From the Editor’s Desk: Coverings footnotes and more TileDealer for you
 
May 1st, 2006

by Janet Arden, Editor

May-June 2006

Further on in this issue we have a report on Coverings 2006. If you were there, you know it was the biggest show yet and better than ever. If you were not in Orlando, we’ll do our best in the next few issues to deliver continuing reports on all the excitement.

But right now, I’d like to share a few quick but important observations. We’ll be covering these in depth in future issues, but for now, here they are:

1. Color is making a comeback. In addition to the neutrals and earth tones we all love, deeper, truer shades are gaining popularity. Think rich chocolates, deep umbers, sunset yellows and oranges, ocean-inspired turquoise and more. How would these shades update your showroom and your display vignettes?

2. Today’s consumer is very well-educated. She shops the Internet before she even gets to your showroom. Can you answer her questions?

3. The U.S. dimensional stone market is now worth $3.1 billion. It’s big and getting bigger. You don’t have to be part of this marketplace, but you do need to understand the role it plays with the residential and commercial consumer. What do you know about stone?

4. Today’s tile and stone marketplace has more international players than ever.

5. Technology is driving installation. There are new and better tools, materials and techniques to produce better results. Are you delivering this level of technology?

6. Training is everywhere. Manufacturers are hosting training sessions. CTDA delivers Tile Training in a Box and the Color Variation Program to your doorstop or Online training to your desktop. You must know what you sell and no one else can learn it for you.

7. Customer service can set you apart from the big box stores and the rest of your competitors. Are your customers satisfied? Do they come back? Do they send their friends? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you know what your homework assignment is.

8. Opportunity is knocking. Today’s booming marketplace offers more opportunities than ever for you to deliver ceramic and stone materials, trims and borders to finish a project, and options like underfloor heating. Call it upselling, call it a broader product line. In the end you’re going to call it satisfied customers.

Lately we’ve been learning a lot about our companion website, tiledealer.org. Two facts have been especially exciting—first, we get thousands of unique “hits” each month. Unique hits are not links from the CTDA website or the result of a Google search. They represent individual web visitors that purposely search out tiledealer.org.

Second, when these visitors get to our website, they stay an average of 7 minutes! That time frame may seem long or short, depending on what you’re doing (On hold with customer service? It’s long! Having coffee with a friend? Never enough time.) But in web terms, 7 minutes is great—it means visitors are finding what they want at tiledealer.org.

We’re thrilled to know that our readers are finding what they want in these pages and on the website. But we want to serve you better. So, as I write this column our web designer is sprucing up tiledealer.org, making it easier than ever to find current and previous issues and connecting you with our advertisers with a simple click.

Beyond that, we’re developing some content exclusive to the website. Keep checking—we’ll be revealing it soon.

Janet Arden

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