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Own a Fish Store? Here Are 6 Ways to Make Your Aquarium Products Sell Themselves

Local Fish Store LFS

There is a lot of competition in the aquatics trade. You must give it your A-game every day.

Products that sit on the shelf lose money every minute they’re in inventory. As a retailer, you know moving product is the key to remaining profitable. So how do you keep inventory turning while you run the shop?

In today’s short attention span world, products sitting on a display shelf are boring. How would you like it if they reached out to customers and sold themselves? Here’s how to do it!

Use it—or lose it

The number one rule is use what you sell. If you offer a water testing service, perform the test in front of the customer with a test kit you carry. Use this “face time” to discuss the importance of water testing and how easy it is to do at home. You’ll sell more test kits and train customers to track their water quality. Sure, they’ll come in with questions and may even want you to confirm their results. Think of this as a way to cultivate a relationship and keep the customer loyal to your shop. If they have a phosphate problem, direct the customer to phosphate removing media. Maybe they could really benefit from a reverse osmosis system. Use the water test as an informative sales and educational demo.

Mesmerize with moving  water

It’s no secret aquarists like flowing, splashing, bubbling water. Set up an empty aquarium just so you can have a number of aquarium filters running. People like to see how the water flows through the filter and back into the tank. The moving water adds life and excitement to an otherwise static display of boxed HOB and canister filters. Some customers have poor assembly skills. Showing them the basic parts of a canister filter and how to route the hoses eliminates a lot of returns or needless phone calls about the filter leaking, not working or having extra parts.

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Upselling is easier

Often times a customer wants to upgrade their filter or add on a media reactor. Having the device set up and in operation helps them “imagine” the new hardware on their tank. If you really want to go the extra mile, make a small tag or sign that says what the device does and the benefits it provides to the aquarium. A novice may walk right by a reactor, not knowing what it is. But if she sees a sign saying it helps with excess nutrients and reduces algae problems, you’re a lot more likely to make a sale. Put signage to work for you. They never take breaks, are always on time and do the selling for you!

Reef Aquarium Display Tank

Light it up!

No matter if it’s a 10-gallon starter tank or a big reef aquarium, good lighting is essential. Want a crazy Day-Glo tank? You need the right light. Setting up a natural, planted aquarium? The customer needs full-spectrum daylight. Keeping corals? Only the best lighting will do. Talking about lighting is much easier when you can reach out and touch the fixture and the customer can see it in action. With today’s full-featured LED lighting fixtures, you’ll impress customers by either using the fixtures on display tanks or having a few plugged in and ready to demo on empty tanks. People like to press the buttons, handle the remote and see what happens. Give them the opportunity to convince themselves they need that new light upgrade! Don’t forget signage. “Saves electricity” and “Lasts for 50,000 hours” are an attention grabber.

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Everyday tasks sell products

Smart aquatics retailers engage in “aquarium theater.” Feed normal flake food in the morning when the shop opens. But during busy periods feed small amount of frozen or specialty foods while customers watch. Without exception they’ll ask what you are feeding and why. It’s an open door to train the customer to feed a variety of foods. Their fish will be healthier and the customer will be returning to your shop more often to pick up live or frozen food. The same goes for invert foods and supplements. If they see you using it, they’ll buy it.

Keeping the hobby interesting

Some customers are content stopping by the shop twice a year to buy a can of flake foods. Others are looking to the aquarium hobby to keep them entertained or challenged. Trying new products or upgrading to better hardware is fun and exciting. You don’t have to hard sell or push products on your customers. No one likes that. But it is your job to bring new products to their attention and keep them enthusiastic and engaged with the hobby. It’s also necessary to keep up to date on new products to remain relevant and keep your business flourishing. Start small and experiment to find out what works in your shop. Anything that grabs customers attention and imagination is a winner!


To learn more ways to grow your aquarium business, sign up for a Marine Depot Wholesale account or contact us today! We’ve got other helpful wholesale aquarium articles available for you too read with more in the works. Stay tuned!

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