5 Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Shopping Season

18 Nov

For many retailers, 40 percent of their annual sales occur in the last two months of the year (source: Experian). Even if the middle of the year is your busiest time, there’s no doubt your divers are looking to spend money leading up to the holidays.

The average consumer plans to spend at least $800 on gifts this year. What is your strategy to capture those holiday dollars?

Below are five top tips for holiday season success in 2015.

#5. Stock Specialty Items

Have you passed by a shop window and seen something unique that caused you to detour into the shop? The right “gateway item” can easy lead to a big purchase.

By promoting fun, ocean-themed items online and in your store, you’ll give customers one more reason to start their holiday shopping with your business. Below are a few ideas.

Color-changing shark mug

heat sensitive color changing shark mug

Drinkwear from bread and badger

gifts for scuba divers and ocean lovers

Scuba or ocean-themed apparel appeals to divers and non-divers alike. PADI Gear offers shorts, hats and bags in addition to t-shirts, jackets and hoodies.


Here are some other apparel ideas:

Shark / Jaws flip flops

shark Jaws flip flops sandals

Diving Helmet Cufflinks

scuba diver cufflinks

Shark Slippers

shark slippers

#4. Create Packages

Bundling products together into a single package allows you to simultaneously up-sell and prevent price comparison. For example:

Bundle an Equipment Specialist course with any gear purchase.

Students receive the added value of learning how to take care of their gear and earn a specialty cert towards their Master Scuba Diver rating.

Read course director Scuba Steve’s tips for teaching an equipment specialty course.

You could also include stickers customized with the student’s name.

dive gear name stickers

Create a dive gear travel package

In addition to your favorite lightweight dive gear, your package could include a luggage scale, accessories for a GoPro (such as a floating handle),  an octopus luggage tag, a dry bag (contact your PADI Sales Consultant to order), reef-friendly sunscreen, or other useful items.

#3 Make It Easy for Shoppers to Give and Receive

Have you ever been stumped on what gift to buy for someone? Or if someone asks what you’d like as a gift suddenly draw a blank?

Here are some ways to ensure your divers as well as their friends and family will never be at a loss for the perfect gift idea.

Give non-diving friends and family a cheat sheet (aka “gift guide”) which can do double-duty as a wishlist for current customers.

Make a cheat sheet aka “gift guide”
Your gift guide doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a list of gifts any diver would appreciate. Type up a list of items you keep in stock (or could quickly order) and link to it from your e-Newsletter and post to social media.

Consider grouping items by price:

Under $25
Under $50
Under $100

Read more tips and tricks for creating an effective gift guide.

Once you’ve got that gift guide squared away, re-purpose it as a wishlist.

Customer Wishlists
Invite divers to print the gift guide, write their name at the top, and circle the items they’d like to receive. Keep the wishlists on file through the holidays and put them somewhere your staff can easily reference.

Can your shelf sell de-fog?
Of course your employees are great about explaining products, but what about your shelves? If there’s a rush and someone is left browsing on their own, that shopper may appreciate that you’ve put the defog next to the masks with a sign that says “don’t forget defog!”

go-pro-floating-handgripAlong the same lines: a new diver or non-diver may not be aware of all the accessories they need (light(s) / red filter, wrist strap, etc). A display of these items with a flyer or sign explaining what someone might need to get started with underwater photo or video will be appreciated by newbies.

Offer Electronic Gifts
Shoppers with a digital preference plan to spend $440 more than shoppers who aren’t in the market for digital goods. As a PADI Member you can sell an eLearning or Touch course by collecting the student’s information then waiting to transmit the code. Or, direct customers to buy a gift code from PADI’s website.

PADI give the gift of scuba diving
#2 Promote  Early and Often

Experian reports 49 percent of retailers will launch a holiday marketing campaign before Halloween.

Capture holiday dollars early by starting your online promotion as soon as you feel comfortable. Why online? Almost 92% of holiday shoppers plan to research online before making a purchase.

holiday shopping stats

Here’s another interesting stat: Social Media Today conducted a recent survey where 78% of respondents said a company’s social media posts influence their purchase decisions.

Put your products where the eyeballs are! Take a picture of your various packages and post a different one each week to your Facebook page. Include the images and ideas with your eNewsletter as well. This makes it easy for divers to share their gift preferences with friends and family.

holiday shopping stats
When asked, “What type of holiday content are you most likely to share?” in a recent survey, 67% percent said digital coupons and 63% percent said a link to a holiday contest or giveaway.

