• Cover Care

    by Emily Fuger August 2004

    After purchasing a hot tub, consumers are more likely to be worried about keeping the right balance of chemicals in the water than keeping the cover clean and well preserved. It is necessary for retailers to stress the importance of cleaning and conditioning a cover, however, because years of sun, rain and varying temperatures can wreak havoc on an uncared-for cover...

  • How to choose a new point-of-sales software system

    by Phillip M. Perry August 2004

    So your point-of-sale system is starting to creak and wheeze while it rings and chings? Maybe it's time to upgrade.

    Modern retail software offers more ways to achieve productivity. Among the innovations are new data entry capabilities, sleek interfaces with alternative sales avenues and more-useful customized reports.

    "Many people think all POS software systems do basically the same thing," says retail consultant Jeff Haefner, Marion, Iowa....

  • The Kids Are Alright

    by David Cohn August 2004

    Families, by nature, like to avoid conflict within their own ranks. Whether it's out of respect for one's elders or deference to older, wiser generations, confrontations are rare, although animated when they do take place. Whatever the case, problems are seldom solved through intergenerational communication.

    Successful businesses, on the other hand, are adept at resolving conflict as personal feelings of employees and management usually take a back seat to...

  • Point Of View

    by Kirstin Pires August 2004

    Have you ever had one of those "I never noticed that before" experiences? Of course you have.

    Maybe it was when you crawled under a display rack to retrieve a favorite pen that had rolled off the counter, and you noticed that the flooring in your showroom is actually manufactured tile, not natural stone. Maybe you then rolled on your back to make your wing span a little longer (That darn pen is just out of reach!) and noticed the ugly acoustic-panel...

  • Basic, intermediate and advanced approaches to automatic pool cover installations

    by Elissa Sard Pollack August 2004

    Automatic pool covers make a pool safer, easier to maintain, more energy efficient and, some would argue, prettier. With all those advantages, why not put one on every pool. Well, not every pool owner is willing or able to incur the expense. Plus, every pool setting may not accommodate a cover. The site must allow for the mechanism that rolls and unrolls the cover, as...

  • Differentiate Or Die

    by Virginia DeMoss July 2004

    Put yourself in your customer's position for a minute. He wants to purchase something the family can enjoy together, and thinks it might be a spa. You carry several models offering a wide array of features, benefits, options and colors. Your competitor across town carries just as many models with just as many options. He touts the lowest price, while you promise the best...

  • Bells And Whistles On A Budget

    by Emily Fuger July 2004

    A couple walks into your pool and spa store one afternoon pondering the possibility of purchasing a hot tub. Although the spa with the stereo, television, DVD player and all the perks piques their interest, the fully-loaded hot tub just doesn't fit their budget, like a lot of consumers, they want all the extras that make their purchase seem more of a luxury. Should you...

  • Beating The Big Box

    by Scott Webb July 2004

    Mass merchants are considered the bane of the pool dealer's business, but there is much to be learned from the big box about selling pool chemicals — particularly the problem solvers. The lessons taken can help shore up your own store's competitive approach.

    Yes, even with no actual understanding of the product, mass merchants sell problem-solving chemicals....

  • Spa Broker Benchmark

    by Reid Creager July 2004

    Your business isn't in a great location. It doesn't have much product diversity. Your attempts at expansion haven't worked out so well, and you don't plan on trying it again.

    Sound like a struggling business? Not if you're the Spa Broker in Chico, Calif., which recently celebrated its 25th year in business and did $1.3 million in sales last year while selling 224...

  • In Praise Of Plastic

    by Phillip M. Perry June 2004

    On sales counters everywhere, gift cards are popping up like mushrooms. And no wonder: They are great vehicles for generating cash and attracting new customers.

    Retailers also benefit from the third-party endorsement implicit in every gift card purchase. "Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most powerful ways for retailers to extend their brands," says David Ehrlich, president of Track Marketing Group, an Alexandria, Va.-based consulting firm....