Three tales of online pricing

2022 SpaRetailer Panel

We try and give our customers [pricing] information as soon as they request it. We do put some pricing information like “starting at $XX” to give them a range. Some of our vendors forbid us to put prices on our website, so we adhere to their policies. However, we have a rapid response time with our leads and we get [customers] whatever pricing information they request in the first email/phone call/text.

As we are all consumers, price is a factor but not the only one. You must be transparent in today’s information exchange. We are not hiding anything and we want our shoppers/information seekers to get the data quickly. I would rather someone move on if what we have to offer is too robust and too high-quality if they are driven on lowest price.

We see online pricing as a necessary step in saving the most valuable resource we all have: TIME. The last thing our customers/shoppers want is to go back and forth just to get a simple number. When our vendors allow it, we will be putting all our pricing online. Give it up front and if they are truly interested, the conversation will continue.

David Townley
Townley Pool and Spa
Little Rock, Arkansas

In the first two weeks of shutdown, one of the first ideas was to post our pricing online and make it easy to purchase via web chat, phone or online. We put pricing on our top-selling categories. Over time, we’ve rolled out online pricing to all our categories.

Our online attributable business has grown month after month. Our online leads have also increased, even after the initial uptick from COVID. We no longer have to answer questions about pricing or receive angry messages about not having pricing online. In this high-demand environment, we don’t have time to answer, “What’s the price on this?” Instead, we are having conversations about product differences, availability and pre-delivery preparation.

Customers come into our showrooms ready to purchase, having done their research from our website. We’ve had little complaint about our prices being too high. Most customers are thankful to us for being the only local dealer with online pricing and information.

Our vendors have been supportive about posting pricing online, especially in the beginning. We are all working to help customers buy in the most convenient way for them. Over time, most vendors have developed MAP pricing that can be posted online. Some vendors have not, and it’ll be more difficult to implement an online policy after the fact.

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The pandemic has accelerated e-commerce, which has become commonplace even within the older demographic. While the debate may have previously existed about online pricing, that debate is now over. We all know how people are searching and buying. We all know dealers with online pricing are performing well. The bigger issue is dedicating resources to managing the website, with inventory and pricing changes happening weekly. Pricing online also helps increase online search, whether organically or through Google and Facebook shopping.

Ronak Shah
Galaxy Home Recreation
Five locations across Oklahoma and Arkansas


Currently, Georgian Hot Tubs does not place pricing on our website. Originally this was due to a policy mandated by the manufacturer. I believe there are three questions when it comes to placing pricing on a website: What price do you use, is it advantageous to the consumer, and is it a disadvantage to the store owner?

Manufacturer policy has changed recently, and hot tub prices are now reflected on the manufacturer web page. This price can be placed on any store website as it is a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), which will allow retail dealers across Canada to be compensated for shipping and administrative costs. Sticking with MSRP eliminates the retailer’s need to cover costs associated with getting a product to the retail store and then to the consumer. The consumer will also now have a starting point on what the cost of the hot tub or swim spa would be, eliminating those who underestimate the cost of a quality product. If the manufacturer would provide a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP), the retailer would have a better advantage. MAP pricing provides a better online information package for the consumer and helps prevent sticker shock as they compare options online.

I have no plans to provide pricing on our website, given the availability that exists with the manufacturer. Given that we are experiencing frequent price increases, I can only see an issue with keeping everything current, accurate and relevant for the consumer.

Hans Kissmann
Georgian Hot Tubs
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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