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Wide Open Spaces

Selling spas when you’re out of display models

You have customers, you have orders — and you have more open space than you ever thought possible. It’s time to get creative with that space, and as this is a temporary state of affairs, the creativity has to be affordable and flexible.

I hope most of you are making money right now as the spa business booms. With money comes the opportunity to add floor displays that will inspire and entertain customers.

This floor graphic from Bullfrog Spas is eight-by-eight-feet — the approximate size of the average spa. It gives the customer a size reference, plus it’s kind of cool. Especially if a towel display is added or an oversized rubber duck. Or, you could go natural-ish and add a fiberglass rock display on one corner with artificial grasses. (AutographFoliages.com)

Interactive Floor Space

Bullfrog Spas has several dealers using large QR codes that launch Bullfrog’s augmented reality (AR) virtual spa viewing technology in the showroom. The codes are printed about the size of a spa footprint and placed on the floor where a spa would normally be.

“The code links to a 3D version of that spa model that the customer can see through their phone, life-size in the showroom environment,” says Jake Ricks, director of marketing for Bullfrog. “They can even walk around it, look inside, take pictures of the spa with their phone — and of course they can take that technology home and see if that spa model looks good in their backyard space.”

I tried this technology at home and got to see what a full-size spa looks like in my tiny office (gigantic) and in my living room (weird). It was fun moving the tub around, up and down and seeing inside of it.

I’m a boomer, and while this technology doesn’t feel totally comfortable, it is doable. Older people may look at a QR code and shut down from a lack of comfort or familiarity, so having knowledgeable and patient staff will be a plus. Staff can explain what the QR code does, that it’s safe to use, be willing to download the app to the customer’s phone and show them how to use it. Have everything downloaded to in-store devices so customers can use those if unable or unwilling to use their own.

While that idea is specific to Bullfrog dealers, my hope is you can see how important it is to take up space while imparting information about each unit. It’s vital to give your customers a positive shopping experience.

Life-Size Displays

A professionally done cardboard-cutout display can take up a good 10 feet of showroom space. Cahan added five elements to this display. She advises using photos of people you know, with their permission, or photos of your (willing) sales team. Staff may volunteer their photos of beloved pets.

Imagine a six-by-eight-foot hanging photo of one of your best-selling spas currently not available for display. Slightly overlapping the front of the photo with a life-size cut-out photo of a person will give dimension and make it more fun. Add a cutout dog and you have an “Aww!” focal point. Now, set up a floor standing sign holder with bullet-pointed information about the unit, plus a QR code, and you’ve created a great selling story.

Dave Henderson runs the large-format printing division of B&B Print Services in Tigard, Oregon — a family-run business that prints everything from coasters to building-size banners. To create the hanging hot tubs, Henderson suggests a six-by-eight-foot banner printed on inexpensive/lightweight vinyl (indoor use only), with grommets at the top for hanging and a pocket on the bottom where a dowel can be inserted. The 6-foot width is shippable via FedEx and UPS, and the more you order, the less the cost of the printed piece. If you have more than one store, you will do best ordering for all of them at once.

Opportunities to Inform

At this point, almost everyone is comfortable using touch screens. Having one in your spa showroom is a good way for customers to self-educate.

The floor standing sign could say, “Thanks to COVID, we are selling spas as quickly as they arrive, leaving few to see in person. Please check out the kiosk to learn which spa would best fit your lifestyle.”

Ricks says Bullfrog offers retailers a touch-screen kiosk, which allows customers to do a self-guided or a salesperson-guided exploration of Bullfrog products, especially the features and benefits.

You may also consider a brochure holder attached to the floor standing sign. “We do a brochure for each of our lines,” Ricks says. “They are an important part of some in-store pitches but are most effective as a take-home reminder.”

If you haven’t done so already, ask your manufacturers what they are doing in terms of in-store marketing to help you out.

Whatever your suppliers provide, at least one or two things should be BIG. If you have space to fill, small signs, brochures and posters will not give your customers a memorable visual experience. Too many same-size or smaller graphics tend to cancel each other out and become visual clutter. I suggest at least three super-size graphics to get people to stop and look.

If those are impossible, invest in life-size cardboard cutouts of people. When you get more spas in stock, the cutouts can go into your windows with strong graphics.

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