Lorenzo Benazzo, CEO of Clientela


Faced with shrinking margins and fleeting consumers, retailers and brands seek comprehensive solutions to improve customer service, manage inventory levels and quickly fulfill online orders. Driven by a deep dive into data, analytics and actionable insights, clienteling — the art of bespoke technology marketing — allows for enhanced personalization in order to capture and maintain shoppers.

In-store client services finds a replacement with predictive modeling software that discerns what the customer wants while also suggesting new products to trigger shopper surprise and delight.

Clientela, an omnichannel, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions provider, offers customizable software. The company positions its solution as a highly personalized data-entry system that inherently builds a relationship between brand, store and customer, while simultaneously creating seamless online and in-store experiences.

Lorenzo Benazzo, chief executive officer of Clientela, founded the company in 2010 on a hunch that e-commerce would be only one element of the shopping experience. “It is becoming irrelevant where the transaction happens. I think the mistake some people make is that they’re continuing to divide e-commerce and [brick-and-mortar] retail. The reality is, it’s all the same clients and the same products, so why not just connect all these dots and look at the web site as a component of the retail experience,” Benazzo said.

Critics were wary prior to Clientela’s inception. “I started this company because there was little to no technology in the store to truly help the staff, retail directors and headquarters employees,” he said. When Clientela was conceived, the retail industry predicted that brick-and-mortar stores would become obsolete with commerce shifting solely online.

But Benazzo disagreed. “I really believe that the physical location, the brick-and-mortar space, is where people come together in-person, they see the product, they touch it, they talk to each other, they tell each other stories — and there was an opportunity to bring that experience online,” he said.

When Clientela launched, CRM was a $5 billion industry. Since then, the market has grown to $31.7 billion this year, according to SuperOffice.com and is expected to gain 15 percent in global sales this year. It’s a crowded space and other companies offering various CRM platforms include Adobe, Aptos, Foresee, NetSuite, Sailthru and SAP, among others. For its part, Clientela specializes in the fashion industry with offices in New York, Paris and Milan.

Clientela relies on both customer and retailer involvement to run its engine. The software’s dashboard operates as an administrative interface for retail employees, functioning as a live digital calendar with a slew of features such as KPIs (key performance indicators) and sale volumes as well as employee goals and direct messages. It also includes purchase history, which automates strategic product recommendations and customer style preferences.

Take Topshop’s web site for example, whose tailor-made Clientela dashboard specializes in matching customers with in-store stylists. Based on data points like size, hair color or eye color coupled with a sense of what they’re looking to purchase, customers manually supply store employees with these highly personal details to streamline the process for finding the right stylist and product. Benefit Cosmetics saw its online booking rate for in-store appointments increase five times after partnering with Clientela in 2012.

In-store appointments booked according to Clientela’s artificial intelligence utilizes increasingly popular chat bots in order to align with shoppers. “Today, there is an exciting opportunity to apply our latest innovations in brick-and-mortar curation to e-commerce and further develop a true high-touch client experience across all channels,” said Marcello De Luca, cofounder of Clientela.

Clientela offers a software as a service platform that’s web-based, device-agnostic and caters to a global audience. Built with large enterprise retail brands in mind, the software can be integrated with CRM, point-of-service, e-commerce, marketing engines, and enterprise resource planning, as well as any standard application programming interface.

“Our relational database can be queried to track dozens of KPIs by default and new, custom reporting can be implemented to match specific requirement for each brand,” Benazzo said.

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