When I owned several retail jewelery stores many years ago, it wasn’t in the age of the internet, so I didn’t have to worry about nationwide competition. Back then, my main concern was generating foot traffic to get people into the store to see the merchandise. I’m not saying I had it easy, but I certainly didn’t have it as tough as retail stores do today, with the added competition on the internet, giving shoppers more alternatives than ever, and giving many an excuse never to set foot in a brick and mortar store again. Of course not everyone shops on the web. There are still the old-fashioned types who enjoy driving, touching the merchandise and hearing the cash register ring. I’m actually one of them myself. But I must say I am amazed at the innovative companies in the personalization industry that are breaking new ground and making it easier and more convenient than ever to order custom t-shirts online. I learn something new everyday when I visit these sites, such as who’s ordering what, what style t-shirts are popular, who’s spending money (t-shirts for bachelorette parties?), trends in lettering and so much more. What sites am I talking about? Well, everyone’s heard of www.zazzle.com, but I do keep an eye on www.customink.com and www.designashirt.com and there are several others out there as well that have some very amusing t-shirt designs and fantastic web-ordering interfaces. So if you are a brick and mortar operation that sells custom shirts, don’t forget to keep abreast of what your online competition is up to. Sure, some people don’t want to pay for shipping or don’t want to shell out $20 for a custom t-shirt. But from the looks of things, it seems like there are quite a few people out there that do.