Do you remember the spring and summer of 1993? Maybe you'll recall when you received your first or second or tenth AOL floppy disk? That was only 20 years ago!! The dial-up connection and that voice saying "You've Got Mail!" Then the movie "You've Got Mail" in 1998 hit as families were purchasing their first computer and everyone was signing on to AOL. For a few weeks AOL's launch of 4.0 used the entire world's production of CDs to market their portal to the rest of the web. That was only fifteen years ago and in one year their 8 million users increased to 16 million! E-Bay and Amazon joined in and showing us what online marketing might evolve to. Five years ago, my guess is that you never would have had a business page on Facebook and if you had a cell phone it would never have been a "smart one."
The first time you meet your customers isn't when they walk into your store, you probably met them online somewhere. They might have seen a tile they liked and searched for a showroom that carried it. Are your links with all your suppliers active? Is your website inviting? Are you making a personal connection or just listing what you carry? Are you aware of what customers are saying about you on Yelp or Google+? Do you know what your online strategy is for the next year or three years? How do you differentiate yourself from the rest of the marketplace? Look at the big companies that stumbled on the start line of the internet; Blockbuster and Barnes and Noble and decide to look ahead with some purpose. This is not something that's going to reap immediate benefits, it's a two or three year process to build a real presence which is why you need to start now. Don't play catch-up. Be Netflix and Amazon rather than Blockbuster and Barnes and Noble. Your choice.