Global Village

Managing:Technology

Global Village

The second installment in this series about on-line communities in the jewelry industry highlights the Polygon network

Polygon, a veteran of the jewelry industry's on-line presence, is an industry umbrella that has organized most of the major trade associations and established a well-known trading network. Launched in 1983, long before the present-day concept of the Internet, the Polygon Trading Network started as a joint venture between Polygon and Xerox Corp. and followed evolving technology to become the Web-based entity it is today. Still best known for its trading network – where dealers, retailers and manufacturers do business on-line – Polygon also has made its mark with its TradeLock industry password system, used widely among trade associations to restrict their Web sites to the trade. Polygon (www.polygon.net) also specializes in Web-site development and boasts much-used discussion channels, a retailer-oriented "Virtual Boutiques" program and a consumer search engine featuring Polygon jewelers.

Services Offered

  • Trading Networks. Members advertise and post their needs for loose stones here. The idea is that when customers request a stone, jewelers Continued on page 152 can log on and quickly find one that fits their needs rather than call several dealers or turn away customers.
  • Search engine. On Polygon's home page, consumers can "Find Your Local Jeweler" by entering their ZIP code or area code to find a list of Polygon jewelers in that area.
  • Web sites and Virtual Boutiques. In cooperation with the associations, Polygon built generic Web pages for every retail member of the American Gem Society, Jewelers of America, Independent Jewelers Organization, Retail Jewelers Organization, Jewelry Information Center and Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America. (If you're a member of one of these associations, go to Polygon to find your page.) Then, cooperating with suppliers, Polygon added Virtual Boutiques, product profiles that link to jewelers' home pages at no cost. Jewelers can customize which products they want on their pages. Polygon also custom-designs Web sites for a fee.
  • InventoryPower. Diamond and gem dealers make their inventory lists available privately to retail accounts 24 hours a day with a searchable database of stones.

Who's On-Line
Polygon is expanding its scope internationally, but it's still best known as a place where American retailers and dealers convene. There's enough of a mix of independents, bench jewelers, dealers and designers on the discussion channels to stir up interesting conversation.

If You're a Retailer
If you don't already have a presence on Polygon, you should at least register for a free TradeLock password and start to look around. So many of the trade associations are associated with Polygon you should be familiar with the service.

Costs and Packages
Membership in the Trading Network is $495 for the first year or $199 for the first six months, then $95 a month thereafter. Custom Web-site design, construction and maintenance for retail jewelers ranges from $500 to $5,000.

Technically Speaking
Polygon was founded when technology was relatively ancient, so its designers are exceptionally sensitive about load time and the capability of users' computers. The resulting sites may not push design boundaries, but they probably won't crash your machine either.

– by Stacey King



Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


 

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