Ocean Alexander and the importance of the digital world.
While the world battled through a pandemic and international travel was at a standstill, boating became the most desired escape from confinement. Yacht dealers and buyers took to the web, the former to show what inventory they had and the latter to research their ticket to freedom.
Ocean Alexander, a leading Taiwanese manufacturer, imported by Alexander Marine International, made its debut of a 32-meter Legend Motoryacht (32L) at the 2020 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show—one of the first in the world to hold an in-person event. The 105’ yacht, with many upgrades from the company’s 2014, 100’ motoryacht model, met great acclaim but awaited a new owner.
Worth Avenue Yachts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, introduced a Canadian client who previously owned a 65’ Marquis, to a broker at MarineMax in Naples, Florida as an Ocean Alexander 85 Motoryacht was under consideration. A pre-owned Ocean Alexander 100’ also came under review, but when the features of the new OA 32L were revealed, the buyer was smitten by the five-stateroom yacht with an on-deck master and modern amenities.
An impressive video walkthrough on YouTube showed clearly the massive aft deck, bow sun pad and upper deck, as well as the open salon and dining area, with floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding port and starboard glass doors, overhead lighting and rich wood and textured furnishings. Virtually walking through the huge, well-equipped galley, luxurious master stateroom and four en suite staterooms below deck—not to mention the spacious sky lounge–the buyers were intrigued and wanted to see more.
Numerous Facetime calls literally walked the buyers through each section of the yacht and after many hours of the newest version of online shopping, a series of inspections, surveys and sea trials were arranged with diesel and engine alignment specialists and a corrosion analyst, who all evaluated the 32L with flying colors.
Since the Canadians could not travel to Florida to take possession, the yacht was loaded at Ocean Alexander’s Fort Lauderdale service center, East Coast Yacht Group, and shipped to Seattle Pacific Coast Yacht Services, its Seattle service center, where the new owners can arrange to finally take delivery. It will be the first time they will see their new boat in person, though they know its every nuance through the virtual tours.
“This would not have happened two years ago,” says Sally Doleski, VP of Marketing, “Ocean Alexander has built its brand on trust, acting in the best interest of our clients for over 40 years.
We may not be the fastest or the flashiest, but we are known for building luxurious yachts that handle well at sea in various conditions.
Our customer technical support team goes above and beyond for our clients, ensuring a happy delivery and post-sale experience, and that came through clearly through our digital connections.”
“Trust is crucial and vital to a company’s success, Doleski states, “No one would expect a buyer to wire funds and close a transaction with a company they didn’t know at all. For these virtual sales to happen, the buyer has to have trust in the product they’re buying and trust in the manufacturer to follow through with any post-sale concerns. Without that trust, you can’t expect a buyer to make that level of investment in these yachts.”
Doleski also explained that Ocean Alexander had increased its digital marketing and social media outreach, even before the pandemic, contracting a new agency and virtual reality photographer who uses top technology to create 360-degree walkthroughs that can become 3-D. “The 3-D walkthroughs have become so popular as they show real views and spacial relationships, unlike still photography,” she notes, “We also increased our print advertising and branding as we found that subscriptions showed a jump as people who tired of sitting in front of a computer all day liked to read, not just scroll.”
Doleski notes that nearly 100% of new clients start their research digitally. As they narrow the list of yachts that meets their needs and requirements, they will then take the time to make appointments to see the boat–either in person or via digital methods like video chat.
And while boat shows around the world have been temporarily cancelled or postponed, Doleski believes that the advancements in technology have certainly helped yacht and boat sales. While there has been a “decent” response from virtual boat show presentations, she feels that ultimately, touring a yacht in person is more impactful. Though the OA 32L sold and closed via a completely visual method, the buyers were familiar with the brand and had been aboard other models. “I think it would be more difficult to engage a client only digitally when they are completely unfamiliar with your brand from the onset,” she states.
Ocean Alexander is known for is livable designs, 3-D modeling, lightweight, yet strong, aluminum structural beams and unidirectional carbon fiber. The yacht builder is also recognized as quiet, with special sound proofing, gleaming stainless steel engine rooms and stylish design features like its oval deck rails. The second generation, family-owned builder produces models ranging from 84-120’ and provides technical support as well as service on the east and west coasts of the U.S.