After 28 years of leading APSP’s efforts developing technical standards, Carvin DiGiovanni has...
In a win for brick-and-mortar retailers nationwide, the Supreme Court of the United States...
It’s an idea that could potentially change how people regard the aquatic design profession —...
Online shopping has transformed the way consumers behave. The combination of instantaneous access to product information and reviews, combined with the ability to purchase virtually anything you want in a matter of seconds, has created an unprecedented level of consumer empowerment. The numbers are impressive: According to digitalcommerce360.com, e-commerce sales reached $400-billion in 2016, growing 15.6 percent from 2015. For brick-and-mortar stores, it was a mere 2.6 percent growth.
Naturally this evolution has touched dealers in the package pool business who, like many niche retailers, have struggled to compete with prominent e-tailers like Amazon.
MGK Pools in Lowell Mass., has developed an innovative solution: Mimic Amazon’s model. The MGK Pools site has a tool called Pool Package Builder, a program that allows potential buyers to design their own package pools, from shape and size to liners and accessories, all in just a few clicks.
The page was introduced just last year, but according to company founder and owner Michael Gordon Kern, it’s already proven a success.
“Last year about 50 percent of our visitors built their own package, the rest bought the packages we put together. While we have had to walk a few people through the page, most have no trouble using it,” he says.
Kern reports that he and his son developed the idea based on a site used to build custom computers, with some major tweaks. “I love the control it gave me over the price of my package,” he says. “If the price was a little high, I could choose a different processor, or pick a cheaper video card. I knew what I had to spend and felt like I was getting the most for my dollar.”
The program is a natural fit for the package pool market because, like building your own computer, even the simplest package pools require multiple decisions on the part of the consumer. Kern’s program walks potential buyers through the multiple choices his company offers, beginning with selecting one of four basic pool models, each of which come in multiple sizes with several options. Once the consumer selects the model and size, they move through a series of options including the frame color, wall pattern, liner design, filter/pumps combinations, ladders and steps, accessories and winterizing supplies. The program includes the cost associated with each choice as well as a running total, a helpful feature for the budget-conscious pool owner.
RELATED: The Evolution of Package-Pool Marketing
In terms of marketing the program, Kern says he’s turned primarily to content marketing along some paid traffic from Google search. “I am working on targeting some keywords with a lot more traffic. I don't expect to be on the front page of Google this year for the terms, but when I do, I will be the number one online pool retailer,” he says. “My manufacturer is Buster Crabbe/Aquasport Pools. I’d like to think that my content marketing strategy is pumping up their brand. I sell pools to Texas, Arizona, California, all over the country.”
For longer than I care to admit, the design snob in me has looked down my snooty snout on portable spas, or hot tubs, depending on the preferred terminology. (For this discussion I'll use my favorite term: "spas.") By whatever label, portable vessels that contain hot water were for many years more of a clunky appliance than part of the landscape, at least to my eyes.
It's fair to say that comfort and hydrotherapy, rather than aesthetics, have long been the driving element behind spa...
We always say that pool construction tracks closely with housing starts, and historically that has always been the case. But is that still true? And are there other economic indicators that are as correlative with the state of the pool industry?
Indeed, pools have tracked with housing starts. But then, in 2011, things began to change. Starts stopped prompting pools. Moreover, two new indicators began to explain a lot of things about the floundering pool business.
Here at AQUA, we spend a lot of time discussing the in's and outs of your work life, but what about life outside of work? On our Facebook page, we asked you to tell us about the hobbies and passions you enjoy off the clock. We got a wave of responses that included everything from motorcycling to music to statue making!
Have a hobby you'd like to share? Send photos to read more
For landscape lighting designer Scott Armusewicz, Jr., it's all about discovering possibilities after the sun goes down. As lead lighting designer with Hamptons Landscape Lighting (Southampton, N.Y.), Armusewicz says he's always on the lookout for opportunities to create unique effects while also being sensitive to the client's needs.
"It's all about finding that unique piece that will give the client something special, but at the same time give them exactly what they're looking...