Share the Specifics of Your Savings
With that in mind, be sure to state loud and clear the dollar amount customers will save if they purchase your package. Even if you’re not offering a deep discount, call out the dollar value of your offer. Studies show that stating a specific amount is more appealing to consumers than a percent. In other words, “$100 savings” is more effective than “Save 15%”

Email deals
According to Shopify, email still out-performs Twitter and Facebook for sales performance. Make your message stand apart from the rest by using enticing subject lines such as:

  • We never do this…
  • An invitation to secret savings
  • Your $25 credit is about to expire

The secret savings can be as simple as asking customers to say a”magic word” that activates the deal and a deadline to take advantage of the special. For example, “Save $100 off any purchase of $600 or more when you use the code word: Rudolph on or before December 1st.”

The credit offer… the customer may not actually have any credit, but who wants to lose out on $25? Call it a customer loyalty credit in honor of the diver’s anniversary / birthday / just to help them out during the holidays. Customers often spend much more than $25.

#1 Give shoppers a reason to buy from you


What do these distasteful Christmas sweaters have to do with scuba? The company that makes them, Tipsy Elves, donates a hoodie to a child in need for every ugly sweater purchased.

Offering a benefit, such as a charitable donation or other incentive, is a great way to get people to do business with you.

  • Offer an incentive for those who come into the store to drop off a donation such as canned food.
  • Invite divers to donate used wetsuits and dive gear for donation and receive $XYZ off a new item. Here are some organizations that utilize used wetsuits and gear
  • Donate a portion of sales to Project AWARE, or a local charity of your choice.

Ideas in Action!

Aquatic Dreams in California has a special photo event with Scuba Santa…

photo: Aquatic Dreams Modesto, CA

… Blue Horizons in Pennsylvania ran an offer last year for free delivery on purchases of $100 or more.

Blue Horizons Holiday Offer

Lastly, don’t be shy about asking for the sale. Remind people what you do to support the local community and eco-system. Invite them to contact you before purchasing a similar item online.

Include a photo of you and your staff to further drive home the message. By spending money at their local dive shop, shoppers support not only their local community, but also the people that change lives. Maui Dreams in Hawaii highlights the entire staff to further enhance and maintain the personal relationship they establish with their customers.

Maui Dreams

PADI Online Product Registration: Alternate Method

11 Nov


If you have a student who’s having trouble receiving the registration email from PADI for their eLearning, Touch, etc. below is an alternate way for them to access their digital product.

Email your customer the link below along with their access code from your Online Processing Center.


  • Ask the student to open this link using Firefox or Chrome (as opposed to Safari or a mobile browser).
  • Direct the student to complete the Sign Up for a PADI Account form on the right side of the screen.
  • If applicable: remind the student that each diver needs to use a separate email address. Two people cannot share an email.


Below are the additional steps your student will complete in order to register:

If the digital product purchased is available in multiple languages, the student will be prompted to choose a language. If the product is only available in English, your student will not see this screen.


Next, your student will be asked to review and accept PADI’s privacy policy.
PADI online registration

On this screen, your student will type in the address for their student record. If “send card to student” is selected during the certification process, this is the address where their certification card will be sent.

The final step in registration is for the student to enter the access code you’ve given them. From here, the student will able to access their online training / Touch product via the PADI app and PADI Library app.


This screen shows any digital products that have already been registered. The student can click the VIEW button to get more information on how to view or access their digital products.

Health and Life Insurance Options Now Available!

28 Oct

Vicencia & Buckley Insurance

As part of PADI’s value proposition and commitment to serving its members, PADI now offers comprehensive medical, dental and life insurance services for all U.S.-based members*.

Vicencia and Buckley Insurance, a Division of HUB International, make this significant new benefit possible. U.S.-based PADI Members now have access to affordable medical, dental and life insurance with leading carriers backed by the nation’s largest providers. Enrolling, and getting policies issued, is easy.

Open Enrollment begins 1 November 2015 and continues through 31 January 2016.

Health and Dental Insurance: Through PADI.HealthInsurance.com, individuals and families can get quotes from leading health insurance carriers, compare health plans side by side, and purchase health insurance. Individual health insurance offers the convenience of choice: You choose which benefits you want in a plan. Premium options give you the freedom to choose what best fits your family’s budget.

Life Insurance: PADI has a new life-insurance price-comparison service available to PADI instructors who are U.S. residents. Now, you can easily compare the rates of 50 leading life insurers in seconds and have the freedom to apply to any company shown.  Special questions and filters designed for diving instructors ensures accurate life-insurance quotes. Instant life-insurance quotes from $5,000 US to $25 million US are now available at LifeQuotes.com.

