The Plumb Club, a New York–based coalition of suppliers from all facets of the jewelry, diamond, and watch industries, has met the new frontier by developing TPC-365, a B2B virtual platform that allows retailers to meet with suppliers and preview the newest products.
The Plumb Club describes TPC-365 as the next generation of virtual meeting places. It further notes that the platform was not a response to the coronavirus pandemic, but rather part of the Plumb Club’s strategic plan for its members to engage in more productive meetings with clients, more easily and more often, while also saving time and money on travel. It goes without saying, however, that the platform also fits in perfectly with the needs of our current way of life, where distance equals safety.
TPC-365, which stands for “the Plumb Club 365 days a year,” allows retailers and suppliers to virtually meet “face to face” and view customer-specific production information and high-resolution product images. The technology offers a fully interactive experience, as each participant can see the other’s movements and gauge interest in a product. The platform also gives participants the ability to change and reorganize a virtual “tray” of products via a simple “drag and drop” feature. Marketing material, including catalogs and look books, can also easily be incorporated into a meeting.
“TPC-365 gets you as close to what an in-person meeting is like without being in the same room,” said Lawrence Hess, executive director of the Plumb Club, noting the group’s mission is to educate, innovate, and connect retailers and suppliers 365 days a year.
Using its “together” technology, BOSS Logics, a leading B2B provider with clients like H&M and Guinness, created, designed, and customized TPC-365 for the Plumb Club with the needs of the jewelry and watch industries in mind. The technology is extremely user-friendly: Just click on a link and you’re in the meeting; no need to install apps or subscribe.
Even when COVID-19 is a distant memory, the Plumb Club believes the future is virtual and expects TPC-365 to become an integral part of doing daily business. “Many industries have been successfully leveraging the virtual space for years,” said Michael Lerche, president of the Plumb Club. “The jewelry industry has been lagging, however, now more than ever, and continuing into the future, the virtual space is essential for sustained business growth.”
Hess pointed out that while the platform’s virtual technology won’t totally replace face-to-face meetings, it will certainly help fill in the gaps when a retailer’s time and availability is limited, as is increasingly the case in today’s business environment.
TPC-365 was launched in September, and already the feedback from retailers has been positive and robust. Many say they appreciate the level of engagement they have with TPC-365—specifically that one can click on a product image, zoom in, and view intricate details up close, as well as see specifications right alongside the image. Many customers laud it as the next best thing to an in-person visit, adding it’s a more affordable, faster, and more focused experience.
“The new TPC-365, from the Plumb Club, is great,” said Tom Hart, vice president of merchandising for Charm Diamond Centres Ltd., which has 59 stores in Canada. “The experience is much more interactive and easier to use than any other platform out there, and each person at the meeting can click on any product to see it and view product details.”
The TPC-365 program will be rolled out in three phases. In addition to the just-launched virtual meeting platform, a virtual “showroom/shopping center” is currently being developed, as well as an educational resource center that is expected to be completed by 2021.