Be successful at retailing spa step and surrounds

Spa accessories may not be your biggest money makers, but they are an important source of income. And if marketed the right way, not only will they bring in extra dollars, but they'll keep the store traffic steady.

"We've been doing really well with surrounds," says Bill Allan, owner of Coastal Hot Spring Spas in Anaheim, Calif. "Our key is the way we display them."

Showing Off

Vvv 909 AqAllan tried a new sales tactic this year, and it seems to be paying off. He's put a variety of surrounds and steps out on the showroom floor, setting up different spa displays complete with LED lighting and the best products on the market.

"If you go to any other spa store, in most cases, you're not going to see nicer products," says Allan, "they're going to have cheaper stuff on display. And we used to be the same way. Most places are afraid to put out something too nice because someone will come in and say, 'I want a spa, but you have to throw that step in,' referencing the nicer, more expensive step."

But Allan promotes the higher-price-point step and has found that it's less of a gamble than he thought. He keeps the less-expensive steps in a warehouse and if a customer comes in and sees the nicer steps and asks to have them thrown in on the deal, he simply goes to the back, grabs a set of the $50 steps and says, "There you go, that's the free one."

Allan notices that many customers are now asking for the nicer $500-$600 step, and he's turning a $100 profit per step.

"We're not making a lot of profit, but we're making a positive versus a negative. And, it's setting us apart from the competition."

Complete The Look

Even though Allan worried the money he was investing into showcasing a variety of steps, surrounds and lighting might be for naught, he's quickly found out it's the exact opposite.

"Of all the people who come in and buy a spa from me, I would say half are talking themselves into buying something nicer, as far as a step or rim deck, doing something with their spa besides making it a plain old spa."

Allan recently had a customer come in the store who bought the cheapest spa available, but when it came to accessorizing, the customer went all out and spent a substantial amount of money on steps and lights.

"That was great for me because it shows me that I'm doing something right," he says. "I was just amazed that here they are buying a $4,000 tub and they are investing $800 into the step, just a plain step where a lot of times us salespeople would give it away."

Customer interest is paying off, and Allan is seeing some progress. He says this past April was the best April he's had in six years, and he'll keep working on his display to ensure customers get to see all there is to offer and invest in his store.

"A couple of months ago I had a customer come in and look at the spas and the steps. He lived right between my store and another store that sold the same product, and he came back to Coastal and bought.

"I always ask everybody what the contributing factor was for the sale. And he said we had the best display. He didn't say price, he said display, and I thought that was good."

Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail [email protected].

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