Get the Most Out of Black Friday

Black Friday has grown in the public imagination over recent years – it is common to see retailers offering huge discounts for their goods on the Friday after Thanksgiving in November.

So how does a small business capitalize on a big event like this?

We wanted to share some key ideas to help you make the most of Black Friday this year.

  • Create a sense of urgency:

The buzz around Black Friday only works because the offers you make are unique. There are lots of excuses for extending the event (Cyber Monday has essentially become a way of offering things throughout the weekend), but be sure to limit yourself – if your customers can get the offer any time, they won’t feel an urgency to buy from you now.

  • Reward loyal customers:

Your marketing efforts are probably going to be most effective at reaching your existing customer base. They’re the ones who have shopped from you before, and they are the ones most likely to recognize the benefits of your offers. PADI’s continuing education courses are best used for this.

  • Don’t just discount – upsell:

Simply reducing the cost of your courses on Black Friday is unlikely to truly benefit your business – you simply give away profit and end up working harder for less. Your best option is to encourage people to buy full price, and get something extra as a reward.

  • “Buy two, get one free”:

This is a classic sales technique that is easily deployed. Your customers choose two items and get a third item free. You need to look carefully at your profit margin on the first two items to ensure that the offer works, however used correctly, this can be a great way to encourage customers to increase their average purchase price.

  • Keep It Simple:

Too many offers can be confusing for you, your staff and your customers. Pick a couple of attention grabbing headlines and use these to encourage consumers to visit your store. Even if they don’t take the offer in the end, you have a chance for them to see all the other products you have available.

So how might these offers look in real life? We’ve put together a few simple ideas that you could use in your store. You can use these as they are, or you could use them as inspiration to then make more individualized offers:

The Upsell:

Target your Rescue Divers from the last two years and offer them a free gift if they register for a Divemaster course with you during Black Friday. They should be required to pay a deposit for the course over the weekend in order to secure the offer. You need to ensure that the price of the course includes enough profit to cover the cost of the gift.

Example promotion: Change your life and become a PADI Pro by completing your PADI Divemaster course with ABC Dive Center – BLACK FRIDAY OFFER! Register for your Divemaster course during Black Friday and receive a PADI towel valued at $35 completely free of charge!

The Buy Two Get One Free:

Target your Advanced Open Water Divers and offer them a free Oxygen Administration course when they register for their EFR and Rescue Diver course. O2 is an easy course to add on, with minimal extra time commitment, and a high perceived value.

Example promotion: Serious Fun! Become a PADI Rescue Diver today! BLACK FRIDAY OFFER! Register for your EFR and Rescue Diver course during Black Friday, and complete your PADI Emergency Oxygen Administrator Specialty free of charge!

The Customer reward / sense of urgency:

Target your Open Water Divers and offer them a reduced price on a Specialty course if they sign up within a certain time-frame:

Example promotion: Thank you from ABC Dive Center – BLACK FRIDAY OFFER! As a thanks to our loyal customers, we are offering a 10% discount on Dry Suit Specialties to everyone who has trained as an Open Water Diver with us in 2018. Limited spaces available – contact the store on Black Friday to book your training now!

Business advice is available to all PADI Dive Center owners – if you’d like ideas and support for promotions during Black Friday, contact your Regional Manager today!

Article written by Emma Hewitt

Successful Promotion of Group Dive Travel

Want some tips on how to plan, organize and market the best group trips for your divers? Here’s the first of eight tips to help. Keep an eye out for more here shortly:


Where do your customers want to go? Somewhere far-flung and exotic or closer to home? Are they into marine life or are they more interested in wreck diving?

Distant, exotic destinations may require higher budgets. So, you’ll want to determine if your divers are willing to pay a premium for an unforgettable experience. If not, you may have to consider a closer or more affordable destination.

Keep in mind that the seasons strongly influence dive conditions and marine life sightings, so a suitable destination in June may not be so suitable in September.

You should consider all these questions when choosing your destination to make sure the trip is a good fit and your divers are excited about it.

One of the best ways to determine what your divers are interested in, where they want to go and even how much they’re willing to spend is to ask them. Survey your diver database to make sure you’re putting trips on the calendar that cater to their needs and interests.


