Retail teams need to communicate far more than your average business. To bring a single product to market, manufacturers need to confirm product measurements, shipping weight, components, pricing, and more. Without the right customer relationship management (CRM) platform in place, that equates to days of back-and-forth communication between retail teams.
On average, half of workers’ time is spent hunting for data, correcting errors, and confirming sources for uncertain data. That means that most retail teams could be 50% more effective by implementing a unified contextual chat messaging platform. It brings to mind the following question:
If you have product data that the right stakeholders can’t access when they need it, is it as bad as having no product data at all?
In this article, we’ll look at the meaning of contextual messaging, some examples of contextual communication, and how the right CRM platform can make contextual chat messaging an intuitive experience. Let’s take a look.
What is contextual chat?
Contextual chat is simply a chat platform that allows users to start and reference conversations based on customized segmentation. In layman’s terms, you can sort conversations by a topic of your choosing. Say you want to reference all conversations about a specific t-shirt, or want to see every chat your team had about brown couches. If your CRM solution has contextual chat functionality, you’ll be able to do just that.
You can see how contextual chat capabilities would expedite the process of bringing products to market. But there’s another application for contextual chat messaging that doesn’t even concern your product development team: getting product data to frontline salespeople. When PWC asked consumers to rank what would most enhance their in-store shopping experience, “access to knowledgeable and helpful sales associates” was at the top of the list (27%).
Contextual chat is essential to CRM
Most retail sales associates are still trained on new products the day they arrive in store. They’re given a printed list of product data to review during slow times. This means that sales associates are often in the unfortunate position of talking to customers about products that they still know nothing about. But what if sales associates could access that product information weeks before the product hits store shelves? What if your sales team could share select product data sets with marketing in a single click?
Even companies that have basic contextual chat as part of their CRM suite rarely have many to many collaboration capabilities. This means that they're only able to search for conversations that happen with other members of their organization. However, most of the feedback that retail teams need to expedite the production and sales process comes from external entities.
Teams need to communicate with designers, manufacturers, shipping, the C-suite, suppliers, retailers, and other stakeholders. Communicating with other members of the organization is but a fraction of the equation. So, why are most teams still using CRM solutions that don’t allow easy communication with external entities?
What are some examples of contextual communication?
Let’s get into the nitty gritty. Surefront is uniquely coded with a patented method of object-oriented product information programming. This means the software is coded to be centralized around a singular data point. Every subsequent contextual chat messaging conversation is then connected to that particular object. With Surefront, you can choose to sort your contextual chat messaging in three ways:
By enabling your teams to sort data by whatever information is the most relevant, you can bring your internal team and retail partners closer to the product information they need. Surefront’s unified customer relationship management (CRM) platform seamlessly works with our PIM and PLM solutions. So you can create a uniquely immersive collaborative experience, without the hassle of cross-referencing emails and other chat tools.
You don’t want your data to be siloed. Your company’s PIM, CRM, and PLM solutions shouldn’t operate in a vacuum, either. Surefront is a Unified Product Collaboration Platform to power growth and ROI. Our patented PIM, CRM, and PLM solutions streamline omni channel sales, merchandising and product development. Surefront combines these three essential functionalities to create a single source of truth throughout your product lifecycle, sales and listing processes.