The founders of a new start-up billed as the ‘world’s first wholesale platform for luxury watches’ claim their idea was inspired by the “inefficient” communication methods of watch dealers.
Wholesalr.io is a web application that has been launched to consolidate luxury watch inventory into a single online marketplace and features brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet.
Watch dealers can source and purchase stock from verified watch wholesalers, with advanced technology and a standardised classification system facilitating trade. Because of its insider nature and wholesale pricing, access to the site is limited to dealers only.
Co-founders Avi Shenkar and Adrian Taskin conceived the idea after serving together at watch industry giant Luxury Bazaar.
Mr Shenkar is chief marketing officer at the firm while Mr Taskin has 10 years’ experience buying, selling and trading over $100m in premium watches. He is also director of Luxury Bazaar’s wholesale division.
The pair argue that luxury watch dealers and wholesalers can sometimes seem stuck in a technological time warp, using a “cumbersome” mix of platforms to do business. Inventory is often bought and sold using old-fashioned internet message boards, Facebook groups, WhatsApp groups, Instagram messages, email lists and of course and in-person at large trade shows.
Mr Shenkar said Wholesalr.io is a solution to a communication problem that plagues the entire industry: “Working at Luxury Bazaar, I noticed one of the main issues was the inefficient communication methods of watch dealers. The retail sales team would have to scramble each time a customer inquired about a certain watch that wasn’t in stock, and I knew there had to be a better way.”
Wholesale.io seeks to consolidate all of what exists in different groups, threads, and trade shows into a daily trading platform and give members access to more than they have had access to before.
Those interested need to submit a request to the site or be invited by an existing member before going through a verification process.
Watch dealers can use the platform to quickly post their goods for sale to thousands of other dealers. Transactions are privately done between buyer and seller, but the site does offer an optional secure escrow service.
Dealers can use the site’s ‘tag technology’ to monitor the platform for any number of new posts with such variables as brand, model, reference number, geographic location, price point and so on. Alerts are sent to the dealer via their preferred communication medium, including email, SMS and WhatsApp.
The luxury new watch industry has doubled in value over the past 20 years and is currently worth more than $20 billion.