Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Avente Tile Owner Selected to Participate in Coverings Discussion

As the founder and owner of Avente Tile, I take great pride in offering each of my clients a diverse and unique professional experience. Since it's inception in 2003, Avente Tile's online tile showroom has sold hand-painted ceramic tile, handmade cement tile, and artisan tiles through various channels of the internet, including our website, this blog, Facebook, Twitter, Houzz, guest posts, and most importantly, word of mouth and repeat business.

So imagine my excitement when I was selected to participate as a panelist in an educational session for tile and stone professionals, Selling Tile: The Internet, the Industry & the Consumer, during Coverings 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. The interactive panel discussion, scheduled for May 1 at 3:15 PM, is designed to show how the internet is influencing the sale of tile to the consumer. From strict sale policies, to reduced prices and no sales tax, the internet has created a new frontier for the industry to navigate.

Bill Buyok Presenting at Coverings 2012
At Coverings 2012, Bill Buyok shares tips on How a Social Media Presence Improves Retail Sales

I’m honored to share the unique perspectives and practices that can lead others to success when it comes to creating a brand and online presence. I started Avente Tile as an online tile showroom and catalog - to make hand-painted ceramic tiles and cement tiles broadly available for others who share the same passion. The internet excels at bringing unusual and divergent communities together. From the day I started the company, I’ve found acceptance and demand for this niche product.

Further, I’ll be sharing the discussion floor with three additional panelists. The discussion will be led by Christine Whittemore of Simple Marketing Now. Christine encourages the use of content marketing including blogs and other inbound digital marketing and social media to add value to your company and message. I met Christine at a Coverings tweet-up almost four years ago. I’ll focus on the virtual showroom perspective and provide tips for more effective web sites and how to determine if an online catalog or e-commerce solution might be right for you. I'll also discuss how Social Media and blogging can save you time and may help bring customers to your virtual or brick-and-mortar store.

Additionally, I am honored to share the stage with two panelists, who are also from Southern California. Steve Slutzah, President/CEO, of Westside Tile and Stone, Inc. in Canoga Park, CA, and Beverly Hills, CA. Westside Tile and Stone is one of the premier tile stores in Southern California. I met Steve several years ago while attending an educational session at Coverings. Also on the panel is Tom Carr of Pan American Ceramics, Inc., who'll represent the distributor perspective. Pan American Ceramics, Inc. is an importer, exporter and distributor of ceramic and porcelain floor, wall and counter tiles, as well as glass and stone mosaics. Rounding out the list is Dave Milanowycz, Director of Sales for Independent Distribution for Florida Tile. Dave will share some of the unique challenges, benefits and insight that the internet poses to the manufacturer, distributor, and retail chain.

Last year, during Coverings 2012, I gave a short, informal presentation and shared tips on How a Social Media Presence Improves Retail Sales. It was a great opportunity to provide insight and hear the struggles that folks face everyday. I've been attending Coverings for over a decade now. It's a yearly pilgrimage for me, and it's the one trade show I never miss. Besides discovering what is new in the world of tile, the event allows me to develop existing relationships, build new ones and gain valuable business insight. If you are a tile and stone professional, it's essential to you and your business to attend Coverings.

I hope to see you at the panel discussion, and I'm eager to have you share your thoughts and insights as well.
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