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This vertical waterproof rug display and the standing sign behind to the left are two ways to create visual interest in a showroom with few spa units. This was seen at Oregon Hot Tub in Wilsonville, Oregon.

Empty Store Solutions

Creative ways to make your showroom appear full

I’m sure if you complained to your friends that business is so good you don’t have enough product to keep up with demand, they’d pull out imaginary tiny violins and start sawing at them in fake pity. And you’d understand. It’s great to be doing so well during disastrous economic times.

But it gets challenging when your selling floor is starting to look picked over and empty.

Andrea Wang, a sales associate at Oregon Hot Tub in Beaverton, Oregon, contributed to my ideas below as well as redirected some of them with a dose of on-the-selling floor reality. There’s nothing like a front-line person to let you know what’s really going on.

Use a large, wide tipped marker. A narrow tip will make your signs look weak.

Create Solution Pods

Using signs and cubes made from wood or a rigid board to stagger products, develop a solution section that answers customer FAQs. What are the most common problems your customers call or ask about in person? “Do I use an ozone system, a saltwater system or UV?” Wang told me.

Create a display with appropriate product if you have it in stock. For example, under the sign for saltwater, show products you sell for a saltwater spa. You can use cubes or temporary tables to raise products to table height.

Another common question is, “What is the best type of insulation for my unit and location?” Your smaller signs can explain energy efficiency and how different insulations affect the structural integrity of the shell.

When creating an information area, signage has to look good. Great signs have clarity: dark color on light background, clean lettering; nothing fancy. Neat handwriting with a broad-tip black marker on a piece of white foam core or gator board looks interesting and professional. Also, keep it simple: Fewer words take more work to write nicely but will convey your message quickly and clearly.

Your Warranty and Service Team

Cut-out photo blowups from an old Apple window display. High quality and very effective!

Your people are your company’s best asset. Consider photo blowups of your service or warranty team in each store. Ideally, these are life-sized and form a small visual island on the selling floor with a floor standing sign that explains why your team is so great. Your sign should also emphasize what you do differently from other local spa retailers. For example: “Have a problem? You’ll talk to a real person at Lulu’s Spas!” As each person gets their photo taken for the blowup, he or she can be holding a sign that explains what they can do for the customer. That saves you from creating separate signs. Life-size photo blowups are fun and visually compelling — even more so if the customer sees the actual person in the showroom.

Create Chemical Education Areas

Each topic can have its own small table with a sign and a small sample of the chemicals used for the job. For each category, consider a standing brochure holder and have an instruction sheet printed for each topic. For example: CLEANING, and underneath, what needs to be cleaned, what tools and chemicals are needed and the procedure to clean a spa. Display all the products that go with that topic. If you sell other things that need specialized cleaning such as grills or pools, have a separate small table for each.

Topic stations could include:

  • Cleaning 
  • Balancing
  • Preventative Care
  • Relaxation

Use Video Presentations

Wang uses her personal iPad to give visuals to customers, especially when merchandise is temporarily out of stock. She suggests buying at least two larger monitors that can sit on a table or desk. A tablet can hook up with the monitor and customers can see larger images, which work better for middle-aged and older customers. Consider a wireless monitor so it can be moved around as needed. A good buy: Dell S2317HWi 23″ Screen LED-Lit Monitor with Wireless Connect and Wireless Charging Stand, about $225.

Fun Areas for Kids

The average parent will shop for far less time when their child is whining. Equally bad is an ignored child who starts knocking over displays, climbs every ladder in sight and/or disappears into your stockroom as you’re trying to talk with the parents.

Creating a fun area starts will locating it well away from the front door and the chemicals area. A small/low chair or bean bag chair is great as long as they can be thoroughly wiped down between kids. Wood, plastic and vinyl are good. In the age of COVID, toys, games, reading and drawing materials are out. Videos are in! For children of all ages, a monitor with a DVD player can show child-friendly videos. The parent or sales associate can set the kiddo up with a choice of three or four videos. Consider the “Baby Animals Mammals and More” DVD.

While it’s preferable to have a showroom full of merchandise, customers will applaud your efforts to make their shopping experience more interesting. There’s no need to spend a ton of money; a little will go a long way.

If you have a display you’ve created to take up space, please send them to editorial@kendrickcontent.com and we’ll show them in the next issue of SpaRetailer.

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