Program helps dealers market online 24/7
By Seraine Page
How do you keep in touch with customers once they’ve bought a hot tub?
As a retailer, if you only see them when they come by your store to purchase chemicals, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reconnect.
An e-commerce website — along with a cohesive marketing plan — creates that opportunity for an easy connection at the customer’s convenience. Recognizing this, Hot Tub Products rolled out a comprehensive marketing program for spa dealers and service companies in 2018.
The company’s president, Andy Tournas, took all the marketing struggles retailers have — like building and maintaining an e-commerce site — and created a program to help. He wanted to give retailers a way to keep connecting with their customers.
“People are going to drive 10 minutes or a half hour to buy a hot tub, but they won’t run out and get chemicals,” Tournas says. “The convenience of being able to access e-commerce for things that are needed on an immediate basis makes it very attractive to dealers to bring those customers back to them.”
Plus, dealers make an average of 38 percent profit when they utilize the e-commerce site, according to the marketing guide Hot Tub Products sends to them. Within the new Hot Tub Products marketing program, the e-commerce site costs $299 for a licensing fee for the first year, along with ongoing email marketing campaigns, website content and price catalogs. The program equips dealers with an e-commerce site integrated into their own website to sell items like spa covers, umbrellas, filters and more. It gets customers back on a local spa dealer’s site instead of sites like Amazon.
Additional marketing items like postcard campaigns, showroom videos and print materials are available for an extra fee. Dealers can choose their preferred marketing options and it doesn’t have to include the e-commerce site. Hot Tub Products will also send products directly to customers, if a dealer wishes.
“It’s designed to be a support mechanism primarily for dealers to improve and enhance relationships with old customers,” Tournas says. “There’s really a small handful of dealers who have time and money to spend on an e-commerce site. You have to maintain not just the e-commerce site but it has to be marketed. We quickly realized providing them with an e-commerce site was not the success, but the real catalyst to the success is the marketing.”
Edwin Quintero signed up for the program in September for his Pool Spa Billiard Store in Miami, Florida. “It makes life much easier,” he says. “It gets us that online presence we were lacking. It’s great for our customers, especially for the ones who are far and don’t want to drive to the store.”
The e-commerce site also means less inventory for dealers to handle.
Alex Washington, a Hot Tub Service Maryland master technician, has been servicing hot tubs for the last 15 years. When he heard about the marketing program at a convention last year, he signed up. Within a couple of days of ordering via his e-commerce platform, his customers receive the products shipped by Hot Tub Products. The process has been effortless, he says.
“I love the ease my customers have in purchasing chemicals, covers and filters,” Washington says. “The e-commerce site has changed my business because I do not have to carry an inventory of products. My customers are excited about the ease of purchasing products on the site.”
Dave Felder, owner of Jersey Hot Tub Repair, liked the e-commerce idea from the start.
“I thought, ‘They do all the work and I make all the money; that sounds pretty good,’ ” he says. “They did everything they said they were going to do.”
He liked the idea of tying an e-commerce site to his own website. Most of his income comes from repairs, so having another revenue stream appealed to him.
“I’m not going to break my back to sell chemicals,” Felder says. “I thought it would be an income stream I didn’t have to be involved with. That was what I was hoping when I signed up. It’s been profitable.”
So far, he hasn’t been disappointed. Surprisingly, he finds covers sell very well on the site.
For him, the biggest benefit is working with a supplier that offers superior customer service. “They’ve made it easy,” Felder says. “They are working hard to make it very easy for people like me to have these websites. They’re invested in it.”