This month's HFN magazine is dedicated to e-commerce. Allison Zisko, the magazine's tableware reporter, shares how businesses are using Bridge.
In some instances, third parties can offer services that retailers find hard to manage, such as keeping on top of the newest prices, SKUs or colors in a line. Bridge is an e-commerce platform that offers retailers–mostly smaller independents–a full online catalog of select tabletop brands that are constantly updated and maintained by the individual vendors. It currently connects roughly 90 tabletop brands with approximately 100 retailers and more than 100 sales representatives. This year Bridge will help retailers process 16,000 orders online totaling $3 million, said company founder Jason Solarek.
"Whether a store is 1,000- or 10,000-square foot, every business pulls its hair out over maintaining website products and Bridge makes this process easier,” Solarek said.
The seven-year old Bridge has added features to its platform to automate processes and trim costs. For example, it recently added a “to-do” checklist to its retail partners’ bridal registries that brides complete. “This save the retailers from having to constantly remind the bride to do X, Y, or Z”, Solarek said. “Our software gently does this reminding. We added a feature that lets retailers team up to add keywords and organize their Bridge items. In this way, a Bridge retailer in Los Angeles is helping a retailer in New York, and vice versa.”
Bridge also tracks hundreds of home goods brands to see wether they sell online, drop ship and so forth, and offers this information to retailers. As a result, on one page a retailer can compare hundreds of brands and see how friendly they are to work with.