With their swim currents, hydromassage systems and year-round heated environment, swim spas continue to be a popular choice for fitness-oriented customers. But, “As much as clients say they want to use these spas to work out and exercise in, they’re actually using them as a sort of hybrid pool for family time, recreation, cooling off and just hanging out,” says Ryan Landwehr, president and owner of A&B Outdoor Furniture and Accessories in West Fork, Arkansas.
Because swim spas are tall, big and basic by design, clients want their spa to have a more finished appearance to avoid it sitting awkwardly alone in their backyards, he says.
Essentially, customers want dual functionality and pleasing aesthetics — two requirements that have increased the importance of accessories for dealers and suppliers. Landwehr, who bought the 35-year-old company in 2022, says A&B jumped into the market with modular decks at the beginning of the swim spa trend and grew from there. Today, the company is set to expand into Europe in 2024 and, like others in the industry, he sees the market for swim spas and accessories returning from the pandemic years with “full vengeance.”
This economic upsurge is also creating opportunities for revenue growth.
“Dealers are looking for a way to spice up their showroom,” Landwehr says. “They’re looking for a way to grow their average sale price.” One way that’s proving successful for his clients is enhancing their showroom experience with a display of complementary accessories — including decks — with swim spas.
The Spa & Sauna Co. in Reno, Nevada, displays A&B accessories to its advantage. “A&B has done a really good job with a quality look and feel that complements swim spas very well,” says sales manager Kevin Thompson. “I think a lot of customers are wowed by what they see when they walk in.”
His company recently worked with Landwehr to configure a swim spa display that featured a deck, railing, handrails and steps to the exact showroom standards. “The goal was to offer more viewing space of the swim spa while showing an option that a customer could purchase,” Thompson says. “This taps into people’s vision for their backyard and gets them emotionally involved.”
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Displays also offer customers a hands-on opportunity to learn about the quality of their products, a selling point that goes beyond a sales pitch.
“When people can touch it and feel it, it becomes very real,” Landwehr says. The company uses high-density polyethylene in its products, a sustainable, durable material that has replaced redwood and can withstand harsh weather conditions. “We’re encouraging dealers to show more of our products, even if it’s just a step or a table,” he says. “If they’re showing very inexpensive steps and are trying to sell ours as an upgrade, people can stand on it, jump on it and see its rigidity.”
Display experiences often lead to customization requests, as every backyard and client is different. One of the biggest benefits of working with A&B is being able to tell customers that its products are not one-size-fits-all, Thompson says.
“We’re a custom shop,” Landwehr adds. “We build in a very modular style. If you want it, we can build it. Just give us the measurements, and we’ll make it.”
For Landwehr and his team at A&B, adding product displays on a dealer’s showroom floor is a “home run” for both. And they quickly see the results; it’s not uncommon to get a call from a salesperson saying, “This is way easier to sell than I thought. We’re used to selling $200 and $300 steps, and I sold yours for $700. People just want quality stuff.”
Landwehr says swim spas are a significant investment, and clients want to make sure their investment is both protected and maximized. But, he adds, “Why not complete the look versus just having this box sitting in your backyard with hot water? Let’s make it look good, and we offer products that do that.”