Not a PADI Travel™ Affiliate yet? You can learn about the benefits and how to grow your business leveraging travel or activate your Affiliate account now.

Help Your Divers Keep Their New Year’s Resolution to Dive More Often

Written by Megan Denny

On average, 80% of people abandon their new year’s resolution by mid-February. But your customers are above-average, right? Help divers achieve their goal to dive more in the new year with these four helpful tips.

Schedule Recurring Activities

Regularly-scheduled activities make it easy for divers to fit scuba into their busy schedules. Whether you have a Saturday morning fun dive, or a club meeting the last Wednesday of every month, make an activity schedule and stick to it.

  • At the end of every class, dive club meeting, etc. talk about upcoming events and encourage divers to take out their phones and add plans to their calendars.
  • Post your events and activities to Facebook or other social media sites.
  • Include a list of upcoming events in your eNewsletter.


Offer an Incentive

Each month, raffle off an enticing prize and invite customers to earn raffle entries by:

  • Attending dive club meetings
  • Getting airfills
  • Participating in Dive Against Debris® surveys
  • Bringing their gear in for service
  • Taking PADI® courses

Promote your giveaway online and in-store. Put a fishbowl next to your register with a small sign, “enter to win XYZ prize.” Each month, post a picture of the winner on social media and in your eNewsletter with a description of the current prize and how customers can win.

Important – your raffle must include an option for customers to enter the drawing without making a purchase or having an obligation. If a purchase or obligation is required to enter, that can be considered a lottery and is illegal in many areas.

Try a Disincentive

Encourage divers to show their commitment to diving more with a fun or philanthropic disincentive. Ask divers to choose a goal like logging 20 dives before 31 December, or earning their Master Scuba DiverTM rating. Then, help them choose a penalty for not meeting their goal.

Research has shown a disincentive can be more effective than an incentive to help people achieve their goals. The disincentive might be having to wash the dive center van, posting an embarrassing picture to social media, or something philanthropic like making a donation to Project AWARE®.

To keep things light, throw a year-end party for everyone who signed a commitment to dive more in the new year. Invite all participants whether they achieved their goal or not.

Use the Buddy System

Encourage dive buddies to set a team goal such as earning their PADI Rescue Diver certification. Create a #scubagoals social media post and ask your followers to share their goal and tag a buddy to help them achieve it. You can find a variety of images on the PADI Pros’ Site under Toolbox, Image/Video. Quickly and easily add your logo and custom text with Canva (a free online program)  See examples below:

Use the ideas above to help your customers feel a sense of accomplishment in the new year, while having fun and supporting their local dive shop. Have a great idea we didn’t mention? Post it to the PADI Pros North America Caribbean Facebook page.

How Scuba Diving Can Help Customers Beat Holiday Stress


Written by Megan Denny

For many people, the holidays are equal parts fun and stressful. In one survey, Harvard University reports 62 percent of respondents felt “very stressed” or “somewhat stressed” during the holidays; only 10 percent reported no stress. Financial demands, interpersonal family issues and maintaining an exercise regimen were the top three causes of holiday worries.

Diving is a great way for people to relax with friends and stay active any time of year, but here are a few ways your dive business can help customers have fun and feel less stressed during the holidays.

Make Your Dive Center a Refuge from Holiday Insanity

Crowds, family, politics, family talking about politics – there are countless reasons your customers need a break from the holiday grind. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

  • Schedule a weekend fun dive followed by a potluck or picnic.
  • Host a pool event – photos with scuba Santa or underwater tree decorating.
  • Throw a customer appreciation party with awards for most-improved diver, best photographer, fish-whisperer, etc.
  • An evening PADI Seal Team® event can offer parents a welcome break. While your staff conducts AquaMissions, the grownups can browse your store or just enjoy a night off.
  • Offer a PADI Seal Team day camp to take advantage of school holidays.


Invite Customers to Participate in a Good Cause

Some people find it hard to say “no” to holiday obligations, but might welcome the chance to excuse themselves to go have a little fun if it’s for a good cause. Why not turn your weekend fun dive into a food or toy drive? Or, at a customer appreciation party, host a raffle with proceeds benefiting Project AWARE or a local charity.

