Tableware Today magazine asked 71 industry professionals for their thoughts on 2021. I was one of those asked, and shared these answers to Editor Amy Stavis' questions:
What will be the most significant change for our industry in 2021?
J: As the famous business leader Marc Andreessen said, software is eating the world--and it's eating our industry like never before with Covid-19. The question is whether you're eating or being eaten. We’re all in the software business now. This applies to many industries, from taxis to hotels to tabletop. Software is becoming a much bigger part of each sector which is why we see the growth of Uber and Airbnb.
In our industry, I can’t think of any entity that has adequately invested in tech. If they had, we’d not have been tossed around by outsiders like Amazon, Zola, and Faire.
We hope Bridge can be the tech leader in our industry. We ‘grew up’ in this industry, are friends with its key players, and want to support every facet of it.
In general, I recommend businesses over-invest in software to correct their past underinvestments.
How has the pandemic impacted your business?
J: Bridge's business is up 54%. I spent the last 10 years calling people and asking them to join us, partner, and collaborate. The ones that did are enjoying these double-digit gains. I remember calling a major sales rep group about four years ago and suggested they get ready for a big change in shopping. I sent them Scott Galloway’s book, The Four, which laid out what’s happening now. The rep group didn’t change one thing about how they did business. They may exit this pandemic a shadow of what they were.
What gives you reason to be optimistic?
J: We live in a great country where, regardless of what others do, you can often chart your own future with a great deal of liberty. While swimming against the tide can be tiring, when the tide does turn in your favor, it’s nice to see the lead one has accrued.
What does the new normal look like to you?
J: Our industry and our customers will consider multi-channel to be the norm. We may even stop calling it ‘multi-channel,’ just like we stopped putting the letter ‘e’ in front of words to denote digital-friendly businesses. We used to need to call companies eBay, E-Trade, etc. and now that is not needed. Today it's accepted that we do not have digital companies and non-digital companies. Today’s most successful companies are inherently digital and multi-channel.
The magazine also asked tabletop brands Mariposa and Deshoulieres for their thoughts. The reps from those brands cited Bridge as a trend to watch in 2021. Thank you Virginie and Livia!
Of the 71 businesses and organizations featured in the article, almost half (31) use Bridge.
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