International Market Centers (IMC) announced recently the launch of its IMC_di, a wholly-owned, stand-alone, B2B e-commerce division that will offer vendors a single integrated digital platform enabling them to reach new buyers, capture leads and grow sales. Building on IMC’s 20 million square feet of physical markets in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and High Point, the e-commerce platform will allow buyers to transact – in-person or online through one integrated account – seamlessly bridging physical and digital sales.
IMC_di will be created through the concurrent acquisitions of two best-in-class technology companies focused on the gift, home furnishings and apparel industries: Pharos (formerly a division of Whereoware) and RepZio. Pharos is an integrated sales, marketing and commissioning software tailor-made for the gift and home furnishings industry. RepZio is a patented business-to-business sales solution and digital marketplace enabling wholesale vendors and buyers to connect and transact on a B2B basis.
“This is a game-changing opportunity for IMC and the industries we serve,” said Bob Maricich, chief executive officer for IMC. “IMC_di’s customer-centric digital tools will connect physical and digital markets and will amplify the business-to-business and person-to-person experiences that make our markets so special. This new digital platform will enhance and extend IMC’s physical markets –connecting hundreds of thousands of buyers and sellers – and will open new business opportunities for customers. We look forward to delivering a seamlessly integrated omni-channel B2B commerce platform to the industry.”
To optimize deep industry and technology expertise, IMC_di’s leadership will include principals from both Pharos, RepZio and IMC. Eric Dean, founder of Pharos, will become the president of IMC_di. RepZio founders, Max and Alex Fraser, as well as Brandon Ward, who currently leads digital services at IMC, will serve as senior vice presidents. Together, this combined executive team has more than 75 years of demonstrated experience in wholesale markets, software development, B2B commerce and customer-centric digital innovation.
“Our industry is in need of easy-to-access tech solutions that reduce friction, and IMC’s ownership and stewardship will enable us to make that software solution a reality,” said Dean. “IMC’s physical markets and web platforms already deliver a global and highly-engaged audience. After watching this need develop in the industry for more than 20 years, I’m excited to have the talent and resources to realize this vision and fully address the opportunity in the market.”
In addition to supplier and buyer benefits, IMC_di’s products will bridge physical and digital sales and work in harmony with multi-line sales agencies to provide for seamless commissioning execution.
“Our mother was a sales representative in the decorative home furnishings industry for 20 years, and almost 10 years ago we developed RepZio to help her on the road and at market,” said Alex Fraser. Max Fraser added, “Reps often tell us that we’ve made their work easier and helped them to be more successful. We’re delighted to partner with IMC and are very excited to expand our software tools and solutions at IMC_di.”
At closing, the IMC_di team will number 47, including engineers, seasoned developers and marketers of software. Within the 12 months, IMC_di will hire an additional 50-75 full time employees with particular emphasis on solution-based product development, hands-on customer success and on-boarding, and user experience.
“Since its founding in 2011, IMC’s mission has been clear and consistent: to provide the most effective, efficient and compelling B2B Marketplace for the industries we serve – for both buyers and sellers,” added Maricich. “IMC_di is the logical next step in our commitment to this mission, making discovery more efficient, relationships more valuable, and our physical markets more effective for our industry.”
About International Market Centers: International Market Centers (IMC) is the world’s largest operator of premier showroom space for furniture, gift, home décor, rug, and apparel industries. International Market Centers owns and operates nearly 20 million square feet of world-class exhibition space in High Point, N.C., Las Vegas and Atlanta. IMC’s mission is to build and operate an innovative, sustainable, profitable and scalable platform for the furniture, gift, home décor, rug, and apparel industries. For more information on IMC, visit http://imcenters.com/. IMC is a Blackstone and Fireside Investments portfolio company.