best of 2017

H2Insider’s After-Christmas Gift Guide: Best of 2017

Last year, we presented our “best of” as the ultimate gift guide for the hot tub professional. Fifty-two weeks later and we’ve got another wide selection of useful topic-based insights to look back on. Just in case you missed one of them, here’s an updated guide of H2Insider’s best business boosting posts of the year…our version of the gift that keeps on giving. Happy New Year!   


Where will the Spa Industry be in 10 Years

With the end of the year approaching, retailers are taking stock and thinking about the future. In 2017, for the most part, the spa industry has recovered from the recession, but where are the trends leading?

There are several factors to account for. Digital marketplaces are booming; the threat of big box retail continues to loom; manufacturers are consolidating. Despite the odds, retailers who survived the recession are seeing growth in 2017. Nevertheless, the hot tub retail climate is going to face a radical transformation in the coming decade. If retailers don’t anticipate and adapt, they could be out of business.


Selling Against the Internet

There is an old adage that says, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” The current problem, expressed over and over again by brick-and-mortar hot tub retailers, is how hard it is to compete with the internet for sales.

The truth is that bemoaning how the internet is killing traditional retail outlets without having a willingness to adapt business practices and mindsets is an even bigger threat to physical retailers than e-commerce. Those who complain without acting are part of the problem.

Now, if you want to be part of the solution to the internet problem, read on.


The How and Why of Inventory Turnover

Looking for another sure way to improve your spa business’s cash flow? When was the last time you looked at your average number of days to turn inventory?

Spa Retailer recently published an article on the SR Panel’s Most Important Numbers where Don Riling, owner of Olympic Hot Tub from Seattle, keys in on inventory turn and and its impact on cash flow. Riling’s store was able to increase available cash to its bottom line by $460,000 in 18 months when they made efforts to reduce his inventory’s average days to sell by 20 days.

Don’t worry. If you’re not paying attention to your inventory turn, you’re not alone. The State of Small Business reports that 46% of small businesses either use a manual process to track inventory or don’t track their inventory at all. According to Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s show The Profit however, “Effective inventory management is a recurring issue with the struggling small business.” And given that inventory is the greatest investment on a retailer’s balance sheet, he emphasizes that “bad inventory management can bankrupt your business.”


Selling Lifestyle over Recreation

Discretionary spending has increased over the past few years as the US economy recovers. This is good news for hot tub retailers, who saw sales growth across the industry in 2016. However, this also spells increased competition between other discretionary markets, including RVs, boats, and travel. How can spa retailers sell their products against such wildly diverse competition? The key is to stop selling products and to start promoting lifestyle.

Lifestyle branding is not new, but has resurged in recent years. Instead of espousing the features and functionality of your merchandise, paint a picture with it. Show your customers how a new spa plays a formative role in the lifestyle identity, both as a representation of who they are and the choices they make. Here, we’ll look at how lifestyle marketing and, in particular, wellness branding can boost your business.


From Service to Sales: Cross Training Field Technicians

Most of us would agree that salespeople and service techs are two different creatures. Both have unique skill sets and specialized product knowledge, and both are a vital component of a successful spa retail business. While many field service technicians may balk at the idea of selling, they are actually in a perfect position to make additional sales. Like it or not, these days sales are an integral part of service calls. So, how does management go about cross training field techs in the fine art of selling products? First, let’s talk about why.


11 Simple Steps to the Spa Financing Offer

In-house consumer financing is one of the most common ways for small, independent spa retailers to boost hot tub sales. As with any big-ticket purchase, the average consumer rarely has enough disposable income to pay in full. For these customers, the option to finance makes these purchases more affordable. The advantages of consumer financing are well known, but what does it take to launch a successful program? Here are 11 steps to take before and after you introduce consumer financing into your business to ensure the best results.


Exposed: What to do when a Spa Show Comes to Town

Roger Retailer has a successful local spa dealership. His reputation in town and in surrounding communities is spotless, and he has a great sales team that is focused on customer service and satisfaction. Roger is sitting back in his desk chair, enjoying a hot cup of coffee and going through the morning mail. Suddenly, there it is: Glossy, colorful and loudly proclaiming “HOT TUB AND SWIM SPA BLOWOUT EXPO.”

Intelligent business owners like Roger know that these traveling shows pose a danger to his current and future customers for the simple fact that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Is Roger worried? No. Why not? Because Roger has a plan!


How to Respond to Customer Pricing Expectations

How many times a day do you hear these phrases: “It’s too expensive,” “I can’t afford it,” or how about this one, “Have you got anything cheaper?” This last is by far the most frustrating to the spa salesperson because if dealers were in the business of selling cheap, they wouldn’t be in business long. The problem is that customers come to your store with expectations based on what they’ve found online or seen in big box stores. The solution lies in how you respond to these statements.


25 Discovery Questions that Drive Hot Tub Sales

Sure we’re not in medicine, but we all know a cure can’t be prescribed without a thorough diagnosis. It’s the same in sales. Selling through presentation only works when you know what problem your products can solve for the customer.

Discovery is a key step in every successful spa retailer’s sales process. This is when you aim to understand each customer’s pain points. By doing so, you can convince them that your products’ benefits would directly respond to their needs and ultimately improve their lives.


How to Drive In-Store Traffic

What’s the one thing hot tub retailers must to have in order to be successful? You guessed it: customers.

Stellar sales staff, a great business plan, the perfect location, none of these mean anything if you don’t drive in-store traffic effectively. Radio ads, store circulars, offsite events and giant sale banners have their place, but because spas and hot tubs are big ticket items, retailers of these products need to think outside the box.


Attraction over Promotion: Effective Content Marketing Tips for the Spa Retailer

In the H2Insider article on “Selling Across Stages of the Buyer’s Journey,” we discuss strategy behind defining the different buying stages of a customer’s path to purchase. The three basic stages are Awareness (I have a problem/need), Consideration (I’m looking at product categories that can solve this problem/need), and Decision (I’m set on a product category, now I need to decide on which specific brand/product offers the best value and fit for me).

No matter the stage, today’s consumers are looking for reliable information they can trust. This means putting content out there that doesn’t just sell, but attracts by showing concern and a desire to help. Simply put, information that avoids brand bias, particularly at the awareness and consideration stages, is more likely to gain trust and move a customer forward on their path to purchase.


And Cheers to 2018…We look forward to bringing you another 52!!

Carri Hamilton
Carri Hamilton

Carri Hamilton is H2Insider’s Editor-in-Chief and Content Editor for Bullfrog Spas. With an English degree and master’s degrees in both business and health administration, she has worked in small business planning and editorial management for over 15 years. Carri travels extensively with her family and enjoys producing travel-related articles for various online and print publications in her free time.

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