Online retailing the newest business for Poolwerx
Pool and spa care franchise PoolWerx is diving into the e-retailing sector with the launch of its hybrid Ôbricks-and-clicksÕ online store this month. PoolWerx CEO John OÕBrien said the online store had taken nearly two years to develop.
“We spent 12 months researching and testing different approaches to find the most effective strategy before we began building the infrastructure for our e-store,” he said. “Through our e-store we can give pool owners easy access to the range of PoolWerx products along with delivery and installation options where necessary.”
Pool owners nationwide can now select from products including pumps, automatic cleaners, chlorinators, pool covers, filters, heating solutions, chemicals and pool toys by visiting www.poolwerx.com.au.
OÕBrien said the companyÕs physical footprint would be its biggest weapon in e-retailing. “There are currently no pool and spa care businesses using a hybrid online/offline model such as ours, it is completely unique to the industry. As a well established franchise our biggest advantage over online-only retailers is our existing fleet of over 300 mobile vans and our 65 retail stores across Australia and New Zealand.”
Franchisees will benefit from the online business, O’Brien told Franchising, with orders being relayed to the appropriate territory. “We’re within minutes of 90 percent of pool owners in Australia and we will deliver and install, and because we’re doing the installation, our suppliers will offer extended warranties.
“We are the first e-store offering pool chemicals online and all of our franchise partners are fully qualified to deliver and administer these chemicals. This is a service that online-only pool stores cannot provide due to strict laws relating to the sale and distribution of chemicals.”
There are other benefits to the online customer, he said. “If there’s a problem, we’re not a faceless business, you can come and knock on our door.
“Our site is not driven by price, it is based on service,” O’Brien added.
OÕBrien said there was strong evidence to support the companyÕs investment in the e-store. “New research predicts Australians will spend more than $13.6 billion online in 2011 with internet spending forecasted to reach $21.7 billion by 2015 (according to PwC and Frost & Sullivan Digital Media Research Report 2011).
”WeÕve invested over $100,000 into our new website and e-store and we expect to see a return on that investment by the end of the spring / summer swimming season, based on strong anticipated demand.”
In the first few weeks of trading there has been a high conversion rate from visits to orders, O’Brien said.
Each of Poolwerx’s existing three platforms (mobile, retail and b2b) currently bring in about 30 percent of business and O’Brien predicts that within five years the company’s online retailing will account for about 20 percent of the business.