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The site, Best in Antiques, has been developed to facilitate trade between British dealers and a global network of buyers. The site was developed by Podger with London property developer Duncan Moss and web and mobile developer Gurps Nijjar.

“For some years I have seen the value of dealers being able to access the world market via online selling portals and have worked hard to partner with people who have the necessary skills set,” Podger says. “I see my role as one facilitating dealers’ businesses to succeed. Best in Antiques is merely an extension of that ethos.”  

Part of Podger’s plan is to run the site with the help of 10 core dealers comprising a focus group to “make sure the site works really well from the dealer and customer point-of-view.”

The platform went live in late October and is now in a several month long ‘soft-launch’ period. Podger describes it as “embryonic” with 14 dealers signed up so far. 

The site is one of many technology platforms launched this year, including other dealer platforms and sales hubs. But Podger’s experience with antiques centres has made him live to the importance of working with the owners of physical shops and customer security.

His previous entrepreneurial experience began with the opening of the first Great Groom in 1993. The business developed in the early 2000s into a chain of four centres across the country, though it is now consolidated in Hungerford.

Now, however, he believes that with his background in the antiques world, Moss’ knowledge of international business and Gurp’s technological knowledge “we think it is a great fit and are very excited to offer dealers something that can really help their businesses grow and prosper well into the 21st century and beyond.

Growth in dealer portals

Another recent addition to the growing number of online hubs is the Decorative Arts Society or DECASO, a dealer hub geared to attract the design community.

The new platform was launched two weeks ago by the team behind the US trading site Chairish. It describes its goal as “to disrupt the luxury modernism and antiques market by collaborating with premier dealers” and offers a range of modern and antique furniture and decorative objects.

“By uniting world class dealers, inventory, technology, site design and marketing expertise, we’re creating the most trusted place to discover truly exceptional things” said co-founder Gregg Brockway.

Part of the California-based business’s scheme is the quality of the “carefully vetted” dealers they admit to the community. The number of participants is capped at 500 US-based dealers.