The cover story
Fashion and feel engage mattress shoppers’ senses
RETAIL ROAD TRIP
California’s Get-A-Mattress pairs huge selection with passion for healthy sleep CONSUMER CHECK
New Sleep in America poll shows electronics keeping Americans awake BE MY GUEST
17 ‘little details’ in marketing messages that need your attention
...and counting! InnovaƟve Design
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IN THIS ISSUE where to find it
THE COVER STORY
Fashion and feel engage mattress shoppers’ senses
The look and feel of mattress and foundation covers play an important—and too often overlooked—role in how customers react to a bed at the point of sale. Today’s fashionable, touchable fabrics and detailing provide vital cues to quality and value. If she likes what her senses tell her, it’s easier to get her to try it—and buy it.
WAKE UP CALL
from the editor’s desk
Bedbugs are bad, but they may be one of the best things to happen to the mattress business in decades.
stuff you can use
Better Sleep Council campaign to rid America of “Zombieitis” set to launch in May with Better Sleep Month; a bad online program is a blown opportunity, says Cindy Williams; five tips on selling to the changed consumer; 15 sure-fire ways to turn off a female customer; 13% of Americans to spend tax refunds on big purchases...and more.
BACK TALK supporting customer dreams
Tips on taking care of your back are wasted if you’re still sleeping on a mattress and foundation that should have been replaced years ago.
BE MY GUEST
profiling your customer
New Sleep in America poll confirms electronics are keeping us from getting enough sleep.
by Pat Friesen
The “little things”can cause big problems in your marketing messages.
by Gerry Morris Too much competition? Gerry offers some good ideas on how to get around it.
RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene The owners of California’s Get-A-Mattress offer a huge selection and salesmanship that puts the emphasis on a healthy night’s sleep.
SleepSavvy • April 2011
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SMART. SHOW US YOU’RE SOCIAL. WE’LL SHOW YOU THE MONEY. It’s a social media game. It awards tons of cash. It’s designed exclusively for you – the Retail Sales Associate. It’s brought to you by Leggett & Platt, world leader in sleep technology.
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SleepSavvy The magazine for sleep products professionals
Editor in Chief Nancy Butler 571-482-5441 email@example.com Associate Editor Barbara Nelles 336-856-8973 firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Pat Friesen Gerry Morris Cindy Williams Creative Director Stephanie Belcher The Jimmydog Design Group email@example.com Vice President of Advertising Sales Kerri Bellias 571-482-5444 firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Services Manager Debbie Robbins 571-482-5443 email@example.com Circulation Manager Mary Rulli 336-491-0443 firstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editor Margaret Talley-Seijn Cover Photo Beautyrest Elite Paloma courtesy of Simmons Bedding Vol. 10, No. 3 ISSN 1538-702X Sleep Savvy is published 8 times a year by the International Sleep Products Association, 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, Virginia 22314-1917. Phone 703-683-8371. Fax 703-683-4503. Website: www.sleepsavvymagazine.com. Sleep Savvy editorial office: 15 E. Hawthorne Dr., Asheville, North Carolina 28805. Phone 571-482-5441. Fax 703-683-4503. Advertising services: 1613 Country Club Dr., Reidsville, North Carolina 27320. Phone 571-482-5443. Fax 703-683-4503. Subscription policy & rates Retailers: All U.S. retailers qualify for free subscriptions, up to 5 per location. In Canada, $10 per year; all other countries, $30. Manufacturers, suppliers and others: ISPA member company personnel qualify for complimentary subscriptions, subject to restrictions. Nonmembers and others: $30 U.S., $40 non-U.S. Please send subscription orders and changes to: Sleep Savvy, P.O. Box 4678, Archdale, North Carolina 27263 or fax 703-683-4503. ©2011 by the International Sleep Products Association. No portion of the content may be reprinted without permission from Sleep Savvy. Printed in the U.S.A.
WAKE UP CALL from the editor
Bedbugs really are yucky, but the news is not all bad
he current bedbug epidemic has turned a population of reasonably rational people into squeamish— sometimes hysterical—-sleepers, travelers and shoppers. While bedbugs do no real harm, they bite, breed and survive well beyond basic extermination efforts. Yes, they’re yucky. But... dare I say it? Bedbugs may be one of the best things to happen to the mattress (and sleep accessories) business in decades. The media have been all over the bedbug story. And while the reports have a high “ick factor,” the intense spotlight on our products is a welcome change for a category that struggles to get any media recognition at all. The brouhaha certainly does have people thinking more about the nocturnal bedbug’s favorite hiding place. More to the point, it has people thinking more about replacing their old mattresses and foundations. It also has people running out to replace infested pillows, pads, sheets, blankets and comforters. And buying up bedbug-impervious protectors for all of their household mattresses, foundations and pillows. (Judging by a couple of new products spotted in Vegas, bedbug-repelling mattresses are not far behind.) Bedbugs are definitely taking a bite out of the used and renovated mattress business. Consumers are increasingly disinclined to buy old products that could harbor these hard-to-get-rid-of pests. The epidemic is prompting new attention to legislation designed to curb the sale of old mattresses. The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) is currently leading efforts in several states
to enact new and tougher laws to address the role of unscrupulous renovators in the spread of bedbugs. Finally, bedbugs are giving mattress retailers a bona fide reason to back away from comfort exchange programs. Although consumers may not be happy to see them go, the fact is that these programs cause big headaches for retailers—-costs associated with replacement, what to do with the returned products, etc. A comfort exchange is also an all-too-easy, lazy way for a mattress RSA to make a fast close. The ubiquitous “you can always exchange it” has probably resulted in more consumers buying the wrong sleep set than any customer service offer ever devised. On the downside, bedbugs are a pervasive problem, and the potential involvement of regulators is sure to make companies squirm. But watchdog organizations like ISPA are ready to represent the best interests of businesses. In addition, lawsuits filed against retailers and vendors claiming they are the source of bedbug infestations will likely prove tough to win. So while we hope you never have to experience bedbugs firsthand, these pesky critters carry a couple of pieces of good news for our categories. In fact, you might just want to send a little love their way.
email@example.com SleepSavvy • April 2011
OVER 20,000 INSTANT WINNERS! * REBATES UP TO $1,000! *See official rules. © 2011 Simmons Bedding Company. All Rights Reserved.
National advertising for this exciting new in-store promotion starts soon. But your customers can only participate if you’re signed up. Hurry, event starts Memorial Day and ends July 4.
TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT YOUR SIMMONS REP OR GO TO SIMMONSDEALERS.COM
SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use
Better Sleep Month 2011
Better Sleep Council’s May campaign will save the world, one zombie at a time! A national campaign to “Stop Zombieitis!” kicks off May 1 as part of the Better Sleep Council’s annual Better Sleep Month. The BSC is the consumer education arm of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA). “Zombieitis is an insidious plague that threatens the very fabric of our society,” says BSC Chairman Mark Quinn. “It’s the root cause of decreased worker productivity, rising health care costs and strained interpersonal relationships.” Symptoms of Zombieitis include irritability, depression, high blood pressure, anxiety, malaise or apathy, weight gain, headaches, decreased brain function and bags under the eyes. Zombies can also be identified by their unkempt appearance, unsightly drooling, frequent mumbling or moaning and a lumbering walk or slow gait. Ryan Trainer, ISPA president, adds that Zombieitis spans all socioeconomic groups. “Young or old, rich or poor, this affliction knows no demographic boundaries,” he says. “Lack of sleep does not discriminate—anyone can be a victim of Zombieitis.” While the pressures of modern society certainly contribute to Zombieitis, the BSC’s campaign will stress that poor quality beds are a primary cause. “A majority of Americans are sleeping on old, lumpy mattresses that make it virtually impossible to get a good night’s sleep,” Quinn says. “Instead of investing in better beds, many people choose to rely on everything from prescription sleep aids to white noise machines and anti-snoring devices. Unfortunately, these products fail to address the underlying problem.”
If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead
anywhere. — Frank Clark
‘Stop Zombieitis! Day’ is May 20
ant to help the Better Sleep Council get rid of the un-slept zombies roaming your town? Support “Stop Zombieitis! Day”on Friday, May 20—the highlight of the Better Sleep Month 2011 campaign. Special events, including consumer contests, will take place nationwide to raise awareness of Zombieitis and how it can be cured by sleeping on a better bed. To find out how to get involved in the nationwide campaign, bedding retailers are invited to visit www.sleepsavvymagazine.com for a free retailer toolkit, available starting April 20. To see the anti-Zombieitis campaign in action, check www.stopthezombies.com beginning May 1. To learn more about the BSC’s consumer messages, visit www.bettersleep.org.
SleepSavvy • April 2011
stuff you can use
Listening to the consumer
Don’t blow your online opportunity
t’s generally true that shoppers won’t bother with online programs that are confusing and frustrating. And if a company blows its first impression, the online shopper will not come back for more. This missed opportunity can be avoided by ensuring that your company’s online strategy includes comprehensive consumer testing. Case in point: Sears’ “adyourway” eCircular initiative. This online tool seems to be an attempt to allow shoppers to customize their online shopping experience. According to the SearsBuzz web page, once a consumer has set up her account she will receive customized circulars with her most relevant product choices shown first. Great idea! Unfortunately, the online experience is…well…not so great. I decided to register on the Sears adyourway website and give the process a try. My first impression: confusing. The program’s homepage is cluttered with banners for several consumer initiatives, including adyourway, shopyourway, Deal of the Day and products that are
“going fast.” Nothing else on the page refers to the adyourway program. Unfortunately, after 45 frustrating minutes spent trying to figure out how to customize my shopping experience, I gave up and closed the page. Launching an untested and/or poorly executed online experience can be more dangerous to your brand than having no online experience at all. The Sears adyourway initiative is an attempt to listen to and assimilate the voice of the consumer, but it misses the mark. I give them one open ear for effort.
Cindy Williams is vice president of retail strategy for home furnishings at Atlanta-based Info Retail, a strategy and design firm that helps retailers and manufacturers improve customer buying experiences. Contact Cindy by phone at 770-356-1229 or through www.inforetail.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cinwilliams.
5 tips on selling to the post-recession consumer
onsumers who’ve survived the Great Recession have been changed, in many cases, forever. They’re sticking closer to home, digging in for an uncertain future. They’re frugal, cautious and fickle in their buying decisions. Flexible and innovative mattress merchants who meet these new needs and altered lifestyles can find new markets. Crisis is sometimes just another word for opportunity. Here are some tips: Thrifty shoppers want lasting value. Market your beds based on product quality and brand longevity. Break down the return on investment over the life of a mattress. Testimonials from satisfied customers help build brand equity.
6 SleepSavvy • April 2011
Consumers still feel a lot of fear, uncertainty, insecurity and doubt. Craft marketing messages that communicate reassurance and calm. Be empathetic. Position sleep products as reliable and dependable. Consumers are fickle, looking for deals and using the Internet to search out product information and testimonials from other purchasers. Establish a strong online presence to communicate information about your company’s history and brand benefits. Develop a social media program to reach buyers. Tap the simple living trend and reach consumers who are fed up with too much stuff. Make your ads simple
and uncluttered. Understand this group’s needs. They don’t want more things, but they aren’t adverse to comfort. They will purchase goods that fit their lifestyle. Offer products for intergenerational living and smaller homes. Think multifunctional, space-saving and easy-to-move.
Excerpted from a story that appeared in the March 2011 BedTimes, the magazine for mattress manufacturers and their suppliers.
stuff you can use CDC research
35% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that many Americans are sleep deprived on a regular basis. The new research shows that more than one-third (35.3%) of Americans routinely sleep fewer than seven hours a night. “Over the last 20 years there has been a decline in overall sleep duration in adults,” confirmed Lela McKnight-Eily, a CDC clinical psychologist. Changing lifestyle habits, including longer workdays and late nights on the computer, have slowly pared away much needed sleep time, she said. “Within our culture there seems to be a belief that sleep isn’t a part of overall essential health.”
CDC researchers also found that 48% of the 74,571 adults they studied said they snore, 37.9% reported falling asleep during the day at least once in the previous month and 4.7% admitted dozing off while driving at least once.
