In the 2021 show issue of SpaRetailer, we issued a challenge to show us your ‘red sink’ designs. As columnist Linda Cahan explains, a ‘red sink’ is something every store should implement: a visual “wow” a customer will remember long after leaving.
Spa dealers are proving they have what it takes to leave a lasting impression. Check out these beautiful spaces, which we hope will inspire you to create your own.
The shed-like building in the Spa and Patio Center showroom was originally used as consultation room for potential clients. Aptly named ‘the hut’ by company employees, it now serves as the staff office and break room.
“It was put in the showroom to paint the picture [for customers] of being in their backyard,” says Steve Binegar, co-owner of Spa and Patio Center. “Our plan is to enhance this vision by placing outdoor furniture and a grill around it to create a scene so customers can better visualize their own backyard. Everyone thinks it’s super cute and unique.”
The Spa Depot team is proud of the Park City showroom, which grew 50% with renovation last year. With some design ideas and assistance from the Hot Spring dealer support development team, the company added its first wet-test demo room, complete with a back-lit mural of the local Deer Valley ski mountain resort at night.
“We have about 100% close rate for anyone who has used [the demo room],” says owner Scott Call. “What a difference it makes when you have an environment where customers can come in and feel comfortable.”
Additionally, an alpine ski lodge look has been incorporated as part of the Spa Depot office, and three Endless Pools have been added to the testing area, with decking and a gazebo to provide a backyard feel.
“If you make a good first impression, it might be the one thing that makes somebody come back,” Call says. “The salespeople have a pride in it, too, when they’re able to present in this quality of a showroom. It makes it easier for them and gives them confidence.”
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Call says an inviting environment is a critical part of the sale and makes it easier for homeowners to imagine the products in their own backyard. “Whatever effort or energy it takes to set that up,” he says, “you’ll immediately see how effective that really is.”
“Bathrooms are a big deal to me,” says Don Riling, president of Olympic Hot Tub. When working for Disney and Nordstrom before becoming a hot tub dealer, Riling recalls learning that the guest experience didn’t end at a restroom door and should be an extension of the entire image of the business.
“Given the way our industry’s businesses have grown in the past 18 months — and prices have subsequently risen significantly — showrooms must not only look terrific,” Riling says, “but also help reinforce with the consumer the justification of investing in the products we sell at the prices we must sell them for.”
The redesign of the wet test rooms at Backyard Leisure began in 2020, and continued improvements have been made since then.
Josh Michels, senior wellness consultant for the company, says Disney World was the motivation for the design. “When I was a kid, we had lunch in the Mexico pavilion at EPCOT,” he says. “I vividly remember feeling like I was in Mexico at night, when in reality I was in Central Florida in the middle of the day.”
The wet test room redesign has a facade on one wall as if it’s the back of a house, with a she-shed serving as a changing room. The entire ceiling has computer-controlled lights simulating the night sky. This year, Michels hopes the technology becomes cost-effective enough to implement the next phase of the design: Customers will provide pictures of their own backyards, and Backyard Leisure will project those images on to an 11-foot by 30-foot wall.
The goal with the space is to evoke an emotional response from the customer, helping them envision Backyard Leisure products in their backyard, Michels says. “It has definitely been the wow factor we were looking for,” he adds. “In a way, it’s more about showing people how committed we are to the hot tub business than it is to have people do test soaks.” For retailers looking to create an equally show-stopping space in their stores, Michels recommends thinking big. “Take opportunities to see what large, innovative companies are doing in the retail and entertainment space,” he says. “While we may not have the budget of Disney or Bass Pro, we can modify their ideas to work with our space and budget.”