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Creating a Disney Effect

Furniture World Magazine

Volume 147 NO.1 March/April



The thing I love, love, love about Disney is just how skillful and intentional Disney is at extracting maximum revenues from their guests.


Anybody who considers themselves a life-long student of marketing has to experience Disney first-hand in order to see everything they do to help you part with your money while (usually) smiling. Disney is bold (and relentless) when it comes to pricing and asking for the sale and therein lies the gold for you. Here are a few ideas I’ve noted over the years while at the parks and are instructive to all mattress & furniture retailers who want to create an exceptional experience for their prospects and customers.

Make It About the Experience - Not Price

Does anybody do it better than Disney? Doubtful. Disney wraps everything they do with a “unique experience” and it’s a fundamental part of the Disney magic. It’s how they charge almost $40.00 for a simple breakfast buffet that includes random Disney character visits during your meal. By making it a memorable experience for the kids, the parents open up their wallets.

Action item: How can you improve your customer or prospect mattress & furniture buying experience and make it so unique and memorable that price becomes a secondary (or even non-existent) concern?

Make It Fun to Do Business

Even the grumpiest tight-wad will manage a smile at Disney. A huge part of the Disney experience is about the fun memories they create for families and generation after generation of visitors attest it is indeed “The Happiest Place On Earth.”

Action item: Is there something special you can do for prospects and customers to make them happy? What can you do to turn the emotions of buying a mattress or piece of furniture from “Ugh, I just need to get this done.” into “I can’t wait to get it home, I’ve been wanting this forever and now I have it!” Remember, it doesn’t have to be something expensive or complex and often times the simpler the better!


Create Captive Audiences

Disney has done a tremendous job at keeping guests in the Disney bubble during their entire visit. For example, we stayed at a Disney resort, took Disney buses and monorails, ate at Disney restaurants, shopped at Disney stores, and during this time, we were exposed to many marketing messages and opportunities to buy.

Action item: Can you do something similar in your store so when customers enter your world, you’ve captured their attention and focus and maintain that focus on your brand and not your vendor's brand? Remember they can shop a name brand everywhere, it’s far harder to shop the experience they can have with you.

Offer Many More Ways to Spend Money

A Disney sales experience starts when you book your trip and does not end until you return home. In between, you’re presented with many different opportunities to spend money. Disney is not timid when it comes to frequency and pricing. It’s truly a spectacle to behold, but because they do such a great job at creating a special experience, nobody seems to notice.

Action item: Neglecting to give customers more ways to buy throughout the furniture and mattress buying experience is one of the most overlooked opportunities for retailers and one where most leave money on the table. Take time to look at your sales opportunities and see if you can create new ones with the products and services you currently have. Are you capitalizing on every single moment your leads, prospects and customers can have with you and are you the one in control of that conversation at all times?

Offer Upsells

Once you’ve decided to buy something at Disney, they often don’t stop there and instead offer you some type of upsell to enhance your purchase. One example of this is when we booked a dinner at a Disney restaurant in Hollywood Studios and for a few dollars more, they offered us a VIP ticket to the Fantasmic show. Mind you, the show is free to all guests, yet by offering “VIP seating” at the show, they are extracting additional money for those who want choice seating.

Action item: Many of the retailers I consult with can be lazy, timid or ignorant of the incremental power and profitability of upsells. Moving away from price and product focused promotion to an information first marketing focus and exceptional in store experience will create price elasticity and allow you to better present full package solutions and increase your sales tickets.

Have Upscale Opportunities

All smart marketers know that somewhere between 5 – 20% of a buying audience will always take the higher price/upscale offer. If you’re not offering some type of upscale product or service opportunity in your marketing mix, you’re leaving money on the table. Disney has budget-minded resorts and luxury resorts. They have fast-food style restaurants and high-end gourmet eateries. One of their most unique upscale offers is their VIP Tours, which offers you a guide and special benefits (like short-cutting the lines) during your visit. At up to $380/hour (with a six-hour minimum), there is no better example of this type of exclusive offer.

Action item: This one is easy and mandatory. Smart consumers today are informed and aware of product offerings and their benefits. What other products and customer opportunities can you tap into that will allow your customers to experience and purchase these products from you?

Be Mindful of Needs

Orlando is typically a sunny warm place, but when it rains, it rains. Imagine spending thousands of dollars on a Disney vacation and then it rains while you’re visiting the parks. Literally within seconds of the clouds opening up, Disney vendors and stores offer previously hidden rain ponchos to keep guests dry. Not for free – by any stretch – and I have it from a good source these are one of the most profitable items Disney sells.

Action item: Are you paying attention to what your customers want and need on a regular basis? Have you surveyed them recently? Are asking enough questions when the prospect is in front of you or are you more focused on telling your story?


Create Special Offers for Certain Segments

I only saw one example of this from Disney, but I am sure there are many others I missed. Disney is smart and makes a special offer to Florida residents to save a substantial amount of money by offering a specially-priced three day ticket to Disney. I am sure they have other specials that are only offered to certain segments of their database. This is an important strategy all business owners should consider in their marketing and sales efforts.

Action item: What unique offers can you make to certain segments of your prospect and customer list? This is a big one, I see far too many pieces of marketing with one offer and one focus – buy a mattress or furniture set at a discounted price. Few if any are marketing offers to customers that are in different phases of the purchasing cycle. Leads need to be sold on getting more from you. Prospects need to be sold on why it’s time to buy from you, now. Customers need to be sold on why their choice was a good one and why they should review your store and refer their friends and family to you.

Being intentional with your marketing and sales efforts is just plain smart and is worthy of your time and thoughtful consideration. I hope I’ve gotten you to pause for a few minutes and consider your own business.

Jeff Giagnocavo and Ben McClure co-own Gardner’s Mattress & More in Lancaster, PA a multi unit destination boutique mattress store. They also co authored the book “Mega Mattress Margins” and “Retail is Dead” as well as created the industry’s only turn key, done for you, sales and marketing machine called Automated Mattress Profits that creates captures and converts prospects into paying customers. Questions on any aspect of bedding promotion can be directed to Jeff and Ben care of JeffG@furninfo.com. To get more information on their “Automated Mattress Profits CRM system visit http://www.AutomatedMattressProfits.com.
Read other articles by Jeff Giagnocavo