New Plumb Club Platform Aims to Make Virtual Feel Real

TechnologySep 01, 2020

New Plumb Club Platform Aims to Make Virtual Feel Real

Executive Director Lawrence Hess gave National Jeweler the scoop on the TPC-365 virtual platform and the features coming soon for retailers.

The Plumb Club’s new platform connects buyers and sellers virtually.
New York—The Plumb Club had been looking into how to set up virtual meetings between its members and their customers for more than a year.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Still in the research and development phase, the organization had to jump-start its plans to get a solution up and running quickly.

The result is the TPC-365 platform, a new way for members and retailers to connect virtually 24/7.

The goal was to get the experience as close to a real-life meeting as possible, Lawrence Hess, executive director of the Plumb Club, told National Jeweler in an interview.

When a supplier sits down with a retailer, they will usually take out trays of jewelry to show off new collections. A retailer will take a closer look and set aside what they like.

The platform offers a virtual tray to allow that same interaction.

As suppliers show their pieces retailers can drag-and-drop their selections into the tray.

A screen-sharing feature allows the supplier to see what piece the retailer is looking at in real time, down to what part of the piece they’re viewing, like if they’re zooming in on a center stone or taking a closer look at the setting.

The supplier can point out something specific or answer questions while the retailer is looking.

Suppliers can also show their marketing materials at the same time, just as if they were sliding them a lookbook across the table.

“It really becomes an immersive experience, just like if you were sitting there,” said Hess.

That’s where other screen-sharing services and video call platforms are limited, he added.

Presentations can feature high-resolution product images, streaming media, product descriptions, and can be tailored to specific clients.

Members have also repurposed the platform for customer service needs, offering virtual consultations to discuss repairs or changes to a piece of jewelry.

The platform will soon offer a lightbox feature, allowing members to put a piece of jewelry into a lightbox and work with it live.

Plumb Club member companies are currently being trained on the platform, which is set to roll out this month in time for the fourth quarter selling season.

“It really becomes an immersive experience, just like if you were sitting there.” — Lawrence Hess, The Plumb Club

The buy-and-sell feature is just phase one of the Plumb Club’s three-pronged strategy.

“Right now, all of our members have the ability to invite a retailer to come into a virtual meeting,” said Hess.

“The second phase is the ability for the retailer to now seek out the member that maybe they don’t know and find out more about them.”

This phase is still in development, cautioned Hess, but he gave an idea of what it could look like.

The second phase could be a virtual shopping center, allowing retailers to browse through its members’ offerings just as if they had stopped into a physical store.

Access to the platform would be free for retailers, said Hess.

Retailers could stroll down a virtual hallway, perusing members’ storefronts as if they were shopping along Main Street.

If a retailer is looking for a diamond bracelet or a watch, a search function will filter all the members to those who have a specific item available.

Retailers could also “walk in” to a storefront to get more information and request an appointment.

The Plumb Club has curated its member list to feature a little bit of everything, said Hess, from watch and jewelry companies to diamond manufacturers, which allows it to offer a variety of products.

Its member list includes watch companies Citizen and Bulova, diamond manufacturer Rosy Blue, pearl purveyors Mastoloni and Imperial Pearl, and jewelry consultant Wilkerson Express, among others.

Phase two is still in the works, said Hess, but is expected to be ready by the fourth quarter of this year.

The last phase involves developing a member resource center, a one-stop shop for all of its webinars, podcasts, news articles, and other content.

That content is available on its website now, said Hess, but it’s not all available in one spot like it would be on the new platform.

It could serve as a gathering place for the organization too, said Hess, allowing suppliers and retailers to connect, as they would if the Plumb Club was holding an in-person event.

“This platform, while it’s super valid right now, will continue to be valid. After there’s a vaccine and everyone is going into stores and you can meet physically, we still believe this platform will be relevant and important because it allows you to connect on a regular basis with your clients,” said Hess.

The ultimate goal is to add to the platform to create an immersive experience for its members all year long.

“Many industries have been successfully leveraging the virtual space for years,” said Michael Lerche, president of The Plumb Club, in a press release announcing the platform.

“The jewelry industry has been lagging, however, now more than ever, and continuing to the future, the virtual space is essential for sustained business growth.”

The platform was created by Boss Logics, a web-based business solutions provider, who has worked with H&M, Guinness, and several jewelry brands and retailers.

“The ‘together’ platform not only offers huge efficiencies to both manufacturers and retailers, but more importantly, it provides an effective business-relationship-building tool and a totally collaborative experience, just like an in-person meeting would,” said Zach Lipsky, founder and president of Boss Logics.

The platform is set to be completed sometime in 2021.

For more information, visit the Plumb Club website.
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

The Latest

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hurricane satellite image
Policies & IssuesJun 20, 2024
5 Safety and Preparedness Tips for Jewelers This Hurricane Season

Jewelers Mutual is advising jewelers along the coast to prepare for above-normal hurricane activity this year.

JVC’s Sara Yood and Tiffany Stevens
MajorsJun 20, 2024
Sara Yood Appointed JVC CEO As Tiffany Stevens Moves On

The leadership change at the organization charged with guiding the industry on legal issues will take effect next week.

Precious: The History and Mystery of Gems Across Time
SourcingJun 20, 2024
Jewelry Expert Helen Molesworth to Release First Book

“Precious: The History and Mystery of Gems Across Time” will be available on Sept. 17.

