Hey everyone!

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Matt Giovanisci, creator of SwimUniversity.com, and I would like to welcome you to my new Pool & Spa News blog, Retail 2.0.

Do you own a retail store and want to promote your business online? Well, you’re in the right place.

I’ve been working in the industry for 17 years. I started as an employee at a local pool and janitorial store in my hometown when I was 13. (I’m assuming child labor laws hadn’t been fully established then.)

I quickly became the assistant manager and ran the store after school and on weekends. When I turned 17, I began working at a larger store in the next town over. I was the youngest employee in the company at the time.

During my employment there, I developed Web design skills and went on to work for a professional Web design company, until my former pool retailer boss called and asked me to come back only six months later. I become the company’s first marketing director.

During my time in the industry, I’ve managed three retail stores, created multiple Websites, produced TV commercials, recorded radio ads, designed print and billboard advertisements and much more. I’m a jack of all trades, but my real passion is the Web.

I started SwimUniversity.com in 2007 with one goal: to put pool and spa care online and make it easy and less scary for the homeowner. Now, I want to help business owners take advantage of the Web and market their companies online.

I want to educate and make the Web less intimidating. I don’t plan to sugarcoat anything online marketing can be difficult — and I want each article I write to inspire you to take action at your own store.

Some of these action items will include:

  • Building and managing your own Websites
  • Making use of social media
  • Creative and effective advertising
  • Using the Web to find and nurture leads and customers
  • Online marketing strategies

Let’s make this an open discussion. Nothing I say should be taken as gospel. The Web is constantly evolving. If I don’t get criticized or fail to strike up a conversation about these topics, I’m not doing my job. Everyone has a voice and I encourage you to use it. Whether it’s a question, a suggestion, or a piece of constructive criticism, let your voice be heard. So let’s start this season off with a bang, and create a community of pool and spa businesses that are eager to learn and take things to the next level — version 2.0.

To get the conversation going, answer this question: What’s the most difficult thing for you understand or manage when it comes to online marketing?