As new boat sales cool across the nation in the wake of the pandemic boom, dealers are again looking for innovative ways to differentiate themselves and to boost and diversify revenue. Offering unique, custom-quality upgrades at the time of purchase ticks all those boxes, providing dealers a valuable upsell opportunity and an easy way to make their boats stand out from the competition.

In some cases, a ready solution to a customer objection can even be the deciding factor in a sale. John Palmer, Owner/Operator of Orlando Boat Sales - an award-winning Avalon dealership - saw this as a way to capitalize on the current market to get more out of every interaction.


An Easy Upsell

When customers at his Central Florida pontoon dealership question the utility of the factory-installed collapsible changing room on a boat they’re considering, John Palmer is right there with them.

“These things are useful for some people,” he says, “but they’re going away. Most people aren’t going to change clothes or use the bathroom behind a curtain in the front of the boat.”

innovative pontoon storage solution built into the back of the front backrest of the pontoon

Fortunately, Palmer has a great alternative to offer: a Boat Outfitters storage unit that directly replaces the changing room on the Avalon pontoons he sells, fitting into the exact same cutout on the back of the forward lounger and installing with 12 screws.

Customers Want Options

In fact, Palmer offers customers not just one storage unit but a choice of several designs. A general-purpose storage unit with two deep drawers and a small locking cabinet is the most popular, but several other units are also available, including an innovative folding table, a fishing tackle cabinet, a tilt-out wastebasket and even a wine cabinet that holds bottles and stemware. A purpose-built dog bowl insert that fits into the bottom drawer is a popular add-on.

To support sales of storage units, Palmer keeps a boat equipped with one in his showroom. The value of the unit, relative to the changing room, is self-evident for many customers.

When a customer elects to make the switch, it takes one of Palmer’s technicians just half an hour of labor to install the storage unit. Thanks to careful engineering and top-quality materials and workmanship, though, the result looks like high-end custom work.

Drop-in, No Hassle Installations 

In addition to Avalon Pontoon Boats, Boat Outfitters currently offers drop-in storage units to directly replace lounge-back changing rooms on Crest, Bennington, JC TriToon, Harris, Barletta, Vanderbilt, Lowe, Manitou, Veranda, Coach, Xcursion and Smoker Craft pontoon boats.

Boat Outfitters' storage unit directly replaces the changing room on the Avalon pontoons and installs with 12 screws.

production drawing of custom drawer unit for Avalon-Tahoe Pontoon

Solutions for additional brands are in development, and custom-size units can be designed to fit virtually any cutout. 

Beyond Pontoons

This strategy isn’t just for pontoons, either. For example, another well-known dealership worked with Boat Outfitters to custom-design a standalone tackle cabinet that fits under the leaning posts of their Blackjack bay boats, replacing the standard slide-out cooler.

Again, installation is fast and easy yet perceived value is high, and the cabinets are a popular — and profitable — upgrade with both new boat buyers and current owners bringing their boats to the dealership for service.

The possibilities for unique, easy-to-install point-of-purchase upgrades are numerous.

Boat Outfitters’ unique engineering and manufacturing capabilities mean parts can even be customized for individual buyers and delivered generally within 10-15 business days.

Related Products