Help Divers with Their Holiday Shopping

Some customers may not think of their local dive center as a go-to destination for holiday shopping, but with the right mix of products and promotion, you can help divers complete a significant chunk of their holiday shopping. Stay top of mind by promoting your favorite gift ideas for men, women, kids and nondivers frequently on social media and in your eNewsletters.

Fun fact: Roughly half of holiday shoppers buy something for themselves. The New York Post reports “self-gifting” is at a 20-year high, and a 2015 study found Millennials are 40 percent more likely than Gen Xers or Boomers to self-gift.

Appeal to your customer’s desire to reward themselves:

  • Offer a voucher toward a future purchase (i.e. spend $500 US in 2017, get a $50 US gift card for 2018).
  • Use buy-one get-one deals (BOGO) such as “Buy an Open Water Diver or Advanced Open Water Diver course, get 50 percent off any specialty diver course.”
  • Invite them to book a relaxing dive holiday in 2018.


Help Lapsed Divers Prepare for Their Next Adventures

PADI ReActivate® enables divers to conveniently refresh their diving knowledge and skills. Promote ReActivate on your website, social media and/or use targeted Google Search ads to attract lapsed divers who may be nervous about an upcoming dive trip.

When Life Gives You Fruitcake – Use It as Ballast

The holidays are also the season of eating, so it’s no surprise one-third of people worldwide make a new year’s resolution to lose weight. Invite customers to burn holiday calories by going for a dive or starting a continuing education course. In cooler climates PADI Rescue Diver, Digital Underwater Photographer and Dry Suit Diver can all be started in the pool and completed when open water conditions allow. As a reminder, even Open Water Divers can join in on Rescue Diver pool sessions.

Preview JPEG

Scuba diving and hanging out with other divers is a great way to escape from the pressures of everyday life. Invite divers to add some weightlessness and underwater Zen into their holiday schedule at a shop-sponsored fun dive, pool event or get-together. They’ll feel more relaxed, and your business will benefit.

Capitalize on US Holiday Shopping Trends

Written by Megan Denny

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts retail sales will increase 3.6 to 4 percent for the 2017 holiday season. To capture these holiday dollars, you need to have a plan. Let’s look at holiday shopping trends and ways you can help shoppers set their sights on scuba gifts, starting now.

Did you know that more than 50 percent of shoppers have already started thinking about gifts for friends and family? An NRF survey of more than 2,000 consumers found more than half of shoppers begin researching their holiday purchases by October, but most don’t buy anything until mid-November (source NRF).


According to the NRF, 25 percent of holiday shoppers in 2016 used online wish lists, and 60 percent would like to use online wish lists in the future. Online wish lists allow consumers to type or copy/paste links to products they would like to receive as gifts. Gift givers can search for wish lists using their friend or family member’s email address. If your website is powered by Shopify, wish list plugins are available. Another option is free wish list creation sites, like Giftster, where you can create groups and invite customers to create a diving wish list.

The number of people who purchase holiday gifts online grows each year, especially for those younger than 45. But don’t write off this important demographic. A recent study found more Millennial and family life stage shoppers are planning to increase holiday spending this year compared to those in older age groups.

Half of US consumers visit retail stores to gather gift ideas. Strategic pricing and packaging items can help to prevent showrooming, when a shopper visits a store to check out a product then goes home to purchase it online. Bundling products makes it challenging to compare your prices with those of an online retailer.

Limited-time offers give shoppers a reason to buy now instead of going home and “thinking about it.” Consumer research backs this up: 39 percent of shoppers choose to buy in-store to take advantage of a special offer or promotion. Give shoppers a reason to think twice before walking out of your store.

Taking time to promote gift ideas and create packages can pay significant dividends.

Start by jotting down the top 10 items in your store that every diver should own. Choose products in a wide price range, from $5 to $500 US (the average American spends a total of $400 to $900 on holiday gifts). Take photos of the products being modeled by a smiling staff member, and include the list and photos in your November and December email newsletter. Post one idea along with a photo to your social media channels once per week leading up to the holidays.


