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Feeding the Monster

Thinking back from the beginning until now, the pool industry has drastically improved over the course of time. With new age technology, we have products integrating with phones, pool chemical apps and let's not forget the enhanced pool pumps. As time and technology progressed, so has the internet market. Not only are small businesses competing with each other, now they are competing with the internet.

If you think about it, yes, it is simple to buy online. With a push of a button, and various shipping methods, you can get a product delivered to you in a day. It is also quite simple to sell online as well. You have the flexibility to sell 24 hours a day, stock less product and have less employees, which saves you some money.

There are also some downfalls regarding internet sales; As previously mentioned, you're not only competing with other pool professionals, now your customers can go online and buy from the same website you can shop on. Some internet dealers don't even charge taxes, which kills jobs in our local neighborhoods. Yes, you may save a little on taxes but our government needs those taxes to provide law enforcement, fire fighters, repairs in streets and you name it. Your savings are actually costing more to the community.

We are proud to support our local pool professionals by not selling to internet dealers. Yes, that's a strong statement and most distributors won't do the same but that's how we feel. We believe that wholesale distribution plays a key role in the process of distribution channels. From manufacturer to wholesale to pool professionals and retailers, and finally to the end consumer. When shopping online is an option, not only is the pool professional cut out of the mix but in some cases so is distribution.

I'd like to share some insights on how wholesale distribution works and why I feel so strong about my position on internet sales. We buy in bulk from the manufacturer then we store the products in our warehouses and once its needed we distribute to the professionals or dealers. What does this entail? We evaluate and research any new products brought to the market, reducing our customer's risks. We provide the opportunity for overseas and domestic manufactures to distribute in all areas that we service. Making the product accessible to the pool professional and retailer, which in turn makes it accessible to the consumer. Most manufacturers have shipping costs and high minimum purchase amounts that pool professionals and retailers cannot or do not want to meet. Because we buy from various manufactures, we assist in keeping the market competitive. Manufacturers are less likely to have unnecessarily large price increases knowing the local distributor can offer more competitively priced similar products. Lastly, when selecting a new location we base our decision on where it would be convenient for the professionals to shop. That way when you need a product, we have it easily accessible and you are able to buy just the items you need instead of the hundreds we are required purchase.

Would PEP sell more product if we sold to the internet? Of course we would. However we have a commitment and responsibility to you, our industry partner that we believe is more important. I understand that the ease and perceived savings of buying on the internet is very tempting, but I am asking you to think it through. What are you saving? It is very short-sighted to feed the very thing that is coming after your business.