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Scuba Dive Series (Part 2):
Business Considerations

Beyond customer interactions, there are certain business considerations that every scuba dive shop and liveaboard company should take into account when conducting their business. Besides worrying about the dive, other scuba dive shop business considerations include: facilities presentation and upkeep, partnerships, boat setup, their personnel, and finally their digital footprint. If you would like to know more about considerations that provide a better understanding of every customer interaction a dive shop and liveaboard may have with their clientele, make sure to check Part 1 of this series.

Business Considerations

The Store – A store is an intrinsic component of the overall customer experience. Ensuring a clean and decluttered environment, free from scattered equipment can help customers feel more comfortable about the environment and the business’ professionalism. The store may look crowded and cluttered after a dive, that is understandable. However, if space allows, shops should have a designated “docking” area for after dives. Such area does not need to be completely hidden away from potential customers, since seeing excited/ happy individuals who just came from a successful dive can also help with sales. Should the shop provide certifications, ensure that there is a quiet area for individuals to study uninterrupted.

Equipment – The worldwide market for scuba diving equipment has reached US$990 million in 2019 with an expected growth of 3.7% CAGR in the next 5 years. Scuba shops have the opportunity to use their stores to sell diving equipment at a premium to help diversify revenue. Being a reseller allows you to purchase diving equipment at a discount, couple that with the need for the organization to purchase equipment for internal use (e.g. Divemaster equipment) and rental purposes and the idea becomes more enticing. It is worth noting that brick & mortar are having challenges competing with eCommerce shops, so consider that before entering the scuba diving equipment sale market. 

Partnerships – Divers looking to experience or earn a certification often require certain practice exercises that take place in a pool or shorelines. There are cases where the shoreline is not an option and the cost of a pool can be prohibitive. In such cases, businesses should look for potential partners such as a hotel or other dive shop. This partnership exchange can materialize through cost-sharing, rental, or discounted prices for certain services. Strategic Partnerships allow dive-shops to provide services that they could not offer otherwise, leading to further business for both parties and minimizing costs associated with infrastructure.

Boat – Except for shore diving, most dive shops need boats and a boat crew to arrive at the diving location. When it comes to opting between buying or renting a boat, dive shops should understand the advantages and disadvantages of both:

Boat Rental

Advantages

Disadvantages

Boat Purchase

Advantages

Disadvantages

Employees – Employees are the face of dive shops and their responsibilities vary extensively from shop to shop: from frontline sales of scuba equipment to operational assistance on the management of the business. Beyond dives, scuba diving lessons, and underwater tours, these individuals are the backbone of the business and require training, experience, and relevant certifications to ensure the long term success of the business. Here are some of the relevant training the staff may require:

Digital Footprint – The internet has allowed businesses to extend their market outreach like never before. Customers have also uncovered the ability to research and carefully select which business to trust their money with. Nowadays, it is essential for businesses to optimize their brand exposure by investing time and resources in digital marketing. Today, scuba diving shops have utilized social media and corporate websites to establish their digital footprint, here are some relevant considerations for both cases:

Social media – media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have the ability to reach a wider audience as well as demonstrate a little bit of the business’ personality and past customer experience. Here are some tips that could be leveraged for each platform:

  • Facebook – Use scuba diving groups/ business profile to talk about the area that the scuba dive shop covers, talk about the equipment that it sells, the animals that the team has seen lately, etc. Create a group for the shop itself and reach out to customers when appropriate.
  • Twitter/ Instagram – Post short videos and pictures of the team with happy customers and exploring the sea, or even curious things about the ocean. An environmentally friendly dive shop can leverage their initiatives as a selling point.
  • Cross-post – Cross-post material between the different social media to create a larger network. Do not forget to tag your other social media whenever you post anything to generate traffic.

Website – Nowadays, a website denotes professionalism and trust and is mostly used to provide the public with detailed information about the company’s services. Furthermore, it can help sell your shop’s merchandise, book diving packages, and other services. Do not forget to advertise your social media accounts on the website and vice-versa, as it can help generate more traffic and increase customer turnover.

If you would like to know more about scuba dive shop business considerations that provide a better understanding of every customer interaction a dive shop may have with their clientele, make sure to check Part 1 of this series.

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