Lack of sleep is a risk factor for colon cancer Getting too little sleep has already been implicated in higher risks of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Now colon cancer can be added to the list. In ground-breaking research published in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Cancer, researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio found that people who averaged less than six hours of sleep a night had an almost 50% increase in the risk of precancerous polyps. Of the 1,240 patients studied, 338 were found to have polyps during their colonoscopy. In
15 sure-fire ways to turn off a woman
ver the years, Sleep Savvy has done some private polling among women on what turns them off when it comes to mattress sales associates. Here’s what we learned, translated into 15 top ‘don’ts’. 1. Pounce on her the minute she comes through the door. The number one complaint women have about bedding salespeople is they’re “too pushy.” Dump the hard sell in favor of an advisory or consulting role. If you’re not sure how you come across, do some role-playing with female family members or friends. They’ll give you important feedback. 2. Make her search for a salesperson. Women hate being ambushed by an overzealous sales associate, but don’t ignore her. Make sure she’s greeted promptly and warmly, exactly as if you were welcoming a guest into your home. 3. Underestimate her intelligence or her purse. Patronizing salespeople (both male and female) are insulting, and women are especially sensitive to it. Never use gender, age, hair color, voice, makeup or attire to jump to conclusions about how smart she is or how much she is willing to spend, especially if she’s in search of a great night’s sleep. 4. Call her ‘honey’, ‘sweetie’ or ‘little lady’. Even “Ma’am” can be risky—some women hear it as a sign of age. She has a name. Find out what it is and use it. 5. Don’t let her get a word in edgewise. When you do all of the talking and none of the listening, you might as well be talking to yourself. If she thinks you’re not inter-
8 SleepSavvy • April 2011
ested in what she has to say, she’s not buying anything from you. 6. Get right up in her face. Don’t invade a woman’s personal space. If you’re at arm’s length or closer, back up, otherwise you’ll back her right out the door. And please, keep mints handy—the onions you had for lunch are not something she’d care to share. 7. Start the conversation with price. Sure, cost will be a consideration, but don’t assume it’s at the top of her list. She wants to know that you care about her sleep, health and well-being. She wants to know that you can help her find the bed that gives her just the right comfort and support. Save price for later. 8. Spend too much time on the technical stuff. Most women aren’t into the details of what’s under the hood. Talk too much about the specs and her eyes
ee p or ts
stuff you can use general, they reported sleeping less than six hours, while those with no polyps slept seven hours or more. The correlation remained even when adjusted for family history, smoking and obesity. The risk level is comparable to the high risk associated with having a parent or sibling with colon cancer, researchers said.
Home temperature, sleep loss tied to obesity Cooler homes and a better night’s sleep could help curtail the current obesity epidemic, according to an Italian study. When researchers at the University of Turin followed more than 1,000 middle-aged adults for six years, they found that the odds of these adults becoming obese declined by 30%
will glaze over. How the bed feels is number one on a woman’s list of bed-buying factors. Show her just how comfortable she can be. And talk to her about the sleep and wellness benefits of selecting the mattress that feels just right. 9. Make up answers to her questions. Women want assurance that you know what you’re talking about. If you don’t, you’ll be better off admitting it to her and offering to get the information she needs. But if you’re really savvy, you’ll get all the knowledge you can about all of the products on your floor before she walks in the door. 10. Use insincere flattery to score points. Complimenting women on how they look or how adorable their kids are can be risky. Don’t be too friendly and watch out for any language that she might interpret as “suggestive.” If you’re insincere, patronizing or over the line, you can kiss the sale goodbye. She won’t be back and neither will her friends.
for every hour of sleep they typically got. This was true even when other factors such as physical activity level and TV watching were taken into account, according to the study published in the International Journal of Obesity. What was perhaps more surprising was the relationship between obesity and home temperature. The people who preferred to keep their homes toasty were twice as likely to become obese than those who kept their thermostats below 68 degrees F. Why? Apparently, you burn more calories when your body has to work harder to maintain its normal 98.6. Temperature isn’t the answer to the obesity problem—there are obviously many factors—but turning down the thermostat wouldn’t hurt. And it has the added benefit of saving on energy bills.
11. Brag about how successful you are at selling mattresses. Strutting your stuff may impress the guys, but that’s not the way women develop trust. The fact that you think you’re the world’s greatest mattress salesman is guaranteed to make her suspicious of your pitch. 12. Keep looking over her shoulder while you’re talking. If she feels like your mind is on the next customer and she’s not worthy of your full attention, you’ll lose her trust right off the bat. Stop looking at your watch. She needs to feel like she’s your most important customer all week…and she might be. 13. Follow her around the store. Mattress shoppers need and want your help, but women are browsers at heart and often need the time to indulge that instinct. If you get that “back off” vibe, let her know you’ll be there if she needs you, then let her be. 14. Invite her to lie down on a mattress…and join her. It can be downright embarrassing to lie down on a mattress, so it’s up to you to make her comfortable with the idea. Lying down next to her is not the way. If you’re mid-conversation, sit on the bed next to the one she’s on; better yet, politely walk away so she has a sense of privacy. Don’t loom over her. 15. Go for the close too soon. Just because she’s been nodding at you as you talk, that does not mean she’s ready to hand over her Visa. Don’t rush her. It may take a little more time than you’d like to establish a comfortable rapport, but it will put you light years closer to a close if you let her set the pace. Got more to add to the list? Email Editor Nancy Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SleepSavvy • April 2011
stuff you can use NRF Survey
13% of Americans will spend tax refund on big-ticket items
ore Americans plan to spend tax-refund money on big-ticket items this year, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation. A little more than 13% will use at least a portion of their refund for a big-ticket purchase such as a TV or furniture. That’s up from 12.5% in 2010—a good sign for the economy. “Despite the difficult unemployment situation across the country, Americans receiving a tax refund this year seem eager to plow this money back into the economy,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “With sales momentum beginning to build, NRF is more bullish about the economic recovery.” According to the survey, 42% of the 8,273 polled consumers plan to save their refund dollars, while 41.9% plan to pay down debt. Nearly 12% said they’ll take a vacation, nearly 30% said the money will go to everyday expenses. (Some respondents cited more than one use.)
What are our favorite colors? When given a choice of the 11 most common colors, here’s what 27,865 people told Squidoo.com was their personal favorite:
Blue Purple Green Red Black Pink Orange Yellow White Gray Brown
18.9% 18.2% 14.8% 11.8% 7.9% 7.9% 6.2% 5.7% 3.4% 3.1% 2.1%
That’s insight that may be useful on many levels—the colors you choose for your store decor, for example. To learn more about color in mattress covers, turn to the cover story starting on page 12.
Quotable “A new bed is a lifechanging opportunity.” —Leggett & Platt’s Mark Quinn during a Better Sleep Council panel session at the January 2011 Las Vegas Market.
BEDDING BIZ BEAT
Sales continued to trend upward for the first month of this year as January’s wholesale dollars rose 3.3% and units increased 3.4%. The data is from the International Sleep Products Association’s monthly Bedding Barometer, a statistical sample of 20 leading U.S. mattress manufacturers.
