MarineMax debuts shopping mall ‘Experience’


Christopher Gerber (
August 21, 2012
Filed under Features, Top Stories

As part of its comprehensive plan to reach customers off site, MarineMax has opened an interactive location at an upscale mall in Tampa Bay, Fla., to introduce shoppers to boating, David Witty, vice president of event marketing and retail merchandising, told Boating Industry.

Witty said Wednesday was the temporary showroom’s soft opening, with the grand opening scheduled for Sept. 7. Tampa’s International Plaza is the first mall showroom location that will feature the dealer’s MarineMax Experience theater, which will play compelling boating stories highlighting different segments.

Brand ambassadors initially greet visitors to find out their segment of choice, Witty said. Their interests dictate the video played in the theater.

“If they are a family and clearly interested in getting behind the boat on a tube, we can change the order and make sure it is in their interest,” he said.

Fishing guides and other boating professionals will use the theater to give demonstrations as well. If the experience piques the interest of the attendees, Witty said his sales staff also invites people to the various courses offered at its dealership locations, like its Women on the Water course, for example.

The showroom also features a picture zone where visitors can take virtual photos that put them behind a boat engaging in water sports.

Overall, the purpose of the mall location is to reach people who are not already boaters and would not attend a boat show.

“The people coming to boat shows are already down that path, or are currently owners,” Witty said. “But there are so many other things you can do to get you out there to the considerers.”

MarineMax is also displaying three boats at the mall that touch different segments — ski/wakeboard, fishing and sport boat. Salespeople will be present for those customers closer to buying, according to Witty.

As the video library for its MarineMax Experience expands, Witty said it will be featured at more off-site events, including boat shows. The marine dealer also plans to expand its interactive showroom to more shopping malls around the country.

Its showroom at the International Plaza will run for six months.


One Response to “MarineMax debuts shopping mall ‘Experience’”

  1. Bayareaboater on August 21st, 2012 2:40 pm

    This is nothing new. Dealers from Northern California have tried satellite locations in shopping malls since the late 80's. They also had local fishing guides and area "experts" conducting seminars as well. They were about as successful as the Costco parking lot and county fair booths were. How much did they pay Witty to come up with this "comprehensive plan to reach customers off-site" idea???


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