Skip to main content

MarineMax’s Online Boat Sale: The remedy for ‘slow traffic’?

1. Lead-MarineMax

The MarineMax Online Boat Sale, which runs August 8-10, will most likely become a fixed event for the mega-retailer. Chuck Cashman, executive vice president at MarineMax, said the company’s previous online sales of used boats and yachts have performed well.

“Now, we’re seeing double the numbers in pre-registration from where we were last time,” Cashman told Trade Only Today. “We think it’s going to be pretty successful and we have the inventory to do it. I see this as a regular feature going forward.”

MarineMax CEO Brett McGill said on last week’s earnings call that the retailer had noticed “slower traffic” in its stores. “That is what pushed us to initiate the marketing initiatives and additional driving of the business, which obviously is more and more online marketing,” he said. “Yes, traffic was slower, which is why we were innovative with some things like our online boat sale and boat show.”

The national boat show concept first started with Genmar Holdings’ “Great American Boat Show” in 2003, when the company beefed up annual sales by holding factory-supported, national dealer events that included an online component.

MarineMax, however, is the only dealer that has held the online events. “You have to have a lot of inventory to do it,” says Cashman. “We’ll be offering hundreds of new and used boats in this one. We have a competitive advantage that most dealers can’t really match. How many could put 500 used boats out there?”

The sale will also include an auction of a late-model Sea Ray and Boston Whaler. MarineMax will only offer new boats from some brands, depending on specific dealer agreements with the builders. “We can’t sell new Sea Rays, for instance, because we’re not the national dealer for them,” he says. “The used boats won’t have warranties attached and aren’t restricted by dealer agreements.”

The sale is being held in August, says Cashman, because showroom traffic slows in late summer. “The whole point of this is to drive engagement for the customer and sell boats through online means,” he says. “Customers can literally look and buy in the comfort of their own homes. We think this will be a continuing trend.”

The last online sale of boats in March eventually led to 115 sales. “I’m not saying they were all new boats but they drove engagement to our dealerships,” said Cashman.

More than 5,000 people registered for the March event. Cashman says he expects that number to double for the August event.

“It’s a good time of year for an event like this,” he says. “Why not do it when we’re at a slower period for foot traffic? 



Contender Boats Announces New Factory

The fishboat builder said the 100,000-square-foot facility in Fort Pierce, Fla., will concentrate on its smaller models.


Soundings Trade Only Announces IBEX Presessions

The Sept. 26 events in Tampa, Fla., include a Women in the Industry Summit, a leadership panel and the Most Innovative Marine Company Awards.


U.S. Adds 528,000 Jobs in July

The Department of Labor said the manufacturing and leisure-and-hospitality segments contributed to the gains.


OneWater Reports Higher Profit, Raises Guidance

The company said revenue, net income, same-store sales and profit margin all improved in its fiscal third quarter.


Mass. Approves Marine Workforce Funding

The Massachusetts Marine Trades Association said the state budget includes $150,000 for training and technical education.


Sterling Acceptance Marks 35 Years

Founded in 1987, the oldest privately owned marine loan origination company is expanding in the Great Lakes and in RV financing.


OCEARCH Names Official Outboard Brand

Yamaha will supply the ocean conservation and research organization with F300, F150 and F60 engines.