In addition, create product bundles for a variety of budgets. Save-a-dive kits, dive travel kits and the PADI eLearning Gift Pass™ may appeal to nondivers who may be intimidated about purchasing scuba equipment.

Next, set up customer wish lists, either in-store or online. An in-store wish list could be as simple as a list on your store computer, or even a clipboard behind the counter with customer names and information. Digital options are described above. Promote that you have customer wish lists on social media, in your email newsletter and in-store.

Jumpstart Your Holiday Game Plan

Written by Megan Denny

According to a 2017 study published by Forbes, consumers plan to spend more on holiday gifts in 2017 than they did in 2016. If you don’t already have a plan to cash in on this holiday spending, here are a few proven techniques to encourage customers to give the gift of diving.


Inspire Customers

Use your email newsletter and social media channels to promote your top gift ideas for scuba divers (male and female), and don’t forget about scuba-related gift ideas for kids. When customers can knock out a large chunk of their holiday shopping at your dive center, everyone wins.

Bundle Items to Discourage Price Comparison

The number of people who purchase holiday gifts online grows year after year, but only a small percentage of consumers buy 100 percent of their gifts online. Strategic pricing and promotions can prevent showrooming and give you a bigger slice of the holiday shopping pie.

Bundling products together makes price comparison (and therefore showrooming) a challenge. When you bundle a mask/fin/snorkel set with a gear bag and free defog for 20 percent off MSRP, it will be very difficult to compare your price with an online retailer. Combining training with gear is another way to prevent comparison shopping, such as packaging a camera and digital underwater photo course.

DSAT Dive Day 2008

Highlight Local Expertise

If your dive staff wear a particular brand of BCD, wetsuit, dry suit or other gear, be sure visitors to your store know why. For example, a lightweight BCD may not have sufficient lift for someone who dives in cold water in a dry suit or thick wetsuit. Or, some dive computers may have a small display that’s hard to read underwater.

The average diver walking into your store may not think of these things. Post gear reviews or small signs with bullet points highlighting the features and benefits of your favorite products – these can act as a  “silent salesperson.” Be sure staff are trained to explain the consequences of going with the least expensive item when it does not meet the diver’s needs.

Include a Warm and Fuzzy Feeling with Every Purchase

One way to encourage divers to spend their holiday cash with you is to partner with a local charity. Offer to donate a portion of sales, host a canned food drive, or promote the charitable work you and your staff do year-round in the community. Ensure your charity partner cross-promotes your business in their email newsletters and on social media.

Another option is to give a little something to the gift giver. For example, if shoppers spend $250 US or more in one transaction, give them a $25 US gift card to use in 2018.

Offer a Flexible Return Policy

In 2016, 22 percent of shoppers backed out of a holiday purchase due to an inconvenient return policy (source NRF). Post signs explaining your return policy in prominent areas near the register, on a mirror or on the changing room door.


Invite Customers to Create an Online Wish List

Online wish lists allow consumers to type or copy/paste links to products they would like to receive as gifts. Gift givers can search for wish lists using their friend or family member’s email address.

There are several websites that allow customers to create and share wish lists. One option is Giftster, a free wish list creation site with a group function (designed for families) that could also work for dive shops. After creating a group, type in email addresses to invite people to create a wish list. If your website is powered by Shopify, wish list plugins are available.

Holiday Sales Bring in Big Returns

For many retailers, 20 percent of their annual income comes from holiday sales. Taking time to promote gift ideas and creating packages can pay significant dividends. The sooner you start, the greater the returns will be.

Holiday Planning — 12 Days of Scuba

Imagine the perfect dive shop holiday season. All your seasonal specials are moving like hot cakes. Sales are off the charts. You’re already thinking about hiring more staff. While there’s no harm in thinking positively, it takes a little forethought to turn dreams into reality. Here’s a little imaginative and festive exercise to see how neatly you can package PADI programs and products this holiday season to help get a head start.

DSD_days_poster7_18x24_Explore_Jen.epsOn the first day of diving, my dive shop gave to me…Discover Scuba® Diving in a nice warm sea
One consistently successful seasonal tactic is to simply reach out to your existing divers with a promotion on a Discover Scuba Diving experience they can buy for a friend. Cool looking vouchers in a festive card are a great way to help those divers who always leave shopping until the last minute.

