During my visits to the Pool Stores, talking to Pool Store Owners & Store Managers, it is easy to perceive their concern around Online Sites competition. In a social media world and with the accelerated growth of e-Business, it is a valid concern, but instead let’s focus on understanding how the pool
Stores should compete with their online stores counterparts and potentiate their advantages.
Customers like the convenience of the Internet, the flexibility to search for the lowest price and the advantage of researching online reviews. On top of that, the cost structure of the online store allows them to provide a very competitive price.
But local Pool Stores still have significant advantages which are very hard to overcome even by the best online sites.
Let’s take the case of the Recreational Pool Market, Pool Stores have significant advantages that need to be leverage to increase sales and provide the best experience.
Fortunately for Pool Stores, 80% of the owners do self-maintenance, this means the pool owner will visit their local pool store frequently to test pool water & look for chemical mix advice.
Latest statistics show that over 60% of chemical and 40% of accessories are bough at the local pool stores, other 30% in the mass merchant and just 30% in the Internet pool stores. No doubts these numbers will change as time goes by. Younger generations are more familiar buying online but the advantages of a local pool store will not be replaced.
THE LOCAL STORE POWER: Customers will continue to shop at their local store because they want to be delighted with THE BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE, the one you can only offer with experienced personnel that is knowledgeable and provides guidance and advice in terms of Pool Maintenance. Store Owners need to identify what continues to attract customers to their local store: A beautiful Store front and a well-designed layout, the possibility to touch and hold the product, having stock so customer can buy the product immediately. An important differentiator is a great customer attention and personal service. Those are benefits that an online store will not be able to provide. Again, knowing the products will differentiate your service at the store, your experience and advice to your customers is highly appreciated. You need to be informed about your vendor’s price policy, check how your vendor support a Minimum Advertising Price (MAP), this will make the products price neutral. The use of Digital experience devices such as video displays, simulators, and even access to the Internet are key to provide your customer a great shopping experience.
An evolving Store able to provide THE BEST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE is your competitive differentiator.
Sources: pkdata - APSP: The Inground Pool consumer