RTIH talks startup life, NRF 2021, the coronavirus outbreak and omnichannel challenges with Surefront head honcho Dr. Luke Wang.
RTIH: Tell us about Surefront
LW: Surefront enables retailers and suppliers to easily collaborate on merchandising and product development between internal teams and external partners through a centralised platform termed unified collaboration management.
Available 24/7, even when you work from home, our patented technology streamlines the entire merchandising workflow, accelerates speed to market, and replaces decades old tools like emails, spreadsheets and PDF attachments.
Surefront has many breakthrough features to represent the next generation of Master Data Management (MDM), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Product Information Management (PIM), and Digital Asset Management (DAM).
RTIH: What was the inspiration behind setting the company up?
LW: Surefront was inspired by how the Bloomberg Terminal revolutionised the financial services industry.
B2B retail is a $2+ trillion giant industry, but there were no tailored tools between retailers (buyers) and suppliers (sales), who are from different entities, each having their own technology platforms.
The common denominator between them has been Microsoft Office - Outlook for emails, Excel for product quotations and orders. Their collaboration in the forms of communications and data is buried in various email threads and attachments, which are difficult and sometimes impossible to keep track of.
I recognised this problem while operating my own wholesale business as a supplier. I decided to develop unified collaboration technology, a Bloomberg Terminal for the retail industry.
RTIH: What has been the industry reaction thus far?
LW: Thus far, extremely positive. We’ve had two years with various retailers and suppliers piloting our platform, and we just launched at NRF.
Beyond garnering valuable feedback from these partners, we’ve also been flooded with positive results; we’ve had reports of a 20% boost in daily productivity for our users.
Beyond that, both retailers and suppliers have found enormous value in digitising into a central catalogue, moving out of Excel and email for merchandising and product development, and using our platform for product syndication that would otherwise have taken dozens of emails to achieve for a single product.
Unlike communication platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams, Surefront is the only collaboration and communication platform that allows users to collaborate on an actual product and/or catalogue.
Previous platforms act as simple chat and text tools that only allow you to share an attachment, not actually collaborate within that document. Attendees whom we have demoed for at NRF have been blown away by that concept.