A.R.E. apps connect retailers, suppliers

Hollywood, FL--To better serve both retailers and members, the Association for Retail Environments has launched two new apps for Supplier | Connect, the search function connecting retailers to the hundreds of A.R.E. member suppliers and designers.

For office use: Supplier | Connect desktop. This first-of-its-kind interactive directory sits on the user's computer desktop for access without using an Internet browser. Updating itself automatically with the latest supplier data, it provides the most current directory in the industry. The interface even looks like a store interior, and this "showroom" will be "remodeled" every six months to reflect the evolution of retail design. To browse 11 broad categories, a user mouses over a product to click on its category, such as the wall graphics for Signage & Graphics. Numerous subcategories narrow the search. Or the "Advanced Search" feature enables searching by keyword, location, category, and/or materials used. The user can then view company and contact info, or click to the member's website. The app also links to the latest industry news from the showroom page.

For on-the-road use: Supplier | Connect mobile. This user-friendly app is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry, Droid, and other smartphones. It can be used to browse quickly through the detailed product/service categories for on-the-spot sourcing -- say, during a project meeting. Or the alpha list takes a user directly to a specific member company. Users can bookmark favorites, schedule visits, track companies visited, and keep notes on them. The app also has info on A.R.E. events.

Each app was designed to make effective use of the medium. The desktop app has enhanced features that users are likely to appreciate in an office environment, while the mobile app search is designed for maximum search speed and other needs of field use.

About A.R.E.

The Association for Retail Environments (A.R.E.) is a Hollywood, Fla.-based non-profit trade association representing the retail environments industry. More than 600 member companies include store fixture suppliers, retail design firms, suppliers of visual merchandising products, and suppliers of materials and equipment for the retail environments industry. Member capabilities include importing, exporting, consolidating, installing, project management, engineering, design, and more.

SOURCE: Assn. for Retail Environments

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