Let’s talk about hot tub prices…
Hey, hot tub manufacturers. We need to talk.
Noooo! For once it’s not the cheap hot tubs I’m out to get (you guys can relax.. for now). It’s the so-called good guys. Jacuzzi. Artesian. Hot Spring. Hydropool. And yes even our very own Coast Spas hot tubs. You’re breaking my heart ?.
You see, for the past few years, I’ve been kind of in love with you. We’ve been blissfully basking in our mutual amazing-ness. And I can’t get enough of telling everyone how much I adore you.
But, there’s something that’s stopping our relationship from progressing. It might be the thing that ends us. It’s BIG. Think, finishing a Netflix series we started together without me ‘BIG’ (seriously what kind of person would do that?).
Because there is one thing the budget, cheapo hot tubs can give me that you won’t. They are literally blowing you and your suppliers out of the water. And out of the industry.
What is this outrageous thing that is causing me to question our beautiful relationship?
Tell me what you’re worth
Now, now! Calm down it’s not what you think.
It’s not because they are cheaper. It’s not because you are more expensive. In, fact, you being a high-value hottie is what made me fall for you in the first place.
My problem is… nobody knows how much you are really worth. Because you don’t talk about it online.
While all the cheap hot tubs of the world are out there shouting about how cheap they are. Your absence of pricing online is deafeningly silent.
Relationships are about trust and transparency. You’re not living up to your side of the bargain.
Why are you not putting your hot tub prices online?
So, why is it? Why are you not talking about your hot tub prices online?
We’ve always done it that way.
Ah, the most dangerous phrase in the English language.
Back in the day when portable hot tubs were the new kid on the block. It was enough to just build a great quality hot tub. Someone would tell their friend about you. And boom! A match made in hot tub heaven.
But now people want more. It’s 2018. We’re in the midst of a digital renaissance. And the consumers, they make the rules.
What do consumers want? Prices!
When do they want them? Now!
Have you heard of the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)? It’s the moment your potential customer starts researching a product online. The moment they decide whether to give you and your company a seat at the table. It’s estimated that 70% of the final buying decision is made before a customer even contacts you.
How many people are today making the decision to buy a hot tub without even considering you?
But it gets worse. With the entire premium end of the hot tub market suspiciously vacant when it comes to online pricing. You’re contributing to the misunderstanding of hot tub prices, and skewing the reality.
When people start researching hot tubs online they see the majority of prices between £2500 – £5500, with a few outliers. They don’t get the chance to realise that they are the cheap ones. With the really great manufacturers starting at around £5500 and going all the way up to £20,000.
And by the time these potential customers step foot in your supplier’s showroom. It’s too late. Because 70% of their mind has been made up on that ‘all singing all dancing’ hot tub that is £4000. Because you never told them early enough that there was any other option.
So tell me again, why is it you are not pricing online?
1. People don’t buy hot tubs online
No one spends thousands of pounds online. So why would we bother putting our prices online?
Let’s pretend for a minute that this isn’t fake news (*narrator* it was, in fact, fake news).
What’s one of, if not the first question a potential customer asks when they walk into your store or showroom?
How much does a hot tub cost?
If 70% of the buying decision is being made online. And you can’t answer the most fundamental question. How likely is it that you will get a seat at the table?
For potential customers, online pricing isn’t even really about buying. It’s about knowing.
How do you shop?
Let’s get outside the industry (because of course buying a hot tub is 100% unlike any other purchase in life). You kinda fancy buying a Summerhouse. But you know practically nothing about them, other than the fact that their pretty sexy and you need one in your life.
What’s the first thing you do?
Jump in your car and spend your limited and precious time driving around all your local summerhouse suppliers to get the answers to your burning questions?
Pu-lease! It’s 2018. Not 1990.
You pick up your phone or laptop, and you google all the things you need to know about a Summerhouse. Including the all-important price.
You might be looking for something cheap and cheerful. Or, you might be looking for the best Summerhouse on the planet (ps. you’ll get that from Gillies and MacKay). But the price is one of the major pieces of the puzzle that makes up your buying decision.
Once you’re full to the brim with info, you’ll probably have an idea of where you fancy buying from. And who YOU want to make contact with.
And all of this happens without ever having to change out of your favourite fluffy pyjamas. Because you’re busy. And important. And there is far too much on Netflix for you to waste your time going places you are never going to buy from.