Mattresses & Foundations in Millions of Wholesale Dollars $387
Sample of Leading Producers
$389 $335 $325
Percent change +7.9%
Percent change +4.7%
Percent change -2.8%
Percent change +6.0%
Percent change +2.9%
Percent change +3.3%
■ 2009 ■ 2010 ■ 2011
10 SleepSavvy • April 2011
make more sales by making your beds.
If you’re only selling your customers mattresses, headboards and bed rails, you’re leaving a lot of money on the sales floor. That’s where Hickory at Home’s Final Touch comes in — by opening up a top-of-bed retail store within your store. Choose from three different footprints — 300, 150, or 75 sq. ft — fully stocked with top-of-bed accessories like sheets, pillows, down comforters and mattress pads beautifully designed to help you make more sales by helping your customers finish making their beds. To see how Hickory at Home’s Final Touch fits into your plans to wake up your sales, call 1-800-438-5341 Ext 4562.
www.hickoryathome.com (828) 328.2201 ext. 4562 • (800) 438.5341 ext. 4562 © 2011 Hickory Springs Mfg. Co.
12 SleepSavvy â€˘ April 2011
The cover story
Fashion and feel engage mattress shoppers’ senses By Nancy Butler
“Possession begins when the shopper’s senses start to latch onto an object. It begins in the eyes and then in the touch.”
he fabrics and detailing selected to create mattress and foundation covers play a vital role in the way a customer reacts to a bed on the retail sales floor. Not only does the cover affect the comfort and performance of today’s beds, it’s also the first thing the customer sees. Fabrics chosen for each mattress model tell a different story on the sales floor. They provide visual cues to a bed’s value and quality in relation to other models. Fabrics can also tell a story of luxury or “naturalness” or special benefits such as antimicrobial. Since 2000, the rise of knits and their pairing with increasingly popular foam mattresses and foam comfort layers have brought an entirely new look, feel and comfort to beds. Today’s knits and wovens are an important—and too often overlooked— part of the story that savvy retailers need to be presenting to customers. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
—Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy
Yes, everybody knows that once in the home, the bed will be covered with linens. So, from a rational standpoint, who cares about the cover? Customers do. What customers see and what they feel—the senses of sight and touch—are powerful emotional triggers. And countless studies show that, even though we may not be consciously aware of it, our buying decisions are based largely on emotion, not intellect. Tapping into the emotional potential of the way a mattress looks can be challenging in what is often called—by industry people and consumers alike—a “sea of white rectangles.” But, while shades of white continue to be a mainstay, manufacturers and their suppliers are working together to add more splashes of color, creative designs, sensual textures and appealing details to mattress panels, borders and trim. Does a more fashionable look in the mattress department make a difference? Take it from a woman—the answer is “Yes.”
SleepSavvy • April 2011
THE COVER STORY
fashion and feel engage the senses “Consumers are overwhelmed with choices, so they go to emotional filters within seconds,” says Laura Allred, design director for mattress fabric supplier CT/Nassau, who points out that companies like Proctor & Gamble spend millions measuring what catches shoppers’ eyes. “When shoppers go into a mattress store, there has to be something to attract the eye. Fabric and detail is what creates emotional appeal and makes the connection with the consumer.” It’s important for sales associates to be alert to what’s going on with the customer’s senses and emotions, not just what she’s thinking, fabric executives stress. “Fabric is the first thing that helps the RSA get a consumer to walk toward a bed,” says Eric Delaby, vice president of sales for fabrics company Deslee USA. “It attracts the eyes and the emotions—it’s your ally in making the sale.” “People have less time to make
& Sons. Lava points to the sequential stages shoppers go through: “Look, touch, try—so the way a bed looks makes a difference. Every bed is on stage.”
The fashionable bed Imagine that you are attending a fashion show watching the runway as models sail by in the latest mattress collections and jotting down E.S. Kluft/Aireloom notes on the trends that catch your eye. (OK, this might be a stretch for some of you used to create individual islands of guys, but since the majority of matdesign rather than a continuous stitch tress shoppers are women, it’s the pattern. female perspective we’re mostly focusSplashes of color—often in bold, ing on, so just go with it.) contrasting shades—are spotted in the Supple stretch knits that conform to tape or cording that joins the panels the body and complement the characand side borders, in the gussets of teristics of today’s specialty sleep and some pillow-top or euro-top designs, hybrid constructions dominate the and in the handles of high-end modcollections, especially in the top panels. But it’s in the distinctive styling els. Whites and off-whites are the of the mattress and foundation bormost popular background hues ders—the fabrics on the sides—that for mattress panels, but patterns you see the freshest fashion. and accent colors that are knitted or woven into the fabrics add Bordering on beauty increasing visual interest. Beautiful borders with contrasting At the higher end, heavy knits color and distinctive textures are with textures that have the eye quickly becoming the big eye-catchers appeal of quilting—without the quilting—add a dimensional quality. Some knits feature the extra elasticity or 4-way stretch of specialized fibers such as Spandex or Lurex. Some are zoned for more Restonic Here are some of the generally stretch where needed, such as the accepted psychological meanings of shoulder and hip areas. drawn-out decisions, so the initial Classic motifs such as florals, fleur six colors that are popular in today’s impact is much more important,” de lis, medallions and scrolls abound, mattress covers: says Anne Lucia Bushell, design direc- but they are evolving into simpler, tor for fabrics manufacturer Bekaert more open and more contemporary White symbolizes innocence, Textiles USA. “What speaks to me as interpretations. Larger-scale patterns purity and cleanliness (though it’s the a woman is what I gravitate to. It’s a and stylized themes from nature are most difficult color to keep clean). subliminal appeal.” popular. The use of sophisticated White is popular in decorating and in “If you can’t get a woman over to quilting techniques allow updated fashion because it is light, neutral and a bed, you can’t sell it,” says Adam designs, including asymmetrical patgoes with everything. Lava, vice president of sales for preterns, to be stitched into the fabric; sewn mattress cover supplier A. Lava “tack and jump” technology is being
14 SleepSavvy • April 2011
THE COVER STORY
fashion and feel engage the senses on the mattress retail floor, especially at the $999-and-up price points. And that, say fabric executives, makes a lot of sense. “When a woman walks into a mattress store, her first perspective will be the border, not the panel,” says Mike Cottonaro, senior vice president of sales and marketing for textiles company Culp. “Using color on the border brings in an element of ‘curiousity’ eye appeal—a departure from the expected.” The border becomes a visual frame, adds Cottonaro, making the predominantly white panel “look like an oasis.” Border fabrics are typically wovens rather than knits since the sides of the mattress and foundation need stability rather than conformability. Microsuedes have become very popu-
lar, as well as traditional wovens such as damasks. Upholstery-grade fabrics—the kind used for upholstered furniture— are increasing their presence in border treatments, especially at the high end. “Manufacturers are asking us for contrasting borders and cording, two- or three-tone borders, special corner treatments—these are all to enhance eye appeal when the customer comes in the Stearns & Foster store,” says Lava. “Using real upholstery fabric on borders is the next big thing. It opens treatments and details is becoming an the way for lots of looks, especially at important part of mattress manufac$1,500 and up.” turers’ branding and product differTextures like chenille, velvet, linen entiation, which is excellent news for and twill; patterns like herringbone, retailers. The trend creates more disdiamonds and popcorn—all were tinctive looks, especially at the mid- to seen at the most recent furniture marupper-price points, which means more ket in Las Vegas. Borders are being visual step-up stories within lines. enhanced with stitching, studding, “Manufacturers are definitely puttufting, embroidery, contrasting corting more money into the borders and ners and waterfall edges and accented accessorizing the beds with contrastwith coordinating or contrasting ing gussets, tapes and handles. They’re handles, corner guards and customappealing to a woman’s love of color ized labels. and detail,” Bushell says. “And it’s The new attention to border fabrics, paying off.”