Employer Small Group Health and Dental Insurance Plans: HealthInsurance.com also offers competitive employer-sponsored group plans for groups ranging from two or more employees. HealthInsurance.com has a vast portfolio of products and carrier relationships, which allow multiple proposals with flexible, affordable plans and competitive rates.

*Offer valid in U.S. only

Announcing the 2015 Elite Instructor My PADI Challenge Winners

26 Oct


Congratulations to the instructors who won the first annual Elite Instructor My PADI Challenge! These 15 PADI Professionals certified more people the past three months than they did during the same three-month period last year. Thank you all for your amazing achievements and dedication in teaching the world to dive, and for creating more ambassadors for the ocean.

Want to win next year’s challenge? All 2015 PADI Elite Instructors will be eligible for next year’s contest. To read about the Elite Instructor My PADI Challenge and incentives, visit padi.com/elite.

2015 Winners

300 Level*:
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Stormy Munkirs

200 Level:
PADI Course Director, Christopher Adams
PADI IDC Staff Instructor, Sam Vidler

150 Level:
PADI Course Director, Chance Gray
PADI IDC Staff Instructor, Sofie Oernstedt
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Jerry Lawson

100 Level:
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, Linda Eckardt
PADI Master Instructor, Laura Villneff
PADI IDC Staff Instructor, Kevin King
PADI Master Instructor, Kenneth Peters

50 Level:
PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, Hannah Tannenbaum
PADI IDC Staff Instructor, India Watkins
PADI IDC Staff Instructor, Alan Keller
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Santiago Modern
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Guillermo Antonio Garcia Blanco

*Minimum number of certifications achieved in 2014.

How to Set up Digital Product Affiliation Links on Your Website

20 Oct

Add links to your website and automatically affiliate Touch or eLearning students with your store so you generate revenue around the clock. Use the link below and plug in your store number along with the corresponding Course ID.

For Touch, Certification Paks and eLearning use:


For ReActivate use:



Course ID Course Name
37 Open Water English Touch (all languages)
43 Open Water English eLearning – Cert Pack
44 Open Water Spanish eLearning – Cert Pack
45 Open Water German eLearning – Cert Pack
46 Open Water Japanese eLearning – Cert Pack
47 Open Water Italian eLearning – Cert Pack
48 Open Water French eLearning – Cert Pack
49 Advanced Open Water English eLearning – Cert Pack
50 Enriched Air Diver English eLearning – Cert Pack
51 Open Water Dutch eLearning – Cert Pack
52 IDC Course English eLearning – Cert Pack
53 Dive Theory English eLearning – Cert Pack
54 Digital Underwater Photography English eLearning – Cert Pack
55 Scuba Tune-up English eLearning – Cert Pack
56 Rescue Diver English eLearning – Cert Pack
57 Divemaster English eLearning – Cert Pack
58 Open Water Russian eLearning – Cert Pack
59 IDC Course Japanese eLearning – Cert Pack
60 Dive Theory Japanese eLearning – Cert Pack
61 IDC Course Spanish eLearning – Cert Pack
62 Open Water Chinese eLearning – Cert Pack
63 Enriched Air Japanese eLearning – Cert Pack
64 Open Water Korean eLearning – Cert Pack
65 Divemaster Japanese eLearning – Cert Pack
B4956EA2-9985-4356-A9DA-42BEF212D8D8 ReActivate Touch – all languages

Also, make sure you check your “Courses Offered” preferences under the My Account section on the PADI Pros’ Site so you are able to utilize the corresponding affiliation links. If the proper courses are not set up in the Pros’ Site your store will not be auto-affiliated.

Note: If you have existing eLearning affiliation links installed on your website, these will continue to work.

Achieving (Retail) World Domination – Episode II

14 Oct

This is part II of an article authored by Brian R. Bondy President / Owner at Huron Scuba, Snorkel and Adventure Travel Inc. Read part I here

Huron Scuba PADI Dive Shop

The Execution

The best way to not only survive but also to thrive in the retail world is to make sure people want to come to your store because you’ve built a personal relationship with them. My customers come to my store because of my team, not in spite of them.

As the industry benchmark in our area, we have more than 50 Google reviews. We carry seven of the eight major product lines in our industry; we offer the best programs at fair prices; and we voraciously promote the “dive lifestyle.” But at the end of the day, what really sets us apart is, well, us.

Customers want to come in; they want to bring others, and they want to be part of our family. They do this because we want them to be here and we work every day to make them feel like a welcome and valuable part of our crew.

huron scuba

The easiest way to reap this benefit in your own organization is by empowering your team to get to know your customers. I pay my team members for half a day if they want to go diving with customers. The team member gets a break from the store, the customers get a professional guide for their dive and, best of all, they get to know each other and continue building that relationship.

