Accessorize and Shine

Add-ons can be key to customer experience

Swim spa sales are high dollar — both for the buyer and the hot tub retailer. And while the accessories that go along with a swim spa don’t bring in as much revenue as the swim spa itself, they can make a huge impact in the customer’s overall satisfaction with their expensive swim spa. 

“Accessories are really important to the business in helping make sure that customers are getting what they need out of their purchase,” says Aimee Soto, senior brand manager of aquatic fitness at Watkins Wellness, which manufactures swim spas and accessories under its Endless Pools line. Accessories, she notes, can make swim spas an even more versatile product.

Among Endless Pools’ accessories are its stationary exercise cycle, the Aquabike; an underwater treadmill; an underwater mirror; and the Endless Pools rowing kit. With each of Endless Pools’ accessories, the company provides lots of guidance on how to use the product, as well as exercise videos and tips. 

Educating customers about what swim spa accessories can do to increase the versatility of their purchase is a regular part of Jamil Toubassi’s job as owner of Flint Hills Spas in Wichita, Kansas. 

“We have both video and literature that we show the prospect to supplement the verbal explanation,” says Toubassi, who like Soto notes that accessories make up a small percentage of the overall swim spa sale, with more popular add-ons being things like swim jets, hydrotherapy seating and lighting. 

However, Toubassi adds, exercise products still inspire interest among customers.

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“Nine out of 10 swim spa customers are motivated by aquatic exercise and fitness,” Toubassi says. “The remaining 10% are simply looking for a larger body of water they can enjoy year-round.” 

Mark Nelson, owner of Master Spas of Western Michigan, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, says that for those customers truly interested in exercise, he provides them with the correct equipment but can also set them up with a dedicated factory representative, who specializes in swim spa workouts, to become their swim spa “doctor.”

Nelson points out that swimming in a swim spa is different than swimming in other bodies of water. “You gotta learn how to do it to get the full capacity out of your swim spa. [The factory rep] is your workout partner.”

For Nelson, accessories have become part of selling a full, custom package to meet each customer’s needs. Nelson’s swim spa customers often have already built out their entire backyard, and his company comes in with a swim spa and helps them bring it all together. “The landscaping and things like that,” Nelson says. “So a lot of the accessories are built in with the plan.” Often, most of what would traditionally be considered a swim spa accessory ends up requiring a subcontractor to build out the experience each customer wants.

Nelson says pool toys and fragrances are also popular add-ons for customers, but from a revenue standpoint the best “accessory” he has found is chemicals. His business has developed a custom tote with enough chemicals and filters to last people six months. The company sells this tote to all its new swim spa customers for upwards of $900. The true benefit of the chemical package though, Nelson says, is that if they get customers to use their chemicals for six months, the company retains 94% of those customers for their chemical purchases going forward. Throw in the auto-ship program they offer, and it’s a big revenue driver. 

“You can be the guy they buy it from with no relationship,” Nelson says, “or you can tie all these things together — it’s a must.”