ology of color Black is the color of authority and power, intelligence and strength. It’s also widely associated with sophistication and wealth. G ray is most associated with things that are timeless and solid. Silver, a relative of gray, is often associated with strong character—sterling, in fact! Brown is the color of earth—solid and reliable. It’s often associated with home and hearth. Light brown implies genuineness, while dark brown is associated with rich wood and leather.
Purple is the color of royalty, luxury and wealth. Historically, it’s associated with wisdom, mystery and spirituality. It’s also feminine and romantic, especially in the lighter shades such as lavender.
Green is the color of growth, nature, nurturing and abundance. It’s a soothing color and easiest on the eye. Dark green is associated with concepts like conservative, masculine and wealth; light green is calming. B lue, the color of the sky and ocean, is one of the most popular colors. Tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it’s often used in bedrooms. In darker shades, it’s also associated with steadfastness, dependability and loyalty.
SleepSavvy • April 2011
THE COVER STORY
fashion and feel engage the senses “natural” or “green” stories to tell. New colors on the horizon? “Lighter, more playful tones like peacock blues,” says Allred. “Look for heather blue, moss green, and lavenders and pinks as accents— even some reds,” predicts Delaby. Serta
Color in contrast White, in its many variations, continues to serve the mattress business very well. It’s the ultimate neutral and virtually guaranteed not to offend anyone. In market research, white traditionally gets a thumbs-up among women. But too much of anything—even if it’s a good thing—tends to cause a phenomenon psychologists call “repetition blindness.” When confronted with an array of similar visual images, the brain tends to check out. So, as part of their efforts to improve product differentiation, manufacturers are expanding their color horizons. “U.S. manufacturers are beginning to follow and turn to the colors being used in fashion industry,” says Karsten Siewart, vice president of sales and marketing for pre-sewn mattress cover supplier Bodet & Horst USA. “We’re definitely moving away from all white and creating a better aesthetic for the better bed,” says Delaby. “The creativity long seen in Europe is coming here— like the complex quilting with strong contrasting colors seen in Paris.” “Younger product development people in the mattress industry are bringing in more stylish, updated looks,” says Lava. “There are more women in marketing now and they’re more focused on the
16 SleepSavvy • April 2011
Kingsdown aesthetics,” adds Bushell. “Women are drawn to color,” says Cottonaro. “There’s an important subliminal reaction to color.” So, what are the hot colors in today’s more fashion-conscious mattress business? The black-and-white combination remains popular, as does the full range of ecrus, beiges and mochas. Shades of gold have timeless appeal. The deeper browns— rich chocolates and leather tones— have made important inroads over the past year or so. Black has now spawned a more subtle palette of rich greys—charcoal, pewter, silver—which are coming on strong. “The grey palette is very important,” says Allred. “It can be accented with so many other colors, so it’s very versatile.” Deep shades of purple like aubergine (eggplant) are a new hit in the luxury arena. “Plum seems to be a high-end signature,” notes Marian Stephenson, design director at fabrics company Innofa. Purple has the rich, stately connotations of black and brown, notes Bushell, “But it’s more feminine.” “We’re also seeing a shift to cleaner palettes and spa colors like soft aqua, lavender, lilac and celadon greens,” says Allred. Greens and earth tones are often the partners of choice for beds that have
From texture to touch The visual interplay of pattern, detail and texture are as much a part of a bed’s emotional appeal as color. And when the dominant color is white, distinctive patterns, intriguing textures and unusual details can play an extremely important role in capturing and directing the customer’s attention. To a male RSA, such subtleties may seem hard to grasp and perhaps even meaningless. But remember that most women are very attuned to subtle details, so RSAs need to be attuned to them, too— maybe even prepared to draw the customer’s attention to them. For example, says Bushell: “Just look at the beautiful detail and finishing— this is obviously a quality bed.” “There’s definitely more texture being used at the higher end—and not just the suedes—to add real visual verve,” says Cottonaro. “With today’s knits, you can create patterns that give a mattress a thick, lofty, almost quilted look,” says Stephenson. “And they have a really soft, supple hand. Why not point that out?” Once you’ve successfully captured the eye of the customer, you’re inches away from capturing her hand—stage two of the mattress-buying decision. Listen to Suzanne Shu, a marketing professor at UCLA and co-author of a study on the power of touch published last year in the Journal of Consumer Research: “When you touch something, you instantly feel more of a connection www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
THE COVER STORY
fashion and feel engage the senses to it. That connection stirs up an emotional reaction—‘Yeah, I like the feel of it. This can be mine.’ And that emotion can cause you to buy something you never would have bought if you hadn’t touched it.” Mattress retailers should hang up signs that say “Feel me!” Now that stiffer fabrics have given way to the softest knits, as well as wovens that have the feel of knits, beds demand to be touched. Fortunately, for most women, running her hand over the cover is something she’ll do instinctively. But if a customer hesitates, be sure to encourage her. Mattresses at the lower price points are often covered with inexpensive fabrics that offer little in the
way of tactile appeal. “If it doesn’t feel nice and soft, she’ll move on,” says Stephenson. Conversely, highend beds tend to be inviting to the touch, so make sure customers experience that. “Today’s quality knits and wovens feel great. And women do notice,” says Allred. When the senses of sight and touch are successfully engaged, the next—and most important—step in the presentation is much easier, fabric executives emphasize. “If she likes the way it feels to her hand, that’s a great entry to get her to lie down and try it—something customers resist,” says Cottonaro. “We call it ‘touch and tush’—they graze the fabrics with their fingers. If it’s seductive, inviting—they’ll
6 tips for savvy RSAs 1
Tune into the emotional context. Be aware that customers (female and male) are reacting on a subliminal, emotional level, starting within the first few seconds. The senses of sight and touch are important emotional triggers. Acknowledge them; encourage them; use them.