Our customers are comfortable with the relationship that has formed and the trust that’s been built, and actively participate in maintaining both. These same customers (now family members) keep coming back to my store because of that relationship. Even with the expected employee turnover in my industry, these customers accept the “replacement” team member with open arms and take it upon themselves to welcome the new person to our clan.

You may think this all sounds great, but your business doesn’t provide opportunities to meet up with customers on personally guided half-day adventures like mine. No problem.

The best thing about relationship building is that all you need to begin are two people – that’s it.

It doesn’t matter if you run a hair salon, an oil-change shop or are in the top one percent of the Fortune 500. You can always invite people to a BBQ at your home, a group bowling night, a movie premiere or anything that puts people in the mix together. Building genuine relationships is actually easier outside the store or office, especially if you always have a few things cooking that make it is easy to get people interested and talking. People want to do fun things, but many claim they don’t have the time to make the arrangements, so make the arrangements for them and have fun together.

People appreciate familiarity and a true, honest interest in them and their lives – beyond the sale. This is no easy task, so if you can’t be honestly interested in other people, this advice may not work for you. As for your team, with the right environment, a little bit of empowerment and the freedom to be themselves, the majority of them will do a great job building relationships away from the office, and will enjoy doing it along the way.

I love what I do — I get paid to teach; I get paid to dive; I get paid to take people on incredible adventures all over the world and motivate them to try new things.

Most of all, I love what I do because of the things I don’t get paid for.

These fringe benefits include making new friends, building unforgettable memories and getting the chance to make a meaningful impact on someone else’s life simply by being there, enjoying our time together and being a part of their experience.

For the cynical Debbie-Downers – yes, there are some people who are a pain in the ass, but the good news is, I actually can’t tell you their names because they were forgotten – quickly. I can however, tell you all about my buddy who retired from two branches of the military that I dive the Straits of Mackinac with, the friend who secretly sailed the world in nuclear submarines that I dove Little Cayman Island with, my pilot buddy who taught me to fly to keep me busy during my divorce and his entire family that got certified at my store, or maybe I should mention all the people who just stop in to say hi, get a hug and check up on me, my team members, my wife, my soon-to-be-daughter and the ever-famous shop canines Elvis and Tommy?

My list of friends continues to grow and if it isn’t blatantly obvious – I can’t wait to add your name soon.

Running a retail business has never been easy, but historically some people found their niche and learned how to make a stable, sometimes lucrative, living that was not overly difficult to maintain. The digital marketplace has changed that game forever. If you can’t offer more than just a building to get an identical item, people will continue to use you as a fitting room only, will continue to buy online, and ultimately you won’t survive.

Service, experience and emotional connections all have incredible value and need to be the focus for every retailer who wants to stay in business.

Amazon may or may not be the devil, but they have forced us to improve the retail experience for every customer, every day.

This doesn’t have to be an overwhelming undertaking. Improve the retail experience you offer one bite at a time and one person at a time. Make it personal, keep it personal, and add as many people as you can to the family. Before you know it, you’ll be swinging from the branches in your own Amazon jungle looking for the next elephant to eat.*

*No elephants were harmed or eaten in the making of these episodes.

Want to get added to my list of friends? stop in next time you are in Ann Arbor (GO BLUE!) and ask for Brian, Katie, Lakin or Joe and if we aren’t available, I bet my customers will help make you comfortable until we are!

Read the original LinkedIn post.

ReActivate Affiliation Link Now Available

12 Oct

PADI Dive Shops and Resorts can now add a link to your website that automatically affiliates ReActivate™ students with your store. Copy the link below, add your store number, and use it to create a link on your website or in your email newsletter.


For example, if your PADI store number was 123456, the final code would look like this:


Below is an example of what the page looks like on PADI.com. In the bottom left you can see the store information.

How to set up PADI store affiliation ReActivate

ReActivate email templates are available for both EVE and MailChimp.

Learn more about ReActivate, and order online using product no. 71926-1 from the online shopping cart.

ReActivate Marketing Tips

  • PADI ReActivate imagesReActivate web banners are available on the PADI Pros’ Site in various sizes.
  • Offer ReActivate as an upsell to a replacement card request -if divers can’t find their card, they probably haven’t been diving in awhile.
  • Contact divers you haven’t seen in awhile – mine your customer database for divers who haven’t been active recently.
  • Package ReActivate with group trips – Include a special offer in travel documents or confirmations for divers to refresh their skills prior to leaving on the trip. That way they get to practice their skills and meet their travel companions.

Are you doing something special to promote PADI ReActivate? Email Adrianne.Miller@padi.com and you may be featured in an upcoming Surface Interval article.


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