It is an exciting yet challenging time for pool/hot tub retailers. Challenged by the rising influence of Internet resellers, it has now become critical for businesses to transform and confront typical strategies of how to survive, succeed, and thrive.
All indicators show optimism for growth in new pool construction this year. Home sales are up; foreclosures are down, and in some markets, home supply is at an all-time low, so the demand is there. Homeowners are ready to invest in additions to their homes, including renovation and new pool construction. Pool contractors must be ready to meet the demand. Customers are looking for new and innovative features that use the latest technologies and are energy efficient. They also want added value. Gone are the days of traditional rectangles and classic roman-end pools; prospective pool buyers are visualizing unique designs while remaining eco-friendly by reducing energy use. Therefore, it is the aquatic industry’s responsibility to offer prospective pool owners the best products available in the marketplace, while still being able to remain profitable.
The demand for more energy-efficient pools and spas has pushed industry professionals to examine alternative heating technologies. Over the past several years, heater manufacturers have taken new strides to improve efficiency. This is in part due to a shift in government guidelines, whereby building codes are now demanding a rise in ratings to improve the overall energy efficiency of all pool equipment.
In 2011, eMarketer reported more than seven out of 10 Internet users are online buyers. It also estimates that 148 million consumers, 14 and older, made at least one online purchase in 2011. And, from 2010 to 2015, nearly 30 million consumers will join the ranks of online buyers, representing a 3.9 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
Many pool professionals are challenged by the seasonality of the industry and look for new ideas that will keep sales flowing during the off-season. Performing energy audits for pool owners creates an innovative way to improve the bottom line and keeps professionals in front of their customers even during the winter months.
The pool and spa industry is seeing change when it comes to regulations and public trust. National and regional associations, government entities and concerned pool/spa professionals are engaged in understanding, shaping and implementing new initiatives that are considered by many to be in the best interest of the public, and ultimately the future of the industry. This column offers a brief overview and update on the four trend-setting initiatives that have far reaching impact on every industry segment.
Today there is great acceptance to a wide variety of aquatic play features, including everything from waterslides and lazy rivers to activity pools, mushroom sprays, splash pads and wave pools. The tremendous popularity of waterparks with unique interactive water features has even sparked interest from residential pool owners. When it comes to size, these play features can be scaled back not only for smaller public pool installations, but also for residential applications.
All across the business world, management is facing growing pressure to reduce their respective companies’ environmental footprints. This all starts with the top executives, whose responsibilities and actions necessarily impact and filter down to other levels of management and employees—all of whom are tasked with…
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