National Retail Federation of Communications

When you're looking for a communications solution for your retail business, it's important to do your research and identify the features you need. Today's unified communications as a service (UCaaS) systems can help propel your business communications forward regardless of what you sell or who your customers are.

All retailers, no matter their size, need some type of communications strategy to make sure everyone has access to crucial business operations information and data. Whether you're running a business with one brick-and-mortar location, a large retail organization with multiple locations nationwide, or an ecommerce business, having the ability to communicate quickly and with minimal friction is essential.

Discover important factors to consider when it comes to retail communications and data models:

What is National Retail Federation Communications?

The National Retail Federation (NRF), a national trade association for people in the retail industry, offers some guidance on their website for retailers who are looking for information about retail technology, data models, and business process models. National Retail Federation communications recommendations feature using an operational data model (ODM)—basically, a communications roadmap for retailers—to help them decide how to use and communicate data within their organizations.

With this guidance, you can put together a customized communications and data solution for your retail business and figure out what vendors, products and services you'll need. Depending on the size of your store or retail chain, your specific needs may vary.

What is a BPM?

A Business Process Model (BPM) is how a retailer conducts business, by following a model that helps the company manage business operations and think strategically about changes you need to make. It helps you plan what's next for your organization by bringing more structure to your store.

Even small stores can benefit from having the right processes and business models in place. If you're just beginning your retail business, it's the perfect time to decide how you'll run your store. Existing stores can always revisit their business models, too, and make adjustments if something isn't working quite right.

What is an ODM?

With the help of an ODM, your retail business can structure your use of data collected during business operations. Consumer behavior, habits and actions is one potential source of data. ODMs offer a map or architecture to help you manage the vast amounts of data you collect on a regular basis. This way, you can make sense of your data and develop conclusions from it.

What about a Unified Communications System?

There's probably going to be a lot of overlap and interaction between your communications systems and your data. You will need to make sure information is managed in such a way that everything is accessible when it's needed—for instance, customer data should be accessible to any contact center employees that communicate with your customers.

The more streamlined and interoperable your information systems are, the better. Cloud-based communications can make it easier for your departments and different locations to collaborate together and share information. This can also free-up your IT department—they'll no longer have to maintain an older phone and communications system, so they can focus on more significant projects or tackle other issues within your business.

Keep in mind, too, that the vendors and services you choose for your organization should understand retail and have experience working with retailers similar to you. It's a good idea to ask prospective vendors how they've helped other retail businesses set up their communications systems. Compare their answers and be sure to write down any questions you have for them. The right vendor can make a huge difference for your business. Partnerships you make with your vendors can advance your business's goals and enable you to serve your customers more effectively.

Choosing Retail Communications Technology

As you think strategically about your retail business, don't forget to carefully consider how you communicate and use information. Retail businesses rely heavily on data and communications working together in a streamline fashion. This enables companies to stay competitive and effectively serve their customers' needs.

Having a sensible plan and implementing your use of data appropriately for your business model can help you stay on track. If you're looking for a communications technology vendor, 8x8 has the expertise and retail experience to help.

Choosing the right technology is crucial to a successful retail business. Establish a streamlined retail communications strategy with 8x8, and focus on growing your business. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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