current Managing Director – Charles Clinkard – is the grandson of the founders and continues the values that have established the business. The group consists of two key components: Charles Clinkard, which is the retail arm, and Intershoe the wholesale operation.
Further reading: Retail Week on the Road: North East and Yorkshire
Customer relationship management (CRM) has been about for as long as there have been customers. The tools may change but the goal has always been the same: get to know your customers and encourage them to buy more, more often.
In many ways clienteling is a throwback to a time when local shopkeepers knew each and every customer that visited – their likes, dislikes, wants and needs.
Of course we live in a world where retailers have stores in different locations with thousands of customers buying through multiple channels. It’s basically impossible for individual sales associates to retain all that information. But that’s where technology comes in.
By blending in-store wi-fi, tablet devices, real-time customer data and stock information, you can create a tool that will motivate sales associates, delight customers – and boost the bottom line.
Our clienteling tool can run on an iPad (or similar tablet device) or almost any device with a web browser. It pulls in multichannel CRM data and has been built with an intuitive front end for sales associates.
It can be tailored and branded to reflect a retailer’s look and ways of working. Using it will help you create an impressive mobile black book while blueprinting best practice processes.
Which all sounds great; but it’ll only work if customers buy into the idea. Without that buy-in, you’ll have a big hole at the heart of your CRM data and you won’t have the full picture. The key is getting your sales associates to understand the benefits. If they can see the benefits, they’ll capture the data.
In the past, collecting customer data in-store was often an afterthought. Customers at the checkout want to pay and go – not fill in forms and sign up for loyalty schemes.
So you need to make the process quick and painless – and build it into everyday customer service behaviour. Mobile technology, consumer devices, joined up systems and central access make that possible. Then you’re on the way to a better class of clienteling.
Article by Tanya Bowen, Head of CRM & Loyalty, BT Expedite