How to Compete with Online Retailers

Due to the recent explosion of the Internet in the past 20 years, an entirely new market has emerged for consumers. Thanks to the Internet, consumers are much more informed about the products they buy — including how much it costs, since customers can easily compare and contrast prices against competing businesses around the world. Competing for Internet sales in the swimming pool industry is an essential part of running a successful business.

One of the most important aspects to keep in mind with Internet sales is to make the product easy for the customer to purchase. Consumers do not want a complicated or rigorous process to go through in order to purchase your product — the product must be readily available and easily accessible for the consumer to purchase in order to maximize sales.

Another key aspect in fighting Internet sales is conveying to the consumer why your product is the best product on the market for them. If you think you have to be the least expensive to compete on prices, then you have not shown the customer the true value of your pool or product. Keep in mind these three questions: What makes you different from any other pool company? Why should the customer buy from you? How is your product best suited for the customer compared to that of your competition? A good sales associate should be able to list at least 10 reasons why the customer should be purchasing their product from you. After all, that level of service and knowledge is something no Internet retailer can offer. 

Here are five more ways to increase in-store sales and generate more leads:

1. Always invite the customer to talk to you in person or visit your showroom.

2. Have customers leave their email when they come into your showroom. This is an easy and economical way to promote future promotions or events with them.

3. Make sure your company website is easily accessible and your contact information is listed.

4. Keep the company website constantly updated with new products and contact information to ensure the consumer is getting an accurate representation of the merchandise you have available. Keep your pictures updated.

5. Utilize social media and other forms of advertising to reach potential consumers.

The Internet may have made sales more competitive for pool and spa retailers, but you’re not without strategies to fight back. This summer, to ensure you do not lose sales, you must do three things: Make sure that the items you sell that are also available online are easy for customers to purchase at your store. Let the customer know why they should be buying their product from you. Finally, use new methods to constantly improve sales and generate more leads. 

What have you done to fight Internet competition? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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