While some businesses may feel a sense of loss or uncertainty when they’re acquired by another, I couldn’t be more excited about the recent combination of my company, Bravo Business Media, with Unilog. In fact, I see it less as an acquisition and more of a collaboration that allows us to better serve our customers.
After more than 20 years working on the manufacturing side of the lighting industry, I started Bravo Business Media to help independent retailers market and sell their products. Our business has grown nicely, even facing fierce competition in the marketplace, which has led us to focus primarily on the decorative plumbing segment – an industry that traditionally had been underserved and over-searched online. That was just over 10 years ago and, since then, we’ve developed a niche business that provides stellar online showrooms, rich product content, and product selection/presentation tools for independent decorative plumbing and hardware retailers, as well as lighting and hearth & home dealers.
Today, Bravo serves 600-plus decorative showrooms across North America. We offer a number of solutions and services to help independent retailers succeed online, including custom website and eCommerce platforms, project builder tools, and, at the core of our offerings, more than 7 million product SKUs representing 1,300 brands. In fact, we maintain the largest data repository of rich media digital assets for the markets we serve. We’re extremely proud of our product catalog, which we derived from direct relationships we formed with manufacturers.
Our content library includes a fully attributed product repository of specifications, images, documentation, finish choices, etc., and something that sets us apart from the rest – product pricing. Unlike other content providers, we manage pricing from the vendor, and make the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) and minimum advertised price (MAP) available to our subscribers to display on their website. We update the pricing and brand content on a daily basis to ensure the information listed on our customers’ sites is current and reliable. Unilog and Bravo’s models for curating content are very different, yet we have similar skills needed to support them. Once we bring our catalogs together, this is going to be a home run for wholesale and retail customers – regardless of their size, industry, or digital maturity. We’ll be able to provide them with reliable and affordable enriched content that their customers expect.
Another unique solution we offer is our SPEX Builder tool that can be used independently or integrated with our online catalog service. This user-friendly product selection software enables showroom staff, their customers, and pro contractors to identify fixtures from their online catalog and build individual rooms or an entire house. SPEX Builder has a catalog generator feature that produces a custom presentation book with the customer’s product choices displayed by room, complete with images, features, and pricing. Once the customer’s wish list is built, the showroom can instantly print out the book or e-mail it to them. If the customer wants a version sent to their building contractor, the showroom can also create a version that includes all the product spec sheets and technical information from the manufacturer. SPEX Builder is an invaluable tool for many of our customers; it’s a real timesaver for them and their end customers love the convenience and professional presentation.
We think SPEX Builder will be a welcome offering for Unilog’s B2B customers as well. With it, distributors can help their contractor customers manage large residential and commercial projects directly via their website. The tool will enable them to create quotes and project submissions and, once the project is a go, the software’s integration with the distributor’s eCommerce site will let them easily order the products from the project list.
Speaking of integration, one of the things that impresses me most about Unilog is the integration and connected nature of the entire platform. The high level of technical intimacy with ERP systems is certainly a desire and need of our mutual clients. Together, with our powerful eCommerce offerings, project building tools, and extensive vendor-managed product content, we offer a comprehensive product portfolio that will unite our B2B and B2C selling channels.
At Bravo, our purpose has always been to do good business and serve the client. Unilog shares the same principles, which is why my team and I are excited and proud to be a part of this organization. We’re bridging the gap for those B2B companies that have retail showrooms, as well as retail customers like ours that are connected to a wholesale distributor in some capacity. We look forward to helping them all gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Ace Rosenstein joined Unilog in 2021 as Executive Vice President following the acquisition of Bravo Business Media, an eCommerce and content services company he founded that serves independent wholesale distributors in the decorative lighting, plumbing, and hardware industries. His extensive experience in the retail space provides an added layer of expertise and perspective for B2B companies that also have B2C sales channels.