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Jason Solarek picture
January 21, 2020
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared
Seminars Offer Strategies for Independent Stores
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Jason Solarek picture
January 21, 2020
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared

Seminars Offer Strategies for Independent Stores

A special thanks to HFN's Allison Zisko for sharing our Atlanta seminars:

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Atlanta Seminar Offers Selling Strategies for Independent Stores
Casafina and Vietri will host Bridge’s Jason Solarek in their respective showrooms
Allison Zisko // Editor in Chief
January 15, 2020

Jason Solarek, Bridge CEO, and Matt Hullfish, Casafina’s national sales manager, at a seminar last year.

ATLANTA—Tabletop brands Casafina and Vietri are ...Read more of post

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January 21, 2020
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared
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January 21, 2020
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared

Bill Robedee, the new president of Portmeirion USA, is profiled in the November-December issue of HFN by Allison Zisko. Bill was previously the president of Nambé.  

Nambé and all of Portmeirion’s brands are Smart Brand partners. 
Jason Solarek picture
January 12, 2020
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared
Jason Solarek picture
January 12, 2020
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared

Happy to see lots of Smart Products in this month's HFN magazine. New products from:
Lenox
Casafina
Badash
Mariposa
Beatriz Ball
Waterford
iittala
Pampa Bay

These Smart Products are instantly added to your Bridge Catalog.  
 
Jason Solarek picture
December 17, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared
Free Seminar: Grow Your Vietri Gift Registry Business 14%
Saturday, January 18
AmericasMart / Atlanta
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Jason Solarek picture
December 17, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared

Free Seminar: Grow Your Vietri Gift Registry Business 14%
Saturday, January 18
AmericasMart / Atlanta

You're invited:

Vietri Bridge Seminar
Saturday, January 18th at 5 - 6 pm EST
Location: Vietri showroom (Building 2, Suite 909)

Why attend?
  • Over 2.5 million weddings will occur in the U.S. this year.
  • Each wedding registry can produce $1,000 in orders for a store. 
  • We'll show you how to get brides to register at your store, fill their registry with Vietri, and promote it to their friends and family.
  • By the end of the seminar, you can have a
...Read more of post

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December 3, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared
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December 3, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared

39% percent of all e-commerce sales were made on a smartphone on Black Friday, according to research from Adobe reported on by Andrea Lillo in HFN magazine.

And this growth came at the expense of in-store traffic: "In-store traffic on Black Friday fell 2.1 percent compared to last year, Newsday reported this morning, citing RetailNext, a San Jose, Calif.-based retail analytics company. "

Ms Lillo goes on to share that big e-commerce companies, such as Amazon, are beating ...Read more of post

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October 7, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared
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October 7, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared

Nice to see four Smart Brands featured on one page in HFN: Moser, Royal Copenhagen, Iitala, and Royal Limoges.
Jason Solarek picture
August 11, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared
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August 11, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared

Fifty percent of the U.S. book market is controlled by Amazon, while Barnes & Noble has 8%. This book market share split shows that shoppers value convenience and price more than customer service. Anyone that says retail can be helped, saved, or fixed by concentrating on anything but convenience and price is wrong.

For example, an HFN columnist whom I won’t name is often extolling the need to make the in-store shopping experience fun and interesting. Similarly, a market...Read more of post

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July 18, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared
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July 18, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared

Do you offer college students a gift registry? Allison Zisko encourages you to in this month’s HFN. The average college room decorating bill is $942, just shy of what the average wedding registry produces in sales. Ms. Zisko shares that Amazon is making big inroads and investments in the college market. What are you doing to keep pace?
Jason Solarek picture
July 17, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared
Jason Solarek picture
July 17, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared

What is your abandoned cart rate? This and other factors arose in a shipping survey conducted by BigCommerce.

Some survey findings:


+ Fifty-eight percent stopped shopping certain retailers because of a negative shipping experience.

+ Amazon Prime has set a high bar with free two-day shipping. In the past 12 months, 84 percent of global survey respondents made an online purchase specifically because it offered free shipping, and half said they avoid shopping with retailers...Read more of post

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May 31, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared
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May 31, 2019
Jason Solarek at Bridge shared

This month’s HFN magazine shares a letter that I wrote to the editor. In the letter, I encourage the industry to team up and push back against Amazon and big online entities in order to ensure our long-term survival. I welcome your feedback on it.

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Fifty-four percent of people looking for a product go directly to Amazon.com, shared a front page story in this week’s Wall St. Journal. This 54 percent is not good for nearly anyone in our ...Read more of post

Comments:
Jason Solarek picture
June 6, 2019 04:02 PM
Jason at Bridge:
Private comment
A sales rep shared this comment with me:
"Your letter rings too true--brands pay anywhere from 5-15 percent to a rep and vendors flip out--yet will pay a bigger percentage to Amazon."

Jason Solarek picture
June 6, 2019 05:38 PM
Jason at Bridge:
Private comment
A sales rep shared this comment with me:

Jason, you make some really good points. However, Amazon is not the only powerful force working against independent retailers. Right now, in my opinion, just as damaging as Amazon is the skyrocketing cost of commercial real estate. Rent in corporately owned shopping centers is out of control along with annual increases in CAM fees. Even in older, less desirable centers they are charging ridiculous rent. I have several customers who tell me that they still have pretty good traffic (despite taking a hit to online ordering) but their rent is killing them.

Just in the last month, I have lost two retailers who closed outright, one that is moving to another location in a less desirable area of town, and three stores in a locally owned chain about to close (three locations closed last year). In one location her space was costing $30,000/month! And they were taking an override on her sales!

It is also worth noting that two national chain stores have closed in the same center with more to come. I have at least one other retailer (that I know of) looking to get out of her lease and move because her CAM fees keep going up dramatically every year. She has two years left on her lease and is looking for someone to assign it to. She wants to buy her own space so she can control her costs. One of the stores that closed was a second location. It took nearly a year to build out and she was in there for less than a year. She signed a 10 year lease! While I would question the wisdom of a 10 year lease, it is easy to see how retailers could get caught up in the promise of a bright and shiny new storefront and the promises of the traffic it could bring.

The real estate owners/managers who demand long term leases are contributing to the problem. It is an all or nothing deal –if you don’t sign, they will find some other sucker to fill that spot. It is like dealing with the mafia.

Jason Solarek picture
June 9, 2019 09:12 PM
Jason at Bridge:
Private comment
Wendy Kvalheim, owner of premium tableware manufacturer Mottahedeh, shared this comment:

Your article is very compelling. Though people are lured by the great potential of selling to Amazon, it is a slippery slope and something that is very difficult to come back from. We made a decision years ago not to join this group. One must make a decision about who one’s audience is. If it is a luxury brand, it must appeal to the exclusive buyer and consumer and the volumes are relatively small. Much of this business is through the internet and requires taking drop ship orders.
Bridge is perfect for this type of business because it saves a lot of man hours by linking the manufacturer with the retailer We value this service and plan to continue.

Best wishes,

Wendy Kvalheim
CEO and Owner
Mottahedeh
5 Corporate Drive
Cranbury, N.J. 08512

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