Courtesy of All Seasons Pools and Spas, Illinois
Courtesy of All Seasons Pools and Spas, Illinois

As fewer customers come through the door and phones aren’t ringing-off-the-hook, now is the time for pool and spa retailers to set up and maximize the potential of e-commerce to increase product sales, select new product lines and expand your store’s reach beyond your current geographic area.

Step 1: Set up your online empire

We all know that online sales will continue to grow and will help pool and spa businesses continue to profit, especially in the winter months. If you don’t already have an e-store, consider adding a ‘shopping cart’ feature to your website— it can provide customers with an easy check-out and facilitate curbside pick-up or delivery. It’s designed to make sales management easier and keep your pool and spa business thriving year-round.

“The past two seasons were extremely busy and the RB Pool & Spa e-commerce shopping cart we added to our website was used more than ever,” explains Tracy Bond, owner of Great Valley Pools. “The online store was great as an additional point-of-sale option. It gave our customers the ability to search availability, order online and arrange for delivery or pick up depending on their preferences. It helped our retail division and provided that extra convenience which was great for customer loyalty.”

Step 2: Add products, services and down payments

Online stores allow retailers to open-up valuable space in their brick-and-mortar stores by offering, for example, lower-margin products online only. Having a robust business software that integrates with a powerful e-commerce store allows pool and spa retailers to operate more proactively and start generating additional sales immediately. Savvy professionals are even including down payment options in their e-store for products and services that might not start or be delivered until next spring.

Step 3: Promote your online store

There are many simple ways for businesses to promote their online presence, including printing your website on all receipts, sending emails and direct mail, or even running Google ads. The goal is to re-train customers to use your online shopping option as much as possible. Remind customers they don’t need to drive to the store to pick up spa chemicals, for example, when they can order for home delivery instead.

Step 4: Expand your reach

To build your e-commerce empire, use marketing to expand your store’s geographic reach. Start by actively targeting areas farther from your physical location. Winter is an excellent time to reach out to consumers who might not typically visit the store—not only to sell them pool and spa products, but also to offer them winter services such as pool closing, safety covers, and equipment upgrades.

Step 5: Get started NOW!

The “off season” is the ideal time for pool and spa retail store owners to get better at using the power of their business software and become nimbler with their e-commerce site. For example, start planning a calendar of “cyber-sales” for products previously sold only on the showroom floor or test a product line you haven’t offered in the past. Pool and spa retailers only have a few precious months during the winter to get creative with marketing, consider adding new products and services, and make the most of their e-commerce site.