The majority of purchase decisions are following this pattern.
But hot tubs. They’re different. Right? 😉
Let’s talk about Master Spas
That’s right. I just said the M word.
Let’s quickly detour back to that fake assumption that people don’t buy hot tubs online. And now let’s talk about Master Spas.
Hot Tub Superstore is one of the busiest hot tub retailers in the UK. In their 2014 ITV documentary Hot tub Britain, the Master Spas retailer said that 9/10 of their hot tubs sales happened over the phone or online.
In other words. 90% of Hot Tub Superstore customers never stepped into their showroom.
Just one more time. 90% of customer bought without ever visiting the showroom.
A pretty wild statistic considering people don’t buy hot tubs online.
Master Spas range from £4495 – £14,995 in the UK. I know this because I checked their supplier’s websites😉. So they aren’t cheap. And despite never setting foot in their showroom and never meeting them, hundreds of people a year are buying hot tubs from them.
Because their customers research online. They find out everything they need to know, including price. And they make their own buying decisions.
Add to that the fact that about 90% of our hot tub service customers didn’t buy their hot tubs from us. Where did they buy them? You guessed it, online.
Not putting your hot tub prices online doesn’t stop this new style of buying from happening. It just eliminates your from the equation.
People buy everything online. From the mundane and every day. To the once in a lifetime purchases.
If researching/buying online doesn’t suit someone. That’s cool. Online dating isn’t for everyone. Your suppliers still have showrooms. Interested people can still visit. And they will. But most importantly they’ll be the right people. Because they’ve already researched. And they’ve chosen to shortlist you.
A win for customers. And win for your suppliers.
2. My competitors will see my prices
Oh no! Not your competitors. The group of people that will categorically never buy from you.
Let’s stop worrying about our competitors.
- Your competitors are never going to buy from you.
- They already know what you are charging (come on now, let’s not pretend you don’t know the prices of your competitors).
- They will never buy from you (oh wait, I said that already. But it’s really important to remember).
And instead of worrying about the high-end competitors, let’s think of it this way.
If we hypothesise that 100 hot tubs are sold in the UK per month. Let’s say that right now 90 of those sold are cheap hot tubs. Poor quality. Expensive to run. And in general, letting the hot tub team down. Not good news for anyone.
Sure, your competitors will get some more sales. But so will you. And in doing so you’re going to increase the quality of hot tubs floating around out there.
Good products help the industry reputation.
Bad products damage it.
Having all the information, including prices, lets people make fully informed decisions. Yes, cheaper hot tubs will still be sold. But people will know they are cheaper and lower quality. And will be free to make the choice that is right for them.
3. People will see your hot tubs are more expensive
A big part of the reason you don’t want to put your hot tub prices online, whether you admit it or not, is because you are more expensive. And you think your high price will stop people from loving you.
Well, guess what. If someone is looking for cheap and cheerful. You’ll never be their perfect soulmate. They don’t want the greatest. They want the cheapest.
If they buy on price and not value. Then your price tag will still put them off. Whether they see the price online or in store.
So, what should you do?
Show the value of the hot tub. There is a reason you are more expensive than the hot tubs made in China. Don’t be afraid to shout about it. Let people know you’re more expensive.
They can choose for themselves what they are willing to spend given all the details. And your suppliers can deal with people who are looking for a quality hot tub.
What do we need to do?
We have in our head that online hot tubs are rubbish hot tubs. And just now they mainly are. Because you made it that way.
People can’t buy good hot tubs online. They can’t even see their prices.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can do better than this. We can do better than this. Jacuzzi. Coast Spas. Artesian. Hot Spring. Hydropool. And everyone else. Your hot tubs are amazing. They are the reason companies like Eagle Leisure keep persevering. We don’t want to forfeit our integrity for our bottom line. But it can’t go on forever.
Your methods are outdated. And if you don’t move with the times you’ll find yourself left behind in a world that demands transparency. Your pushing good dealers to cheap products in an effort to catch up. You’re bringing down an entire industry. And you’re breaking my heart ?.
So make me a promise. For me. For all the future hot tub owners out there who are sick of searching for a hot tub only to be confronted with a ‘from’ price. And for all the suppliers who’ve put their blood sweat and tears into their business, only to be outsold by the companies who price online and get a seat at the table.
Stop letting cheap hot tubs write the narrative.
You built this industry. So lead it.