MarineMax is increasing its presence in virtual boat shows after three successful online events, CEO Brett McGill said during a conference call with investors to discuss fourth-quarter and fiscal 2019 results.
The announcement came in conjunction with the company saying it closed eight “mostly smaller locations” after analyses of each storefront, McGill said.
“We determined that we can effectively optimize our store base by eliminating overlapping locations in the same market where a larger flagship store can meet customers’ needs without affecting revenue or cash flow,” McGill said. “We will also save operating and personnel costs while preserving our presence in the market.
“Our success in the market after this reduction in physical location is partly enabled through our digital strategy,” he added. “With today's technology and consumers’ behavior online, having multiple overlapping locations in one market is much less critical.”
In December 2018, MarineMax launched an online “Virtual Yacht Expo” to display select yachts in inventory. The event was successful enough to refine and launch again last March, MarineMax said in a statement. That event, dubbed the “World’s Largest Online Boat Sale,” included MarineMax’s complete inventory.
More than 3,000 people participated, and MarineMax attributed millions of dollars in sales to the online attendees. Results from a third online event in August were even better, and MarineMax is hosting a fourth online sale starting today in conjunction with the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
“Our leading digital capabilities have advanced our ability to sell in new ways, including targeted sales events and online boat shows,” McGill said in the statement. “Results have exceeded our expectations, and our digital business will remain a strategic growth focus. As we look forward, our store optimization plan should help us as we work to better align expenses with current industry conditions while leveraging our digital business abilities to further extend our customer experiences.”