Analyse the competition to your dive business and what are the results? Is it the domestic high street suffering? Is it spending power? Are potential consumers preferring to spend their weekends sat in trendy coffee shops rather than learning to dive?
These may indeed be valid concerns, but your biggest threats they are not. Your largest competition is from the customers themselves. At this point in time, customers are the savviest they’ve ever been. They are careful with how their money is spent and with whom they spend it. Customers need experience, content, validation, reassurance and personalisation. They crave lifestyle improvement. Transactional relationships are a thing of the past to modern consumers – you are both now embraced in an emotional one.
With this in mind, create a “third space” dive store. A place away from home and work where customers are at ease. If your dive store promotes a transactional environment, the customer is presented with two options: buy something or get out. However, the “third space” environment would allow a customer to sit down and chat with a coffee – and a word of warning, people drink more coffee than ever so don’t skimp on the quality of beans! In this environment you can reassure the customer that scuba diving is the embodiment of lifestyle improvement. Through PADI’s Pillars of Change you confirm that scuba diving is an experience-rich investment worth paying for.
Embrace the millennial thought process to ensure domestic success. Consider these two Facebook advert messages for example:
- 10% off the PADI Open Water Diver course with ABC Diving. Find out more!
- ABC Diving are recruiting ocean conservationists! Visit us in store to protect our ocean planet!
The first message is purely transactional and wide of the mark with how experience driven customers think. Promoting this message within your domestic market would serve to only confirm the savvy customer’s fears – you’re another business trying to make some quick cash.
Now consider the second message. You’ve moved away from transaction and now focus on relationship building. Now you’re recruiting. Now you’re appealing to emotions and creating an environment away from home and work where customers can find gratification through purpose. This now goes beyond selling a dive course. This is selling a lifestyle and a possibly also a career change.