How one company is increasing customer retention for retailers
By Nick Ryan
Tim Rodger was faced with a problem: His spa customers were complaining about maintenance and sensitivities with traditional chemicals.
After working with chemists to develop a solution, in 1994 Rodger released Spa Marvel Water Treatment & Conditioner, an enzyme-based product designed to increase the effectiveness of the chemicals being used within the spa. “It’s not a replacement for chemicals,” says Rodger, president of The Spa Marvel Company. “It allows your chemicals to work better. It complements the existing chemical lineups. It will allow you to maintain the desired levels by using less chlorine.”
Now with 12 employees, Rodger says Spa Marvel caters to four types of consumers: Those who are chemical intolerant, eco-conscious spa owners, absentee owners and those who prefer low maintenance. “There are people who are looking for ways to reduce the amount of chemicals, and enzymes are one way,” Rodger says. “[Spa Marvel] breaks down the [contaminants that are the] food necessary for bacteria to live, allowing the sanitizer to work more effectively. It clears the path for sanitizers, such as chlorine, and allows for a greater level of free sanitizer in the water.”
Rodger adds that Spa Marvel helps prevent scale buildup so that scale control products aren’t necessary, and conditions the water to help prevent foaming and scum lines. Even water balancing should be easier with Spa Marvel assisting in optimal pH and alkalinity levels, he says.
Absentee owners include those who might not be at their cottage or home for weeks or sometimes months on end. “They’re not there to put that chlorine in every day or every third day,” Rodger says. “But if they’re [using Spa Marvel while] not there and they’re not using the spa, the water will be fine upon their return.”
Additionally, Spa Marvel makes it easier to maintain the required sanitizer levels within the spa, minimizing maintenance, which is ideal for consumers who have difficulty maintaining the optimal chemical balance of the water.
Dave Bosko, owner of The Water Store in Owen Sound, Ontario, has customers who have seen the benefits. “We’ve had customers with psoriasis or eczema, and they find chlorine or bromine really irritates their sensitive skin,” Bosko says. “Spa Marvel has enabled them to use their hot tub again.” The Water Store has been carrying Spa Marvel for eight years and has found it to be a strong driver for customer retention. The 600 to 800 customers who use the product come back about every three months to pick up a replacement bottle.
Spa Marvel is not sold in big-box stores and has a minimum advertised price policy to protect retailers. Additionally, Spa Marvel offers a complimentary lifetime jet warranty to homeowners who use Spa Marvel products consistently within their spas and continue to purchase Spa Marvel from the authorized dealer they purchased their spa from. The warranty was created to be an additional bonus for the end user with the retailer in mind.
Spa Marvel has developed several other products to solve additional problems in the industry, including two nonenzyme products, the X10 KDF Water Filter and Pump Marvel. The water filter is a granular activated charcoal pre-filter that helps remove impurities in the water, increasing water quality and reducing the need for additional chemical management.
Pump Marvel is designed to drain hot tubs (down to an eighth of an inch in less than 20 minutes) using water pressure from a garden hose, with no electricity required.
Spa Marvel has an entire support system in place to assist retailers and consumers with their spa needs. It provides dealer training, written materials and year-round customer support staff. “We are selling customer retention,” Rodger says, “We’re here to help. Our number one goal is to make sure people are enjoying their hot tub.”