PoolAndSpa.com Celebrates 20th Anniversary On The Internet
December 8, 2014
By Joseph Tingo
Las Vegas, NV USA
PoolAndSpa.com, a Nevada based online retailer of swimming pool and hot tub parts and supplies, is celebrating their 20th year in business on the internet.
Originally started as lihottubs.com (short for Long Island Hot Tubs), their first web site was created in late 1993 and launched in 1994 as an offshoot of their New York based retail hot tub store, Long Island Hot Tubs. “We opened our first hot tub store way back in 1984” says Daniel Harrison, the company’s President, “And we had a small mail order catalog business selling hot tub supplies as well.”
He continues that “As soon as we all started hearing about this “new” thing called the internet back in 1993, we just adopted it as a new way to reach out to more hot tub owners nationwide in order to offer our hot tub and spa supplies to a larger audience”.
Back in 1993 there were very few web sites at all, and very few internet users. However Harrison saw this new technology as a valuable tool for his single location hot tub store. “At that time, we were placing newspaper and yellow page ads, and doing some local TV commercials. We also had our monthly Newsletter & Mail Order Catalog called Hot Tub Life. We did as much advertising as we could locally, but there was just no way we could afford any sort of national advertising. That is why we keyed in on the internet so quickly” Harrison reports.
Once swimming pool supplies were added to their mail order catalog business in 1997, they changed the web site URL name to PoolAndSpa.com, to better reflect the content and the products they were offering. And as they say… the rest is history.
PoolAndSpa.com went on to become the oldest and largest consumer web site for the pool and spa industry. They have continued to expand both their web site and operation facilities throughout the years. Harrison continues “There are very few web sites still in business, that were around when we started on the internet. We were actually selling on the web before amazon.com and ebay. Our little lihottubs.com site was really one of the very first sites in the world to ever even do e-commerce. That word (e-commerce) was not even in common usage way back in 1994. I don’t think that word was even invented until like 1995!” he says.
When Betty Cater, the director of Internet Sales & Marketing for PoolAndSpa.com was asked for her recipe for success, she says “There has never really been a secret recipe for success when it comes to the internet. What works well for one year does not necessarily work so great the next year. The search engines change their SERPS (Search Engine Result Pages) quite frequently, so it is very important to stay aware of all the newest trends on the web.”
She continues that “PoolAndSpa.com is kind of like a book that is never really completed. Our staff is creating and/or changing pages on a daily basis. That’s how we have so many thousands of pages on our site. After 20 years, we have had literally hundreds of employees work on the various sections of our site – which taken as a whole, gives the end user a great website experience.”
Site Sponsorships have always played an important part of the PoolAndSpa.com formula for success. Dan Harrison says that “We started to offer online Sponsorships and display advertising on our site in 1998. We never really got involved with selling swimming pools or hot tubs online, but we were constantly being asked by our web visitors for recommendations about which pool or hot tub brands they should buy. So one thing led to another and we developed a unique Sponsorship program that we offered to pool and spa manufacturers.”
Jeff Baxter, the CFO of PoolAndSpa.com says that “Basically if you had something that we did not sell on our site, we would let you place ads for it. Over the years, the amount of pool and spa manufacturers advertising on our site has increased ten-fold.” He continues “We do not like to have any conflict of interest between our E-commerce Division and our Marketing Division, so at this point everyone is happy – it is a win-win for everyone.”
With literally hundreds of millions of visitors, and millions of dollars in sales, PoolAndSpa.com has stood the test of time – and is surely a testament to the fact that even today – niche web sites still command a large audience. While the amazons, Walmarts and ebays of today have started to offer pool and spa products for sale to the masses, the more instructional and content driven niche sites in any industry will always have a strong following. They fulfill an educational space that the amazon’s, ebays and Walmarts of the world have no desire to get involved with.
What’s new and upcoming for PoolAndSpa.com in 2015? Harrison reports that “We will be continuing to expand our Social presence next year. We also created an App this year, and will be fine-tuning it, getting it ready for Prime Time in 2015. We just finished a 3 month project that involved moving and upgrading all of our web servers to the fastest back-end technology out there. Our site is super fast now. We would pit the speed of our site up against any other site out there. The Newsletter area of our site was totally redesigned in 2014, and we will continue to build that out in 2015, adding a lot more content. I know the tech staff is also working on fully mobile versions of our site as well. The mobile component to the entire web experience is becoming more important, with the worldwide adoption of smart phones and tablets – so these will be areas we will be expanding on for 2015”.
For anyone interested in buying a new pool, swim spa or hot tub – and for all those who already own one – PoolAndSpa.com continues to be a true leader and trend setter for the pool and spa industry. And most likely will be for decades to come!
Congratulations to the entire staff at PoolAndSpa.com for 2 decades of terrific work!
Visit PoolAndSpa.com here:
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