Accessories Market At a Glance

The top-selling products, and tips to sell them

The No. 1 mistake hot tub retailers make when it comes to selling spa-side accessories, some dealers say, is not displaying them at all.

“In my experience, a customer needs to see the accessory and visualize it as part of their backyard oasis,” says Debbie Goch, owner of Niagara Hot Tubs in St. Catharines, Ontario. Her store mostly carries the Leisure Concepts brand of accessories. “Looking at an accessory item in a brochure is not the same as being able to touch and feel it,” she says.

Matt McMillan, director of sales and marketing and accessories manufacturer Cover Valet, also says not displaying accessories is the worst mistake a retailer can make aside from “leaving them in the boxes out and about.”

Both McMillan and Goch recommend backyard vignettes. “Set up a display in the showroom that would mimic a backyard setting and display all the accessories that the retailer is offering and selling,” Goch says. “By doing this, the customer can decide what accessory items are important for their family.”

McMillan says labeling is also important. “The most successful [retailer displays] I’ve seen, everything is labeled,” he says. “The prices are labeled for individual purchase when they’re on the spa. It creates an immediate value — the people know how much that’s worth. So whether they’re coming in to purchase it individually or if that dealer decides to use those as a closer, there is real value.”

When bundling accessories with a hot tub, McMillan likes to see dealers put together packages of increasing value. “With every spa purchase, you get the cover that comes with it from the manufacturer, you get this set of steps, this cover lift or you get this set of chemicals — that’s the [package] that everyone gets. It’s a necessity,” he says. He then recommends a second and third option that might include more accessories, or accessories with upgraded features. “It can be powerful because the retail value of these accessories could be $1,000, but [the retailer’s] cost could be $400 or $500. Using that as a closer, if you clearly establish value, then the customer is thinking in terms of ‘I’m getting $1,000 of free stuff.’ ”

Jack Gawrys, sales coordinator at accessories manufacturer Confer Plastics, also encourages these tiers, for instance keeping the higher-priced steps in a different area than the ones most often bundled with a hot tub sale. For Confer Plastics’ larger Signature Spa Steps, he’s even seen retailers use them as a shelf since they take up a good chunk of floor room. “Put chemicals on it or literature,” Gawrys says. “Shelf space is competitive, that way you can kill two birds with one stone. You can make it look nice and elegant.”

According to our survey results, and based on what the three people we interviewed shared, steps and cover lifts are the top-selling spa-side accessory at the time of a hot tub sale. This is no surprise since these two items are almost a necessity to getting in and out of a tub. But there are a few accessories that retailers maybe aren’t selling to their full potential.

“I have found that many people ask for accessories such as bars or tables to attach to the hot tub to hold drinks or their phone,” Goch says, mentioning Leisure Concept’s Spa Caddy and SmartBar. “I would also say the SafeTRail is another great option. With so many baby boomers now, there is a big need for support and a safe way to enter and exit the hot tub.”

Gawrys says he sees retailers not capitalizing on spa pads. Retailers could be using them to get customers to buy now, instead of leaving without signing the deal to figure out the cost and logistics of pouring a concrete pad.

“I think that’s a lost opportunity for a lot of dealers,” Gawrys says. “[Spa pads] cut down on the cost of the all-in project. Sell them at cost to try to get them to sign the deal right then and there.”

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