Don’t overlook the look. A line that has been well merchandised with mattress fabrics and detailing transmits important visual cues to customers and can give you a handy step-up story. From there, it’s easier to get the customer to touch—and then to try.
Don’t mix and match. A mix-and-match display creates visual confusion— you can lose the visual step-up opportunity. And if vendors have supplied coordinated foot protectors and display pillows, don’t move them around. (Guys, think of it as wearing the right tie with a suit.)
Get the story. Get educated on the cover fabrics and detailing—even some simple terminology or enticing buzzwords can be useful. If a bed features a fabric with special characteristics or added function, be prepared to tell customers about them.
Add a touch of color. If you look out over your floor and still see a sea of white, think about adding a bit of visual interest with the judicious use of decorative pillows or throws that offer some color to focus the eye, especially on the high-end models. Women, in particular, notice these seemingly small touches.
Keep it neat. Always be sure the covers on the floor models are in good condition—no dirt, no pilling, no frayed edges and no loose, pulled or broken threads. Corner guards and handles should be in mint condition, too. Savvy retailers do a product check every morning before the store opens.
touch, pivot and plop. It’s up to the RSA to use that opportunity.” Selling the story In today’s market, it’s not unusual for mattress fabrics to feature special characteristics or benefits that that should be part of the selling story. Antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal features, for example, offer compelling stories, especially with women. Covers made of fibers that wick away moisture and/ or regulate temperature will interest many customers as well. Some popular trademarked functional yarns include Outlast, CoolMax and Celliant. (A few bedbug-repellent mattress fabrics turned up at the most recent Las Vegas market— expect to see more.) There’s increasing interest in eco-friendly fabrics made with cellulosic fibers such as cotton, linen, rayon, Tencel and bamboo viscose, as well as fabrics with fibers spun from recycled plastic. “Natural” and “organic” content is important to the growing number of consumers who’d like to be as “green” as their budgets will allow. Some highly specialized fabrics feature embedded or microencapsulated properties such as scented oils for relaxation, aloe lotion for the skin or metallic content such as silver or magnets that tout health benefits. Because of the added costs, those tend to be high-end features, as are luxury yarns such as silk and cashmere, which are making appearances at the top of some collections. “The economic downturn has slowed interest in added benefits, but if you have that kind of story, sell it,” stresses Allred. “Ask for training on added function because it should be highlighted with female customers,” says Stephenson. “If it has benefits and enhancements, as a woman, I want to hear about it.” ● SleepSavvy • April 2011
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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene
Get-A-Mattress Owners Jimi Breazeale (left) and Hector Amaya
California retailer pairs selection and salesmanship with a passion for ‘green’ By Barbara Nelles Photography by Jeff Clark
hat do you get when you cross an enormous selection with a green ethos? You get Get-AMattress, a really big sleep shop overlooking the Pacific in Arroyo Grande, CA. Co-owners Jimi Breazeale, president, and Hector Amaya, vice president, are passionate about mattresses, sleep and raising consumer awareness of eco-friendly sleep products. Two years ago, after researching the state of mattress retailing in the U.S., they decided to convert their 10-year-old furniture store into a healthy sleep specialist. Get-A-Mattress carries lines from some 20 mattress vendors, including mainstream majors, secondary brands and several smaller, eco-friendly companies. Its branding and advertising strongly promote “natural” and “organic” bedding, and the store setting and its staff put the emphasis on creating a healthy sleep envi-
ronment. The store serves a two-county area in central, coastal California, with a population of about 300,000. The average shopper demographic skews slightly older (45) and upper middle class. The retailer also ships beds across the country in response to Internet and phone orders. Despite the recession, Get-A-Mattress has had huge success in its market and beyond, Breazeale says. “Even though this is California, we’re fairly rural in this area. So, I was afraid we’d have a problem selling natural and organic mattresses here. Boy, was I wrong!” Breazeale says. “Consumers were ready and waiting for us. The number of people who have chemical allergies is growing. Organic is big even for kids. If parents can’t afford them, often grandparents can—grandmothers love purchasing organic beds for their grandchildren.” SleepSavvy • April 2011
RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene
Color-coded headboards identify each bed’s product category
An accessories display highlights natural fibers and fills
The spacious store—a completely remodeled former Levitz showroom—has plenty of windows and views of the Pacific. Most of its 35,000 square feet is now dedicated to the mattress category. But the owners added a recliner department to attract more male shoppers. A sea of about 50 recliners greets customers at the store entrance. “Wives can get their husbands to come in and try the recliners,” Breazeale explains. “It’s a less threatening way to ease them into mattress shopping.” There are approximately 195 mattress models on the floor and the selection seems to be constantly expanding. High-end vendors Aireloom and Tempur-Pedic
20 SleepSavvy • April 2011
were among the first brands the store brought in before converting to a sleep shop format. Now the list has grown much longer and includes lines from: Anatomic Global, Comfort Solutions, Englander, Green Sleep, Natura World, OMI, Pure LatexBLISS, Sealy and Stearns & Foster, Simmons, Somnium, Spinal Care, Spring Air and Chattam & Wells, Vanguard and Vivon. “Today’s shopper is accustomed to choice,” Breazeale explains. “With our selection, we’ve done for mattress shopping what the Internet has done for shopping for shoes or lighting fixtures.” Customers get lots of visual assists in navigating the space. Ceiling signs as well as upholstered bed frames with prominent colorcoded headboards identify products as “visco,” “latex,” “spring,” “natural” or “organic” and “alternative.” The latter denotes all mattress types—such as air—that don’t fit neatly into any of the other categories. Within each color-coded department, beds are grouped by brand. The green headboards of the store’s eco-friendly collections occupy center stage on the floor.
