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Finger Furniture Finds Romance Is the Key to Better Bedding Sales

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Finger Furniture Finds Romance Is the Key to Better Bedding Sales Working with retail design consultant Connie Post, the Sugar Land, Texas retailer creates a dreamlike comfort zone to deliver the ideal customer experience. The bedroom is the most intimate room of the home. Yet in bedding store after bedding store, we see row upon row of bare mattresses laid out under fluorescent lights like so many corpses in a morgue. Working with Texas-based retailer Finger Furniture, retail design consultant Connie Post turned her thoughts to how female shoppers feel about their bedrooms and came up with a better idea: to drive bedding sales, give customers an opportunity to experience the products in a romantic sanctuary. “When you consider how the bedroom fits into your customer’s life, you realize that a mattress is an intimate product and should be sold like one,” says Post. “Looking at a product category that appears unrelated but has a similar fit with the female consumer’s emotions – intimate apparel – we see how two different merchandising methods yield very different results. Go to WalMart and you’ll find racks and racks of lingerie sitting out in the middle of the floor, totally dependent on the customer’s imagination to give them any glamour they may acquire. As a result, WalMart sells a lot of cheap underwear. It’s not a failed strategy; but to make it work, you have to go head to head with WalMart and make lower prices your key point of differentiation. “If you want to compete on something other than price, take a look at intimate apparel retailer Victoria’s Secret. Here you’ll find soft lighting; displays that just ooze intimacy and femininity; and a little privacy in which the customer can indulge her fantasies as she shops. You’ll also find that the prices are much, much higher.” This was the insight behind Post’s original design for the bedding department at Finger Furniture in Sugar Land, Texas. The idea was so successful that when it came time to refresh the space, Fingers brought Post back in to take it to the next level. “Bedding is a significant part of our business,” says Jim Sperrazza, executive vice president of marketing and merchandising at Fingers. “In a merchandising space that comprises about five percent of our total square footage, it generates close to 20% of our total revenue. As Connie Post created the design for our bedding department when we opened the store about eight years ago, and we believe that design is a major contributor to its success, it was only natural to call on her company for the redesign. “The idea is to create a comfort zone, a space that’s private but not too private. This allows the customer to take her time and experience the product. You can talk about coil counts and construction features all day, but when the customer lies down on the mattresses, she can feel the differences between the low, mid and high priced products, and she’s much more open to the salesperson’s explanations of those differences. The knowledge she gains from that experience makes her much more likely to move up a price point.” “In addition to providing an environment in which your customer feels comfortable experiencing the product,” say Post, “you have to engage her emotions. The bedroom is a very personal place. For many people, it’s a sanctuary. It’s where we go to relax, dream and get away from the cares of the world. To tap into those feelings, you have to create a calm, relaxing, comfortable world that’s both intimate and secure.” “In her original design,” Sperrazza relates, “Connie set the bedding department off from the rest of the store and surrounded our higher-end products with sheer curtains to create that all-important comfort zone. In addition, she used spotlights to add a touch of drama to the presentation. Eight years ago, when this store opened, these were leading-edge ideas; and we know that Connie continues to travel the world and dig deep to bring the latest innovations to her designs, so we were eager to hear what her latest thoughts would be.” “My inspiration for the Fingers Sugar Land bedding department came from the 2007 Paris home furnishings show,” says Post. “It features curtain drapes suspended from the ceiling to create an aura of romance. Large, white globe lights hang overhead, adding even more softness to the space. The floors give the illusion of calm water. The wall graphics feature huge photographs that make you feel as if you’re surrounded by a peaceful sky. And to bring a little quiet energy to the space, I added two blue circular lights that bounce slowly from floor to ceiling. The products are presented on chrome bases that sit atop silver tread tiles, so that they seem float in this tranquil environment, inviting the customer to relax and enjoy the experience. The overall effect is artful and dreamlike, instantly and powerfully communicating a sense of sanctuary that makes you feel connected to nature as it carries you away from the day-to-day world.” “As soon as we saw the design,” concludes Sperrazza, “we knew it was right for us. In all of our stores, in every department, we work to create memorable experiences that connect our products to our customers’ lives. Based on our experience, this new design will be a perfect space for selling mattresses. It engages the emotions with just the right touch of romance; demonstrates that sense of sanctuary that the customer is trying to create in her home; and creates that all-important comfort zone that allows her to base her buying decision on a full and satisfying experience of the product.” About The Connie Post Companies: Headquartered in Huntington, WV, The Connie Post Companies is the home furnishings industry’s leading retail design firm. Led by industry innovator Ms. Connie Post, this award-winning design consulting and project management firm works with retailers and manufacturers to create extraordinary selling spaces that are exciting, profitable and memorable. In addition, the firm’s Precision Millwork division produces custom walls, fixtures, signage and atmospherics for a wide range of projects. Visit The Connie Post Companies on the web at www.conniepost.com, or visit us in person at the High Point Market or the World Market Center in Las Vegas. For additional information about this project, call Dave Coll, Creative Director for The Connie Post Companies, at 304-736-7283.

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