Shelf space: At PoolCorp’s model pool store, the mix of pool and spa products were presented with a clean look, and each product had a QR code attendees could scan to learn more.
PHOTO: PoolCorp Shelf space: At PoolCorp’s model pool store, the mix of pool and spa products were presented with a clean look, and each product had a QR code attendees could scan to learn more.

A new model pool store concept was a highlight at this year’s PoolCorp Retail Summit.
Held Jan. 7-8 at Caribe Royale in Orlando, Fla., the event attracted 583 dealer attendees from 295 stores. An additional 287 represented the 90 vendors in attendance.

The event featured a 2,000-square-foot model pool supply retail store, showcasing all the ideas that the Covington, La.-based distributor has been developing and offering to its dealer customers. Packed into the space were sections for chemicals, maintenance, toys, outdoor decor, spa accessories, spas and grills.

PoolCorp officially rolled out its free “planogram” program late last year, but the Retail Summit was the point where that practice met all the company’s other retail offerings.

“The design that they did made it extremely visible so that when consumers look at the shelf, they know exactly what they’re trying to purchase,” said David Stuart, owner of APi Water based in Jupiter, Fla. “It also gave a blueprint for retailers on how to merchandise my products correctly.”

A goal of the planogram program is to make it easy to take products from vision to implementation. The wall shelves are diagrammed with the placement of products where they’ll win the most sales, based on PoolCorp sales data by region. This means a dealer never has to guess which items to carry or how best to display them for attractiveness, accessibility and fit into the limited store space. The wall plan is designed to give every pool store employee the ability to easily build the correct shelving and load the product on, and get the exact same results, no matter who’s stocking the items.

PoolCorp retail staffers were pleased with the results. “When we actually got there, the real test was giving the workers that we hired the planogram and the product in a box,” said Ted Lawrence, corporate retail category manager for PoolCorp.

The plan helps retailers envision how to display multiple products cleanly and effectively. “We had gotten away from displaying so much stuff and being more minimal in the retail store,” said Cricket Benoit, owner of Cricket Pool & Spa World in Lafayette, La. “I think I’m going to go the other direction and display more and put in more planograms and different ideas so there’s more for the customer to see and choose from.”

The model store also brought to life a recommended floor plan and illustrated other merchandising techniques, such as the display of impulse-buy products.

As part of the model store, PoolCorp unveiled another new retail offering — eight signature scents blended for the pool industry, which PoolCorp commissioned from retail scent marketer ScentAir.

PoolCorp CEO Manuel Perez de la Mesa gave the keynote address, focusing on the customer experience and the importance of catering to decision makers. Doug Stephens, known as the Retail Prophet, was guest speaker and explained how the retail store is changing because of design, technology and marketing. Retailers were able to attend networking sessions and training classes.