The store atmosphere is designed to soothe the senses, Breazeale says, so that shoppers feel comfortable and relaxed, willing to linger and make the right purchase decision. It’s not unheard of for a shopper to spend four to six hours in the store. Visitors hear “ethereal music” and waterfalls—not Golden Oldies playing over and over. The air is scented with Natura’s tea spray. Wall colors are muted shades—and of course there’s that ocean view. Cleanliness is of utmost importance in a mattress store, Breazeale says. Display models are turned frequently and sold as floor samples. Pillowcases get laundered at least every week. And a cleaning staff is employed to keep the store spotless. Talking about health “We really work the health angle and it has such resonance with consumers today,” Breazeale says. “Part of it is that the media has been doing an excellent job of educating people about how important sleep is.” The well-trained, eight-member sales staff is expert at getting people to talk about themselves and their health and sleep issues. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene
“To help people find the right bed, they must open up to you about what their main issues are. In most cases, the sales associate will have that customer qualified even before they start showing them any mattresses.” “None are car salesmen,” Breazeale jokes. “All have a passion for selling mattresses. Some are practicing massage therapists, some have nursing backgrounds. The key is to hire special people, those who are passionate to begin with. We don’t advertise for salespeople—we advertise for people who are into organic and natural.” With such a large selection, qualifying shoppers is essential. Typical questions include: who is the mattress for, what are your reasons for buying a new mattress, and how old is your current mattress? The goal is to narrow the shopper down to a choice of about five beds. Get-A-Mattress is an evangelist for latex, wool and other “natural” components, but takes a pragmatic approach, understanding that this isn’t do-able for every customer, Breazeale explains. “Our goal is to get the customer into the best bed for their individuals needs at a price they can afford. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com
Sometimes the consumer’s need is price-based. Everyone can’t afford the ideal mattress.” The store’s “No. 1 rule” for associates is no spiffs, Breazeale says— “We recently lost a vendor who was insisting on them.” “Our people are not called ‘salesmen’—they honestly care about giving you the right product,” he explains. “They know how important it is that consumers understand the many choices they have.” Healthy accessories Accessories from eco-friendly suppliers are displayed throughout the store and are an important part of many sales tickets. It’s not uncommon to see a customer walk out with a buckwheat-hull pillow wrapped in wool from OMI and a Natura washable-wool mattress pad. Pillow selection is routinely incorporated into the sales process. Pillow vendors include Natura, OMI, Anatomic Global, Englander, Simmons, TempurPedic and Gotcha Covered, among others. Shoppers are told they need a good pillow in order to properly test beds. Bed bolsters are always removed before the customer lies
imi Breazeale, president of Get-A-Mattress, is known for freely sharing the lessons he’s learned in mattress retailing with a network of friends in the business. Here are a few: ● A broad selection appeals to today’s younger generation who, unlike previous generations, isn’t brand loyal. They just want the latest and greatest. ● Sleep can change your life. Where you buy your mattress really matters because if you’re sold a mattress that isn’t right for you, it affects your well-being. ● Today’s consumers come in armed with questions. Sales associates need to be well educated and well trained so they’re ready to answer those questions when customers walk in the door. ● Having too many beds that feel wonderful can confuse customers. So, adding some extra-firm and extra-soft beds to the floor works well as a merchandising strategy. ● We need to help people get better sleep—that’s what they are looking for. Consumers know that $299 won’t get them a good night’s sleep. The days of the dirty-window mattress store are coming to an end, slowly.
SleepSavvy • April 2011
RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene
The store and its colorful logo are easy to spot from the 101 freeway
down. RSAs also educate side sleepers about using a pillow between the knees to take the tension off the lower back.
22 SleepSavvy • April 2011
“Adjustable beds are also better for side sleepers, and we’ve seen a huge growth in adjustable sales. We have people lie down on them
and then raise their legs up just a little,” Breazeale says. Motion base suppliers include Leggett & Platt, Tempur-Pedic, Natura, Sealy, Electropedic and Vanguard H-Bed. Get-A-Mattress handles its own deliveries with three trucks and six uniformed delivery personnel. It’s free within 100 miles of the store and free nationwide for purchases over $999. The quality of its delivery service is a point of pride. “These folks are coming into your home and into your bedroom—it’s so important to be spotlessly clean, neat and considerate,” Breazeale explains. “Our drivers and our delivery service are as important a part of our business as anyone and anything,” Breazeale says. “Many are long-time employees. Hardly a day
RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene
passes that we don’t receive compliments on our deliveries.” With such an emphasis on salesmanship and service excellence, only about 2% of Get-A-Mattress customers end up taking advantage of the retailer’s 30-day comfort exchange, which is available for a 25% reselection fee. All returned beds are donated to a local women’s shelter. Image-building ads Get-A-Mattress spends a lot on advertising—about $1,000 a day— which includes radio, TV, print and billboards. It even scored a regional TV spot during the Superbowl. “The consistent advertising spend means customers feel they know us even before they walk in the door,”
says Breazeale. “When sales associates ask shoppers, ‘How did you hear about us?’—they usually say, ‘How could we not hear about you!’” In a state synonymous with the word “freeway,” it’s no surprise that billboards are a favorite medium. “Billboards are an absolute necessity and having a freeway location is huge. From the 101 (freeway), everyone can see our logo ‘Matt, the mattress guy’ holding a mattress over his head,” Breazeale says. “Folks drive that highway from Canada to Mexico and they’re stopping in to see our store.” “The logo is really important. It’s cute and we get to the point with our tag line: ‘How did you sleep last night?’” he explains. “We also added a touch of green to our brand
identity with a cute little ‘eco-chihuahua’ mascot that we use in many of our ads.” Advertising messaging rarely revolves around price, but is focused on image building. Part of its image as the self-proclaimed “Largest Sleep Store in the USA” drives a lot of foot traffic, Breazeale says. Occasional special events held at the store usually revolve around a local green or organic company—a wine tasting by an area organic vintner, for instance. The store has a search-engine-optimized website (www.getamattress. com) and invests in Google Adwords to turn up early in local searches for “mattress” or “recliner.” Plans are in the works to get more involved in social media marketing. ●
SleepSavvy • April 2011
supporting customer dreams
Get back to the basics of better back health
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ore than four out of five Americans will suffer back pain at some time in our lives— and what’s most worrisome is that the incidence of back pain is on the rise. Too many of us lead sedentary lives. We spend too much time sitting, often with less than the best posture. Many of us are carrying too much weight. And in today’s uncertain economy, most of us are carrying too much stress, which tightens the muscles surrounding the spine. It’s never been more important to get back to the basics of better back health: ● Stretching ● Exercise ● Sleeping on a good mattress. Extended sitting—at a desk, in front of a computer or watching TV—is a major cause of back pain. On average, the body can tolerate being in one position for about 20 minutes before you need to adjust or get up and stretch. If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, experts recommend stopping and getting out to stretch every 90 minutes. Regular, moderate exercise is critical to a healthy back. Ask your doctor, chiropractor or fitness trainer to recommend a few exercises that will help strengthen your back and keep it flexible. There is a lot of good advice on taking care of your back—but it can all end up being a waste of time if you put your body to bed every night on a mattress and foundation that should have been replaced years ago. It’s during those 7-8 hours that your back is most in need of the right support, and sleeping on a new, top-quality mattress is the best way to ensure you’re getting it. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, participants reported a 63% reduction in back pain after they started sleeping on a new mattress.
