By Ben Poggemiller
Most pool and hot tub professionals will agree that more chemical sales in the store are a good thing.
The margins are good, the opportunity for repeat business is there, and there is usually little effort involved in the sales process when it comes to water care products. Further, being able to resolve customers’ pool or hot tub water problems creates goodwill and trust for when they are ready to replace their hot tubs, refer a friend, or get repairs done.
The amount of business a small chemical sale can lead to is valuable for any pool and hot tub retailer. Water care sales also provide a cushion against pandemic environments, with shipping, delivery, and curbside pickup options available, and keep revenue coming in when showrooms are forced to close.
That said, what is the key for a retailer to get these long-term loyal customers to stay? Regular water testing is the gateway to all of this added revenue. Not only does it help customers with their water chemistry, which should be the mission of any pool and spa company, but also creates additional revenue in several ways.
For starters, it is a relatively low-cost way to keep customers coming in and purchasing. All that is required is the labour of a low-wage employee, a testing centre, and some simple reagents. During busy seasons in large markets this may require a full-time staff member; however, during slow seasons or in smaller markets, a regular staff member can take on the additional task of performing water testing.
This article will break down the common (and not-so-common ways) to use water testing as a business tool for adding revenue to any pool and hot tub business.
Water testing as entertainment
There is certainly a theatrical element to water testing. When customers come in, the water-testing station should be a key feature of the showroom that is easily accessible by customers. By putting the water-testing lab on display, it becomes a ‘show’ for people to watch.
While people get the chance to watch their water test, they get a feeling of trust in the experts, and it provides a great opportunity to converse with them, build rapport, and solidify relationships. It also offers the chance to joke around with customers and make the experience fun.
After all, the business of pools and hot tubs is selling fun. Naturally, retailers should want people to have fun in the showroom as well. This type of atmosphere can help create long-term loyalty and familiarity.
The water test can be likened to a doctor’s appointment for a customer’s pool or hot tub. By diagnosing a client’s water-chemistry problem, retailers can become the water doctors who can prescribe the right fix for the issue.
The beauty of this situation is a retailer can act as both doctor and pharmacist, whereby fulfilling the prescription instantly. It is a powerful sales tool most customers will find hard to resist.
When an expert is saying to them, “Here’s the problem, and these are all the products and doses needed to resolve your water-quality issue so you can get back to enjoying your pool,” very few customers will leave and order the chemicals online.
They want their pool fixed now. They can buy the products on the spot, or if the store offers service, it can be a chance to offer ‘done-for-you’ service as well.
Finally, if the staff member performing the customer’s water test is prompt and helpful, there is no reason they will stop coming back time and time again.