Preparing for the Holiday Gift Giving Season

The average holiday shopper will spend $700 to $800 on gifts this year and 85% will complete their holiday shopping before 1 December. Whether you’re a fan of Christmas or not, it pays to line up your holiday sales strategy early.

holiday season shopping timeline
Here are our top five tips to capture holiday dollars

5. Put Scuba Gear on Their Wish List with an Equipment Specialist Course

Invite students to learn about the “care and feeding” of their equipment by attending an Equipment Specialist course. This is a non-diving specialty that can be offered rain or shine and counts toward Master Scuba Diver. During the class, offer save-a-dive  kits and showcase your latest and greatest gear. Invite equipment reps to help with demos, and/or show How It’s Made equipment/tank manufacturing videos from PADI’s Encyclopedia DVD-ROM (part no 70833).

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


4. Think outside the box bun BCD

Help customers show their scuba diver pride by stocking ocean-themed items for home or office (ideas below). Travel accessories are another good impulse buy. My travel-sized luggage scale   helps me avoid baggage fees and airport hassles. It comes with me on every drive trip and is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received (thanks, Mom)!

Octo luggage tag
heat sensitive color changing shark mug
Add a hot beverage and watch the sharks come out!
shark lazer pointer
All I want is a frickin’ shark with a frickin’ lazer beam on its head
gifts for scuba divers and ocean lovers

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

Octopus diver and goldfish shark fin tees

#3 Take the guesswork out of it

Figuring out what gifts to buy is a big challenge for most shoppers. Even scarier? Wandering into a dive shop as a non-diver.

Give non-diving friends and family a starting place by creating packages or quick-reference lists. Here are some ideas:

  • Gifts any diver would love (equipment care, save a dive kit)
  • Dive traveler essentials package with defog, spring straps, etc.
  • World’s Best Dive Buddy package with EFR and Rescue Diver
  • Gifts under $20
  • Gifts under $50
  • Gifts under $100
go-pro-floating-handgripOf course your staff are great about explaining products, but what about your shelves? If there’s a rush and someone is left browsing on their own, they may appreciate that you’ve put the defog next to the masks with a sign that says “don’t forget the defog!”
Compact cameras such as the GoPro are very popular, but 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.
Christmas stocking for gift cardsA  dive shop gift card tucked into a mini-stocking, or other holiday-themed packaging is the easiest of all! If resources allow, you could also offer the option for customers to create a wishlist.


#2 Get Digital

74% of shoppers  will use the internet to research gift ideas. Put your products where the eyeballs are! Take a picture of your various packages and post one a day 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.

Offer Electronic Gifts
Shoppers with a digital preference also planned to spend $440 more than shoppers who aren’t in the market for digital goods. As a PADI Member you can offer eLearning gift passes – read more about how to get started with eLearning gift passes.


PADI give the gift of scuba diving

#1 Give shoppers a reason to buy from you

  • Offer a benefit to shoppers who come see you in person – like free gift wrap.
  • Collect toys or canned food for a local charity and offer shoppers a $5 off coupon or other incentive.
  • Invite divers to bring in used wetsuits and dive gear for donation* and receive $20 off a new item.
    *Here are some organizations that utilize used wetsuits and gear

TV ads clamor for our attention, online ads stalk us around the internet, but you have a personal relationship with your customers. Don’t be shy about asking for their business.

  • Remind people what you do to support the local community and eco-system.
  • Invite them to contact you before purchasing a similar item online.
  • Donate a portion of sales to Project AWARE, or a local charity of your choice.

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.

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