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Let the Games Begin

Offering backyard games in the showroom can encourage impulse buys from customers and increase revenue

Games are making a comeback. According to NPD Group, board game sales in the United States increased by 28 percent over the last year. These games are even enlarged for backyard play, such as giant Jenga, Yatzee and Connect Four.

In an age where families are looking to be together outside with offline connections, hot tub retailers can encourage that togetherness and impulse purchases in the showroom.

“What is interesting is the number of companies that have brought back old-fashioned games that get people in touch with each other and get them to put down [electronics] for awhile,” says Ken Leonard, president of Carefree Spas in Indianapolis. “[For instance] during gatherings my family plays things like three-legged croquet and human-sided Hungry Hippos.”

Competing with big-box stores and the internet on these items may be discouraging, but mixing in these games with the merchandising of must-haves like chemicals may encourage that purhcase on a whim.

DRIVEWAYGAMES.COM

Products offered: All-weather corntoss games, disc golf, washer toss, pickleball, badminton, croquet, bocce ball, horseshoes, etc.

Minimum distributor requirements: There are no minimum requirements to remain active as a distributor, but Driveway Games does require each order be placed in case quantities. The larger items, such as a corntoss game, are sold as one per case. Others, depending on the size of the product, are sold as three or more per case.

Signing up: Retailers can email account manager Amy Morton at service@drivewaygames.com to sign up and obtain a catalog and price list. Orders can be placed via email and paid with check or credit card.

“Since most hot tubs are outside, customers want outdoor games to add to their fun lifestyle,” Morton says. “The customers in the showroom may not have planned on buying games, but when they see them, it will make them recognize it’s a good fit. This will increase sales and could also increase traffic to their showroom, since many customers will tell their friends where they purchased it.”

POOLMASTER.COM

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Products offered: Poolmaster carries backyard games for both in the water and lawn play. It is the official licensee of the NBA for its product category, offering two spa/poolside basketball games. Other products include a floating table tennis game that can be used in the water or set on a table next to the hot tub. Lawn games include badminton and volleyball, and several inflatable games (ring toss or tic-tac-toe) are also available.

Minimum distributor requirements: There are small minimum-order requirements for each wholesale order. More details are available through its customer service department.

Signing up: Poolmaster sells to both wholesale distributors and dealers directly. Call the customer service department at 800-854-1776 for details.

“Because Poolmaster carries one of the largest selections of recreational products, any hot tub dealer would be able to offer a curated selection that fits their specific consumer’s lifestyle and backyard needs,” says Lisa Goshgarian, marketing manager. “Dealers can experience incremental sales by creating and merchandising a selling environment that offers interactive family products that scream backyard fun!”

THEGROMMET.COM

Products offered: Wooden yard dice, wooden tic-tac-toe, Tiki Toss game, giant tower game, giant wooden dominos and more (listed under “Toys & Games” on its website).

Minimum distributor requirements: None

Signing up: Retailers must agree to MAP pricing and not resell items they purchase through The Grommet on Amazon. Registration is done through the company’s website: wholesale.thegrommet.com/retailer/register.

“We are a curated wholesale site of unique, innovative gift products,” says Jason McCarthy, vice president of wholesale. “This makes it easy for businesses to expand into this growing category easily and accessibly, even if it’s not their core product line.”

While Leonard says Carefree Spas no longer sells games in its showroom, he sees the value in doing so. “There are lots of types of games that create a memory and spur fun conversation,” he says. “The spa is the capper. That time in the afternoon or evening that allows for relaxation is when people go out in the yard to have fun playing games together and get in the spa.”