Traditionally, sales in the aquatics department slow down in the summer months. Vacations and outdoor family activities leave less time to interact with aquatic pets. Instead of giving up on your aquatic sales, why not try a few simple things to promote items and services that people will need throughout this season, even if they are distracted by outdoor activities?
Early summer is the perfect time for customers to reorganize their aquarium, something they’ve been putting off for other late spring activities. It’s also a good time to remind them about their recommended bulb replacements for lighting and UV sterilizers or to perform those decorating changes they’ve been thinking about. They may need to replace their magnetic impellers on pumps and filters. Customers will have more time for these types of simple maintenance activities, so why not remind them. Create in-store signage recommending things they might not generally think about or create bag stuffers suggesting new ideas and make sure anyone buying aquatic products gets a flier.
Many of your customers are going to take advantage of the good weather and go on vacation. Make sure to have a well-stocked selection of vacation items like food blocks and automatic fish feeders. Explain to your customers that they can use an automatic feeder year round. Further suggest that they work well for adding freeze-dried treats to a staple diet of flakes, which helps to keep fish at optimal health. Educating customers in this way will give them another reason to stop in and stock up on treats and other products you may have brought to their attention. Consider building a vacation products endcap that displays everything they’ll need to keep their aquatic pets healthy and fed while they are away.
Another great sales generator these days is to display complete desktop setups in your store that can be partially drained and sent out the door with their water in a 5-gallon container. This is a newer trend but one that is catching on fast and it’s sure to generate some quick and easy sales. Betta and planted tanks work well with this concept and are simple for the new hobbyist to maintain. A successful small aquarium opens up an opportunity for future larger aquarium sales.
For those of you who have stores in warmer climates, summer is the perfect time to sell heaters for freshwater tanks and chillers for marine aquariums. Many households keep their thermostat set much higher during the day to save on air conditioning costs. At night, the thermostat is turned down much lower for comfort. Aquarium temperatures may reach the mid to upper 80s during the day and then drop to lower temperatures at night when the air conditioning is on. Having a quality heater set at 82–84˚F in most freshwater tanks will prevent huge changes in daytime and nighttime temperatures, which will cause stress and possibly illness in fish.
In marine aquariums, the temperature can be kept, as required, much lower and consistent by using a chiller instead of incurring the high cost of air conditioning. In this case, it may also be necessary to utilize an auto top-off unit for keeping up with excess evaporation from the aquarium. All of these products are added sales but customers can be made aware that they are necessary in maintaining healthy and successful aquariums.
Taking a little more time to talk with your customers will make them feel more appreciated in this slower season. Additionally, it allows you to give them your input and recommendations. For example, treats and frozen foods are often overlooked, so explaining their benefits will not only increase sales during the summer but throughout the year.
When you experience a slowdown in store traffic, you might actually keep sales up by making the most of this downtime to establish and grow that ever-so-important relationship with your customers who do come into your store often.