Online retailers selling lower priced mattress expect to take market share away from you in 2016. So, what are you going to do about it?
Just how hybrid is your store? And no, I’m not asking just how many hybrid mattresses you have on your floor. I’m asking how well have you embraced the new economy, the new ways to connect with customers, and new ways to sell mattresses in today’s economy.
We talk an awful lot about hybrids, the mattresses, yet the ways that we sell, promote and ultimately deliver our products is akin to an old black and gold floral print, two side, 364 coil count, 12 ¾ gauge mattress!
In other words our wares don’t meet up with our words.
As an industry, we still promote on price and product. All the while our consumers are buying based on experience. In fact, an entire generation, the Millennials, have forgone the security of a home, car and 401k just so they can have experiences. Does your store measure up to what they and others are looking for?
The words Omni Channel have become the desired “sugar, spice and everything nice” of all department, big box and a large portion of the top 100 furniture stores.
Omni Channel is defined as a multi-channel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a brick and mortar store.
Omni Channel Marketing
How Omni Channel are you and can you even afford to be? Likely not.
But you can re-invent your store to be a Hybrid Mattress Store. A hybrid mattress store is a mix of the old with a mix of the new.
Let’s remember and be proud of who we are as brick and mortar retailers that sell mattresses. First, our product can positively impact the health and well being of the average person’s life, not even the iPhone does that! And, as brick and mortar retailers we have a number of advantages that online-only retailers can’t match including:
Our products can and should be tried out at length in our stores with no hassle or pressure. I suggest that you experiment doing what we do in our stores - check it out at www.GardnersMattressAndMore.com/DreamRoom.
Our service after the sale is typically above and beyond that which is contracted out by an online retailer and we almost always can find the solution to the in home problem that presents itself at the eleventh hour.
We are members of our community. Our businesses support other local businesses and they support us. The money spent in our stores comes back three fold to our communities.
We should and typically do have a better process to fit our mattress solutions to each customer’s needs. If you don’t or feel your process needs improvement, check out a training offer for free on the Infotail YouTube channel. Simply search “Infotail” in the YouTube search bar and look for the video titled “The First Visit System.”
Online Retailers’ Challenge To The Mattress Industry
Now let’s consider why those other channels, namely the online ones, are shaking the mattress industry to it’s core.
These companies are telling a tremendous story that resonates with the customer and sells a product. It is my opinion that their product is inferior, but this seemingly doesn’t matter at all to the end user.
They generally tell a story that accuses brick and mortar mattress retailers of:
- Being evil profiteers who mark things up exorbitantly.
- Deliberately setting up the customer to be deceived by private labeling everything.
- Using confusing names, terms, and words to talk about 4 common ingredients – springs, foam, fiber and fabric.
- Getting customers to lie down for 5 minutes and expecting them to fork over their hard earned money.
- Selling mattresses in excess of $2000, and that just shouldn’t be!
- At the end of the day this is all just very, very good marketing. So good that it trumps your typical price, product, promotion “insert next sale event mast head here” flyer and advertisement.
How do you combat this? How do you rise above and become a Hybrid Mattress Store? I already touched on a few things but here is a model that has given my stores success and transformed our store into the modern age Hybrid Mattress Store.
How To Combat Their Challenge
1. Commit to education. Educate your customer about how to buy and invest in your products. Isn’t that what the online guys are doing? I know you can update your home screen to scream SALE, SALE, SALE. Why not update it with useful information that helps your customer navigate their eventual buying decision with you?
2. Win based on being a consumer advocate. Curate your knowledge into something useful and tangible and that can be offered in exchange for their information. Know that this is nothing new, see the ad I’ve included on page 32 from the early 1900’s about giving educational advice before a purchase is made.
3. Commit to transparent products and pricing. Think Tempur-Pedic. Same mattress, same price whether it’s bought in Lancaster, PA or Lancaster, CA. Want another example? Think of the iPhone. Same memory, same phone whether it’s bought in a Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Apple Store. Want more like this, have you heard of Rolex, Tesla and David Yurman jewelry?
4. Win based on your expertise to best match the product to the customer. Commit to a better sales process. Win based on the your expertise to best understand your customers needs and wants.
5. Commit to better service after the sale. Don’t be afraid to ask your customer how they are sleeping, if they are happy with your store, and if they are enjoying their new mattress. The most damning statement we can make of ourselves in the mattress industry is this, “I can’t ask them that, they might not like it or have a problem and that’s a can of worms I don’t want to open!”
Well guess what? Your customers are opening that can of worms if they are disappointed and telling no less than 6-10 people. Like it or not, it’s happening.
6. Win by having a proactive satisfaction survey. Happy customers should be asked to publicly review and give a testimonial. Negative customers should be handled proactively. Find a resolution to their issue or issues regardless of how much it costs you. In the end, neglecting customer service issues will cost you more anyway.
7. Commit to having a system for reviews and referrals. Offer rewards and contests for those who refer to you. Be more proactive about this than, “Hey like us on Facebook!” For crying out loud if you’re going to do that at least put a card in their hand with your crypto alphanumeric Facebook address on it!
8. Win based on your search results. Take a moment to Google yourself and your competition. You will find it takes only 6-10 positive 5-star reviews to help you to rise to the top. And once you start asking for and getting good reviews, find even more ways to ask for more reviews. So there you have it!
My challenge to you as 2015 wraps up is to implement some or all of these practices to become a competition crushing Hybrid Mattress Store in 2016.
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