2017 was an ugly year for the consumer.
The fitness industry has undergone a significant change over the past several years. The rise in popularity of programs such as Spinning, CrossFit and Barre have revolutionized the space. Different classes mixed with more adept technology have blended together to create a dramatically different customer experience. However, most fitness centers, health clubs and gyms struggle to recognize their individual members across touchpoints, and fail to provide them with relevant content that keeps them engaged off-premise and motivated to come back.
First things first -- what is clienteling? Back in the day it was common to have a personal relationship with the local butcher, baker or what have you. You’d be greeted by first name when you walked in the door, and the person behind the counter would already be packaging your favorite cut of meat or loaf of bread. Nowadays, that type of service and those types of personal relationships between customers and brands are more the exception than the rule. At the most basic level, clienteling is the idea of treating customers like you’ve known them forever in order to establish long-lasting loyalty. Clienteling is about making your customers’ lives easier through customer service and a great experience.
In 2017 we learned how important customer personalization truly is; according to Accenture the retail industry lost out on $756 billion due to a failure to personalize. To add insult to injury the same study showed that 44% of US consumers became frustrated when companies failed to provide relevant personalized experiences.
I’m a marketer (for a company that makes software for other marketers), but I’m also a consumer. The two sides are intertwined. For better or for worse, I can’t turn the marketer off while I shop. The marketer side of me is always taking mental notes about customer engagement wins and missed opportunities and thinking about what is going on behind the scenes at a company to cause their customer experience to soar or flop. I shop a lot, so there are abundant examples to choose from. However, there’s one company that stands out from the pack time and time again: Shopbop. I wish other companies would take a page out of Shopbop’s customer engagement book. That’s why I’m putting my love story down on paper in an effort to help less fortunate brands find their happy ending.