Newport based UK Plumbing Supplies provides tools and materials to plumbers across the UK.
Managing Director Chris Barnbrook is managing the company's development with a combination of online ordering, improved online information and social media.
For busy tradesmen like plumbers, the convenience of online ordering isn't just something that's "nice to have" it's essential to letting them get on and get the job done.
By allowing trade plumbers to order everything they need online without having to wait at the counter, they can save valuable time.
'The difference between or company and the other companies out there is everything can be done on your phone, on your tablet, your laptop, or on your normal computer at home.
If you're a plumber on site, you can just pick up your phone and in 10 minutes you can order £100 of materials, and in half an hour we can have it ready to pick up.'
Better information online
The internet is far more than a quick to use conventional catalogue. Videos are already an important part of online content, and this will be increasingly important as superfast broadband becomes more common.
UK Plumbing Supplies already concentrates on videos as a part of their sales process.
'People like to see what they're buying. We've recently done a video of a particular gas boiler which shows the inner workings, the company history, reliability, etc. Instead of just buying a white box, they're now buying something which they know quite a bit about because they've seen the video.'
Effective online business strategies are an integral part of the overall business approach, not a separate add on thought about later. Developments such as online social media are going to dramatically increase the importance of this integrated approach, giving small businesses a big advantage in presenting a more personal approach to their customers around the world.
'Getting your company onto the internet is difficult. My advice to anyone is to do your own research... Over a period of time it does work. I'm now supplying people in North Yorkshire, I'm sending stuff up to Scotland, down to Devon, pretty much everywhere in the country.'
'Social networking is becoming extremely big in the market. With a lot of perseverance and gentle care... you can make it work for you.'
Chris Barnbrook has shown that the internet can make a perfect customer interface for all aspects of the business at UK Plumbing Supplies - from engaging through social media, to providing product information, and processing the orders with maximum efficiency for everyone.
It's also shown there is the opportunity for a much wider business beyond their Newport base. They could use this as an opportunity to expand traditionally, or they could partner with other local plumbing supplies outlets.