Two Open Water eLearning
A similar approach works well with the PADI Open Water Diver course, especially now that the gift can be used straightaway with PADI Open Water Diver eLearning. It’s essentially a matter of seasonal packaging and promotion.

Three revised Advanced Open Water Diver courses
Clearly this is the perfect gift for all those new open water divers. Reach out to their friends and relatives: Address an envelope – sorry, email won’t work for this one – to all your open water divers’ home addresses with, “To be opened by anyone at this address except customer name.” The new Advanced Open Water Diver course digital product will have the iPad screens popping under the tree.


Four Rescue Divers
Rescue Diver is a perfect course to run when oceans conditions aren’t so hot during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Schedule a seasonal polar bear Rescue Diver course to help all those divers who overindulge on Christmas Day. They have the time off work and they’ll be delighted with a great excuse to avoid another annual visit to their distant second cousins twice removed.

Five Ice Specialties
Are you lucky enough to be snowed in this holiday season? Have a handy lake frozen solid nearby? If you’re not running an Ice Diver Specialty course, you and your customers are missing out on the world’s best excuse for a post dive hot toddy with a cinnamon stick or hot chocolate with marshmallows. If you submit the PIC before the end of the year, you’ll also increase your odds of being the one to issue the 25 millionth PADI certification.


Six Full Face Mask Divers
You know when people come in to buy a gift for one of your better customers? They want something really special for their friend who loves diving. Problem is their friends are manic dive enthusiasts and, as far as you know, have two of everything. Now you have a solution: A Full Face Mask Specialty course with a shiny new full face mask wrapped up for under the tree! Perfect.

You get the idea. Appropriately packaged continuing education makes a great gift, and eLearning or Touch products make sure it’s the gift that starts giving straight away. Finally, what about a gift for yourself? How about a PADI Elite Instructor Award? Make sure the opportunity doesn’t pass you by.

Start wrapping now…

5 Reasons to Start Your Holiday Promotions Now

Article by Megan Denny

According to the National Retail Federation, the average shopper will spend $935.58 on holiday gifts this year. Read on for our 2016 holiday marketing game plan for dive retailers.

Start NOW
To ensure you capture the maximum amount of holiday dollars – don’t wait to start your holiday promotions.

Step One: Put On Your Santa Hat*
*Or applicable holiday apparel

Look around your store and identify what would make a great gift:

  • For someone with a $20 budget, $50 budget, $100 budget, etc.
  • For divers who have kids.
  • For a new diver, experienced diver, traveller, etc.
  • For someone who doesn’t know a thing about diving.

Write down all your ideas. Then, consider what items could be bundled together and how you might create a unique package. For example:

A tropical travel package might include items you already carry: a mesh bag, spring straps, defog, gear marking pen, but why not some reef safe sunscreen or a rash guard? Or a portable luggage scale? A specially-priced bundle of items is both convenient and nearly impossible to comparison shop.


Step Two: Make Their List and Check It Twice
A dive shop won’t be top-of-mind for the average holiday shopper. They will, however, be looking online for ideas.

Last year, PADI’s blog received nearly 7,000 visits from divers Googling scuba diver gift ideas. Thousands more page views came from social media followers who clicked on our holiday gift idea post and forwarded it to their friends.


Promote your great gift ideas online early and often. Shoppers want to give the perfect gift… but they don’t want to work too hard to find it. Moreover, studies have shown: people who shop both in person and online spend 66% more than those who only go to stores.

Inspire customers to buy from you.

  • Post the gift idea list you made in step one as a page on your website or blog.
  • Promote one item or bundle each day on social media.
  • Include the gift idea list in your email newsletter.
  • Use the list to create a flyer for your store.

If you don’t have time to create a comprehensive gift idea list, ask your staff for their favorite items in the shop and share that “Staff Favorites” list with customers (hey, maybe they’ll get something). You could also create a list of “best selling items for 2016.”

Whatever list you make, it’s critical to create a “Best Scuba Diver Gift Ideas” page on your website or blog to take advantage of online shopping searches. Include an eLearning link on your page to profit from holiday shoppers who are ready to buy now.