Untitled design.jpg
Brought to you by
The End of an Era? Lab-Grown Diamonds' Journey Towards Price Stability

As the demand for lab-grown diamond jewelry may still be increasing, the most notable change we are likely to see is price stabilization.

Claire’s interim CEO Chris Cramer
MajorsJun 20, 2024
Claire’s CEO Ryan Vero Steps Down

Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Chris Cramer has been named interim CEO.

Weekly QuizJun 20, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these questions.
Take the Quiz
Jewelers of America advocacy trip DC 2024
Policies & IssuesJun 18, 2024
JA, Industry Leaders Take Russian Diamond Import Concerns to D.C.

The group met with lawmakers to raise awareness about the financial, operational, and supply chain harms posed by an EU proposal.

Louis Comfort Tiffany 1900 gold and opal necklace
Events & AwardsJun 18, 2024
Driehaus Museum Displaying Rare Jewels From Chicago Collections

The museum also will host jewelry heist-themed movie nights throughout the run of “Chicago Collects: Jewelry in Perspective.”

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

Models wearing Pomellato’s “The Dualism of Milan” collection
CollectionsJun 18, 2024
Pomellato’s New High Jewelry Collection Celebrates Milan

“The Dualism of Milan” collection features two chapters representing the monochromatic and colorful spirit of the city.

Dorian Webb, Kealeboga and Ursula Pule
CollectionsJun 18, 2024
Zales Adds Dorian Webb, Nungu Diamonds to Designer Edit

The Designer Edit, launched earlier this year, highlights up-and-coming jewelry designers.

National Association of Jewelry Appraisers Logo
Events & AwardsJun 18, 2024
NAJA Announces Its Mid-Year ‘Ace It’ Conference

The conference will focus on the “practical ‘how to’ of appraising gems and jewelry,” said NAJA Executive Director Gail Brett Levine.

De Beers CEO Al Cook
EditorsJun 17, 2024
Q&A: Al Cook on the Future of De Beers

The De Beers CEO discussed the Anglo American situation, natural diamond marketing, and why the future of lab-grown diamonds is technology.

Bernd Munsteiner
SourcingJun 17, 2024
Fantasy Cut Inventor Bernd Munsteiner Dies at 81

Known to many as the “Picasso of gems" who modernized the gem cutting field, he is remembered by his family as going through life with open eyes.

Thomas Markle Jewelers interior
IndependentsJun 17, 2024
Thomas Markle Jewelers to Relocate

The Houston-based family jeweler is relocating its flagship just across the street.

Instore and Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference Logos
Events & AwardsJun 17, 2024
Instore Show, Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference to Co-Locate

The partnership, now in its second year, allows CRJC attendees to register for a free Instore show badge.

Stock image of a gavel
CrimeJun 14, 2024
2 Men Sentenced to Life in 2022 Murder of Detroit-Area Jeweler

In court, Daniel Hutchinson’s loved ones remembered the jeweler as a giver, a role model, and a leader.

Billie Bangle
CollectionsJun 14, 2024
Piece of the Week: Jade Trau’s ‘Billie’ Bangle

Take a walk along this bangle’s diamond “cobblestone” made from round-, pear-, and marquise-cut diamonds.

Graphic with headshots for My Next Question 2024 Las Vegas webinar
Recorded WebinarsJun 14, 2024
Watch: What Happened in Vegas in 2024

The National Jeweler editors discuss the hot topics, best jewels, and current trends that stood out during Jewelry Market Week.

Supplier BulletinJun 13, 2024
Leading with Innovation: Core Scientific’s Advanced Refining Solutions

Sponsored by Core Scientific

Vera Wang Love True lab-grown diamond engagement ring
FinancialsJun 13, 2024
Signet Awaits Engagement Recovery as Q1 Sales Sink 9%

The company is expecting to see a 5 to 10 percent increase in engagements this year.

QVC HSN logo
MajorsJun 13, 2024
HSN, QVC Parent Company Faces Delisting

Qurate Retail is in the middle of a turnaround plan as it battles declining sales.

45.07-carat step cut fancy vivid yellow diamond
AuctionsJun 13, 2024
45-Carat Yellow Diamond Withdrawn from Phillips Auction

Signed jewels and period pieces stood out at the sale.

Marie Lichtenberg Scapular necklace
TrendsJun 13, 2024
Amanda’s Style File: For the Fathers

Showcase your dad’s personal style with a piece of fine jewelry for Father’s Day.

The Eden Rose Diamond
AuctionsJun 12, 2024
10-Carat Pink Diamond Sells for $13M at Christie’s

“The Eden Rose” is a fancy intense pink diamond that was appearing at auction for the first time.

Charles & Colvard moissanite ring
GradingJun 12, 2024
IGI to Grade Charles & Colvard Moissanite

The partnership follows the launch of the jewelry company’s B2B moissanite platform.

Bruce Cleaver
SourcingJun 12, 2024
Bruce Cleaver Is Gemfields’ New Chair

The former De Beers CEO will step into the role next month.

Rose cut arch cabochons Columbia Gem House
SourcingJun 12, 2024
State of Colored Stones: Why the Market Is More Colorful Than Ever

As prices of “The Big Three” skyrocket, supply dwindles, and focus on sustainability grows, an age of open-mindedness is dawning.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy