Leigh Sevin and Jinesh Shah founded Endear to empower retail sales teams to chat with customers via email, text and WhatsApp and track how those conversations turn into sales. As Shopify’s first and only clienteling app, Endear continues to pave the way for modern omnichannel retailers.
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Keep reading to learn more about Endear’s story and how the team has found success as a Shopify Partner app.
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Over the past decade or so, the commerce industry has seen a hearty debate about the lifespan of brick-and-mortar retail. Some say that retail is dying, while others say that the reality is quite the opposite.
One team works to straddle this line, supporting omnichannel merchants by bridging the gap between in-store and online sales: Endear. Endear is a clienteling platform and CRM that empowers stores to digitally connect with and sell to customers to increase traffic and drive sales in-store and online.
Leigh and Jinesh had always been interested in the tech that powered the omnichannel space, but the investment was being made on the e-commerce side, despite brick-and-mortar stores being an important part of the retail equation.
“At the time, we realized there were few technology resources and tools that retail stores could use to manage their business in a data-driven way—like websites do,” said Leigh.
So, she and Jinesh conceived a clienteling platform to ensure that stores and the sales associates who worked within them were not reliant on foot traffic as a way to succeed at their jobs.
“The whole purpose of being omnichannel is to provide multiple ways for customers to autonomously design their own path to purchase,” said Leigh. “But your salespeople are still an incredible resource. So, how do you give your store associates the ability to sell remotely?”
The whole purpose of being omnichannel is to provide multiple ways for customers to autonomously design their own path to purchase.
That was what Leigh and Jinesh set out to do—to give retailers the right data and the right tools to drive sales over remote channels, not just in their store.
Retail Sales in an Omnichannel World
Omnichannel retail is a proven strategy. Return rates are lower, AOV is higher, and the lifetime value of an omnichannel customer is about 30% better than if they just shop one channel or another.
But does an omnichannel approach render retail salespeople obsolete? No. Not only can your sales team power valuable experiences like local pickup and appointment shopping, but they also play a critical role for both in-person and online sales.
Lifestyle brand Alexis Bittar is a testament to this. The brand launched its brand solely online during the COVID pandemic. With Endear, they leveraged a fully remote sales team to grow the brand for a year before opening any stores, in which they also placed retail salespeople.
“Their outlook on their website is that it’s meant to feel like a store—that you're walking into an Alexis Bittar store, and it just happens to be digital,” said Leigh. “We love being a part of that strategy and the way that this brand values sales across channels.”
Another Endear customer, Gorjana, uses their in-store sales team to connect with customers who don’t live near its brick-and-mortar locations. When a customer does shop online after speaking to a salesperson, their AOV is typically 20% higher than someone who doesn’t speak to a salesperson.
“To us, that's just evidence that salespeople are valuable, and they really do make a difference in driving these key metrics,” said Leigh. “The more information and the more confidence you give a shopper, especially if they're buying online, the better results you get.”
In short: If you have a sales team, Endear is an incredible resource. “Our goal as a company is to open up the eyes of ecommerce and say ‘It can't just be all marketing’,” said Leigh.
With Endear, brands can track which channels—both physical and digital—contribute to sales and how those channels contribute to each other. These insights are some of the most valuable aspects of the Endear platform as it allows omnichannel brands to see how their brick-and-mortar store is impacting their ecommerce efforts.
Shopify merchants who also manage a brick-and-mortar store don’t have to use Shopify POS to enjoy Endear, but according to Leigh and Jinesh, those that leverage both Shopify platforms have a better experience on Endear.
“Because Shopify is already unifying the data between your stores and your website,” said Leigh, “ Endear works better when you already have that data unified.”
Unifying this data and tying it back to sales and marketing efforts helps merchants achieve organizational transparency—an important step to avoid competing across teams, similar to how ecommerce used to compete with stores.
“If everyone in your organization feels like they are using the tools to let them work in tandem, then you create the best experience for the customer,” said Leigh.
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Joining the Shopify Partner Ecosystem
Endear joined the Shopify Partner Ecosystem in 2019 as a clienteling app certified for Shopify Plus.
However, clienteling became just one use for the Endear tool. Over time, the team realized they were creating a more holistic view of the customer that anyone in a retail organization could use.
“That was what we saw as lacking from the app ecosystem within Shopify,” shared Leigh. “There were many apps, but no one was thinking about how to consolidate what a customer was doing across digital and physical touchpoints.”
According to Jinesh, it’s incredibly easy to build on top of Shopify—and not just for the app developers. Merchants can add new apps in a matter of minutes, given the simplicity and trustworthiness of the Shopify ecosystem.
“We've worked with pretty much every commerce or retail API out there, and I can say with definitive certainty that Shopify is the easiest to work with,” shared Jinesh. “The Shopify Partner Developer Team genuinely cares about my experience as a partner developer on the platform.”
To the Endear team, Shopify really does prioritize its partners—whether you're an app or an agency. “It’s clear that Shopify sees us as part of the larger offering it’s bringing to merchants. It's not just about the technology—Shopify has cultivated a whole world so that merchants never have to leave,” said Leigh.
It's not just about the technology—Shopify has cultivated a whole world so that merchants never have to leave
Being part of the Shopify offering and community has made it crystal clear to partners like Leigh and Jinesh that the Endear team is as much a priority as the merchants themselves.
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