Step Three: Offer An “Amazing” Deal

What looks like a grand bargain to shoppers doesn’t have to kill your profit margins. Consider what value-added services you could bundle with a camera purchase or equipment package.

Include a one-hour pool session, equipment specialist course, airfill card, etc with purchase. Then add the value to the “regular” price of the package. Lastly, price the package to preserve your profit margins, using the value-added service as padding.

For example, an $1800 equipment package plus an Equipment Specialist course might retail for $1900. Since your cost to conduct this class should be fairly low, you might offer the whole package for $1800 – a $100 savings!!! The customer receives valuable information about their gear, and you get them back in the store after the holidays.

No matter the offer, it’s important to create special holiday deals. According to the National Retail Federation:

  • 73% of shoppers say they will choose a retailer based on sales or special offers.
  • 58% of consumers plan to take advantage of holiday discounts for non-holiday purchases – spending an average of $140 per person.

Step Four: Promote Your Deal Via Email… Really.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your inbox, someone starts another 12 days of Christmas email series, amiright? Alas, research indicates email is the #1 way to target holiday shoppers, even millennials.


Subject Lines Matter
Your email will be duking it out with hundreds of others in the user’s inbox. Make it count, get crazy if you have to, for example: WE’RE GIVING AWAY A PONY…who wouldn’t click on that?

Even if the pony giveaway is actually a drawing for a pony bottle, you got the user to open your email. Mission accomplished. Here are some additional Tips for Holiday Marketing Emails from MailChimp.

Include Buy Now options
Always include an option and incentive for readers to buy now. You can’t know what “amazing” deal is up next in the customer’s inbox.

If you don’t have online checkout on your website, there’s always eLearning. Customers can buy an eLearning gift pass from you for any PADI online course including Open Water, ReActivate and Scuba Tune-Up.


Make A Holiday eCard
All you need to make a great holiday eCard is a handful of photos. Grab some from your 2016 Facebook albums, and use a popular tool like JibJab or Elf Yourself.

Not into goofy cards? Invite customers to submit their best topside and underwater images from 2016. Put together a slideshow using Animoto, it’s free, easy, and the result is remarkably professional. Your customers will look forward to receiving your eCard to find out if their images made the cut.

You can also use Animoto to create a custom holiday greeting. A local car dealership made a fun, shareable video with just a few images shot on a mobile device.

A holiday eCard will stand out from the typical holiday promotional emails, but it’s still a marketing piece. Create something your customers will want to share, and you’ve got instant word of mouth advertising!

STEP FIVE: Make Shopping an Event
Give shoppers a reason to visit your store by creating a memorable shopping experience:

  • If you have a pool, offer an Underwater Santa holiday card photo opp. or run a Bubblemaker session to keep kids occupied while parents go shopping.
  • Host an after-hours night with special deals for your best customers. For the average retailer:  5% of customers account for 35% of sales.
  • Choose a day where a portion of sales will be donated to Project AWARE or other non-profit.

Use in-store signage
If things get busy and a customer is left to browse on their own, they will appreciate you’ve put the defog next to the masks with a sign that says “don’t forget the defog!”

Simple signs like, “customer favorite” or “staff pick” can help guide customer decisions. There’s no doubt they’re looking for help: a 2016 Google study found: 71% of shoppers who use smartphones for research while in-store say that it’s become an important part of their experience.

Customer and staff appreciation night
Sometimes a great way to sell things is by not overtly selling things. Invite your best customers and staff to an evening event with drinks and snacks. A raffle, awards, and an evening of talking story strengthens the bonds between your business and the people who make it what it is. Browse PADI Gear for staff recognition and customer appreciation gift ideas.


If you’ve already implemented all the ideas above. Kudos! Here are a few more ideas from the field that might not work for everyone, but are worth considering.

Offer delivery – some people have more money than time. Others want to avoid having boxes delivered to their home. Consider offering free delivery for purchases over a certain amount, or within a certain distance from the store.

Layaway – for customers wanting to get a little something for themselves, layway can be a good option. Do your research before implementing this program.

Promotional credit – offer customers credit based on how much they buy. For example: spend $1000 or more, get 10% credit towards a purchase in 2017.

5 Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Shopping Season

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

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.