For the Kids and Pets

Adding water safety products to the showroom for the most vulnerable

Thanks to supply chain issues, you may have extra space in your stores you’d be happy to fill. Pet products are a fast-growing consumer market in the United States. The American Pet Products Association estimates $109.6 billion was spent on pets in 2021. Within that broad category are pet safety products, and a subsection of those are related to pool and spa safety.

According to the ASPCA, 23 million American households acquired a pet since the beginning of COVID. Now that many people are returning to the office, owners of spas and pools especially must ensure their pets will be safe in their absence. According to online pet owner community PetPlace, approximately 5,000 pets drown in home pools and spas each year. Responsible pet owners must keep their beloved animals safe.

If you’re not already carrying child water safety products, add them. For children ages 1 to 4, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death, according to the CDC. For every child who dies from drowning, the CDC says another eight receive emergency medical care for non-fatal drowning.

Seeing a water safety area in your showroom will prompt customers to buy add-on safety products while purchasing their spa or replacement chemicals. If you already carry child safety products, that should have a sign and be housed next to the pet zone. Safety products for both children and pets should be part of your merchandise assortment and ideally an integral part of every spa sale if the buyer has young children or pets.

First, determine your merchandise lines. There are many to choose from online, but your overwhelmed and confused customer doesn’t know what you recommend. Rather than researching hundreds of products online, customers will appreciate you doing the work for them and offering the best of the best.

Safety Merchandise to Consider

For hot tubs and pools, the cover is your first line of defense for the safety of pets and children. Ask customers if they have pets and/or children or if they plan to have any as visitors to their home. If so, upsell them on a locking and heavy-duty pool/spa cover. It should be able to withstand up to 350 pounds before collapsing. Outdoor spas in many areas are subject to snow loads, torrential rains or large animals who like to nap on a warm surface. This is where really good locks come in handy.

Consider offering water alert systems that pair with pet collars that can let owners know their pet is in the water — or watchbands designed to alert if a child is submerged. An alarm sounds that will hopefully alert someone nearby to rescue the child or animal. Safety Turtle’s alarm system is very loud at the alarm hub, but not loud on the child or animal’s device, which avoids additional panic.

 Manufacturers like Paws Aboard offer escape ramps or steps to put in the hot tub or pool. Buy a couple of styles, and try them out in a variety of spa models. See if they float or sit safely on the floor of the spa. Let customers know which merchandise you’ve actually tested.

You might also consider offering:

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  • Life jackets for children and pets
  • Sunglasses for kids and dogs
  • Sunscreen, including pet sunscreen for light-colored, thin-haired dog breeds or hairless cats
  • WaterDog is an outside automatic pet fountain to give dogs fresh water from the spigot. It shuts off once the dog moves away from the water source.

Creating the Space

First, carve out an area in your store to house the merchandise. It probably needs a mix of hanging and shelving so it can go on a wall or gondola/floor fixture. There are two ways you can comfortably and successfully add this category to your store.

The first option is time-intensive but visually powerful: Hire a professional painter to paint the wall or gondola area a contrasting color to your gondolas or walls. Use a satin or a semi-gloss finish. Consider a color that works with your décor but is either lighter or darker than your existing paint to set the area apart. Once painted, add a water safety sign to the top that either spans the entire new space or is centered on top. This sign would be best with white letters on a darker background. Any sign maker can do this for you.

The second visual display option is easier: Use a labeling system to mark the items as safety products while displaying them with regular merchandise. Get stick-on labels printed that can go on the front of each piece of pet/child protection product that simply says Safe Pets and Safe Kids to differentiate it. Merge the water protection goods with the regular products in each category. For example, pet ramps and steps will be merchandised with regular steps as spa accessories. Spa cover locks will be with covers but marked as safety items. Make sure the stickers are easy to remove and don’t damage the merchandise or leave sticky residue on the products.

If you have someone in your life who can draw animals, consider a painted cut-out dog and cat for pet safety signage. Whimsical or realistic — it’s up to you, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

If you have created the animal cut-outs for your sign, how about making another set of cut outs life size? Place an animal safety ramp in one of your units and cut out a life-size depiction of a dog or cat so it seems to be walking out of the water, up the ramp to safety. Museum putty is a good way to keep the cutout in place. You’ll need cross pieces on the paws and lower legs to keep the animal upright.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

Education is a huge part of selling a new category. Make sure your staff understands why customers need to keep their spa safe for animals and children. Explain the virtues, necessity and ease of use

to your staff so they can comfortably and successfully sell to customers.