Spas and grills are backyard soul mates. Barbecues don’t take up a lot of space, don’t often need service or maintenance and are inexpensive. Find a hot tub retailer with grills available, and who sees their value just as much as spas, and you’ll be sure you’re getting a quality product.
We are living in the Golden Age of outdoor accessories.
“Outdoor living is huge,” says Jeff Black of California Home Spas in Long Beach, California. “You can find patio furniture on top of the frozen food aisle at Ralph’s. It’s that sellable.”
Black says he saw the writing on the wall 20 years ago, when customers began asking his teams to pour extra concrete or wire extra electrical during spa installations.
“Their next stop was the barbecue store,” Black says. “Time after time, we’d hear that.”
Recognizing a change in consumer sentiment, Black began stocking high-end grills. Since then, that segment of the outdoor living market has seen explosive growth and innovation. “There were no high-end barbecues 20 years ago,” he says. “Now the market is flooded with them.”
Differentiating through service
As demand for high-end grills has skyrocketed, however, so has supply — and no matter where you live in the country, Home Depot is always just a short drive away.
But what Home Depot doesn’t provide, but many hot tub retailers that sell grills do, is ongoing service.
“Do you want a big cardboard box from Amazon showing up on your front porch with a million pieces, or do you want a grill rolled into your backyard ready to cook on?” Black says. “If I’m already driving to your house with a truck, a trailer and four guys to deliver a spa, you might as well buy a barbecue and patio furniture because all that stuff is traveling for free. While the spa is filling, instead of standing there watching the water run, my guys could be setting up everything else.”
You get what you pay for
High-end grills are not cheap, but they last a lot longer.
“The average replacement time for a [typical] barbecue is between three and four years,” says John Mulvany, director of sales for Saber Grills. “Customers can continue to make that repurchase, or they can invest a little more and get a high-end, gourmet steakhouse experience in their backyard for the next 15 to 20 years.”
When you purchase your grill from a hot tub retailer, you’re not only getting a great product, but convenience and a pleasant experience too. After all, the one-on-one attention a spa retailer provides over a big box store or online purchase is worth it.
Belief in the product
Lining up grills in a row from highest price to lowest is a winning strategy — as long as you’re Home Depot or Lowe’s. For spa retailers, however, creative display is the name of the game. You want a retailer that creates vignettes or outdoor space displays within the showroom so you can truly imagine how your grill and hot tub will look and function together in your backyard.
The best displays help the customer visualize the grill and spa — along with patio furniture, outdoor heaters and everything else — not as individual units, but as connected parts that combine to create a sort of outdoor feng shui.
Find a retailer that’s just as picky about the brands of grills offered as they are about the spas.
Lieland Berliner, operations manager at All Valley BBQ, Spa and Fireplace in Palm Desert, California, says the retailers consumers look for should have a clear quality standard.
“Retailers should align themselves with high-quality [grill] companies,” he says, “not the garbage out there that’s all coming from overseas on a price point.”
Another plus: salespeople who have the grill they’re selling in their own backyard truly believe in the product. They’re not telling you facts off a brochure, but speaking from experience when they tell you about what the grill can do.
Many retailers bond with their customers by hosting product displays during in-store cookouts, doing live product demonstrations for potential customers where the crowd gets to eat whatever’s cooked along the way.
“In the barbecue business, people want to taste the quality of what you’re cooking,” Berliner says. “We’ve had demos for 17 years and we sell a grill every single time, or at least have someone come back a month later who was at the demo.”
Seeing really is believing. A retailer who will do demonstrations believes so strongly that the product will work great, they’re willing to invest money in order to show you with no guarantee of return. Isn’t that the kind of place you want to buy from?