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24 SleepSavvy • April 2010 9024 Dream 34375x10_SS.indd 1
www.sleepsavvymagazine.com 4/13/10 7:42:34 AM
CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer
Sleep in America Poll 2011
Electronics keeping Americans awake
n the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America poll, released in March, 95% of the 1,508 Americans surveyed reported using some type of electronic device— TV, computer, video game or cellphone—within an hour of bedtime at least a few nights a week.
Poor sleep pervasive The new poll found that 43% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on weeknights. And 60% say they experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night— snoring, waking in the night, waking up too early or not feeling refreshed when they get up in the morning. About two-thirds (63%) of Americans say their sleep needs are not met during the week. Most say they need about 7 1/2 hours of sleep to feel their best, but only get about six hours and 55 minutes on average weeknights. About 15% of adults between 19 and 64 and 7% of those 13 to 18 sleep less than six hours. In exploring the role of technology in poor sleep, the poll found that nearly everyone (95%) is routinely using some type of electronics within that critical hour before turning in. But it also identified important generational differences.
The generations Gen Zers - 13-18 years old Gen Yers - 19-29 years old Gen Xers - 30-45 years old Baby Boomers - 46-65 years old
About two-thirds of boomers (67%) and Xers (63%) and half of Zers (50%) and Yers (49%) watch TV every night or almost every night. Roughly six in 10 (61%) say they use their laptops or computers at least a few nights a week within the hour before bed. More than half of Zers (55%) and slightly less of Yers (47%) say they surf the Internet every night or almost every night within that hour. Zers (36%) and Yers (28%) are about twice as likely as Xers (15%) and boomers (12%) to say they play a video game within the hour before bedtime at least a few times a week. More than one in 10 (14%) Zers say they do so every night or almost every night before going to sleep. “This study reveals that lightemitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep. Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need,” says Charles Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D., Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Cellphone use—texting and talk-
ing—shows a significant age gap. More than half of Zers (56%) and nearly half of Yers (42%) say they send, read or receive text messages every night or almost every night in the hour before bed compared to 15% of Xers and just 5% of boomers. “The higher use of these potentially more sleep-disruptive technologies among younger generations may have serious consequences for physical health, cognitive development and other measures of well-being,” says Lauren Hale, Ph.D., Stony Brook University Medical Center. Cellphones are also causing disturbed sleep, especially among the young. About in one in 10 Xers (11%) say that they are awakened every night or almost every night by a phone call, text message or email. About one in five Yers (20%) and Zers (18%) say this happens at least a few nights a week. Youngest are sleepiest The two younger generations are sleepier than the two older groups, the poll revealed. Zers and Yers report more sleepiness than both boomers and Xers. Those 13 to 18 are the sleepiest of all. SleepSavvy • April 2011
profiling your customer Roughly one in five Zers (22%) and Yers (16%) rate as “sleepy” using a standard clinical assessment tool included in the poll. By comparison, one in 10 Xers (11%) and even fewer boomers (9%) rate as sleepy. Zers sleep an average of seven hours and 26 minutes on weeknights— about an hour and 45 minutes less than the nine hours and 15 minutes recommended by experts for this adolescent group. More than half of those 13 to 18 (54%) say they wake up between 5:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on weekdays—compared to 45% of Xers and boomers and 24% of Yers. “As children develop into their teenage years, their bodies are biologically predisposed toward later bedtimes,” says Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., an expert on adolescent sleep. “If they are required to get up before 6:30 to go to
school, it’s impossible for teens to get the amount of sleep they need.” Interestingly, teens and young adults take the most naps. More than half of Zers (53%) and Yers (52%) say they take at least one nap during the work week/school week compared to about four in 10 Xers (38%) and boomers (41%). Danger behind the wheel Among those whose daily schedules don’t allow for adequate sleep (about one-quarter of participants), it’s their daytime mood that suffers most. When evaluating the day after getting too little sleep, more than eight in 10 (85%) say that it affects their mood. Almost three-quarters (72%) say it affects their family life or home responsibilities, and about two-thirds (68%) say it affects their social life.
NOBODY TAKES “SLEEP TIGHT AND DON’T LET THE BED BUGS BITE” MORE SERIOUSLY.
For those who are employed and don’t get adequate sleep, about three quarters (74%) of those over 30 say that sleepiness affects their work. About two-thirds (61%) say that their intimate or sexual relations were affected by sleepiness. Sleepiness also plays a role in unsafe driving practices. Half of Yers (50%) say they drove while drowsy at least once in the past month. More than a third of Xers (40%) and about a third of Zers (30%) and boomers (28%) also admit to driving drowsy at least once a month. But an alarming number of Xers (12%), Yers (12%) and Zers (8%) say they drive drowsy once or twice a week. For additional information on the 2011 Sleep in America poll, visit the National Sleep Foundation website, www.sleepfoundation.org. ●
It’s likely you haven’t thought about that phrase since you were a kid. However, it’s shaping the way Pristine® manufactures bedding fabrics. Now that bed bugs are becoming a national epidemic, we’ve developed barrier fabrics used for mattress encasements and pillow covers that have been proven to effectively block bed bug bites. Pristine’s one-of-a-kind nonlaminated fabrics allow air and moisture vapor to pass through while also creating a barrier to bed bugs and irritating allergens.
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To learn more about how Pristine® Bedding Fabrics can protect your bottom line, simply contact Traci Broughton, Pristine Product Manager at 1-888-733-5759 or email email@example.com.
26 SleepSavvy • April 2011
BE MY GUEST by Pat Friesen
It's the 'little things' in your marketing messages that make a huge difference When rolled into a powerful marketing message, even the smallest copy and design elements can help increase or squelch success in delivering visits, calls and clicks to your store or website. Here are 17 of the “little things” in your marketing messages that need your attention: Present perfect. Use present tense verbs in subject lines, headlines, body copy and bullet points. Why? Immediacy encourages reader involvement and involvement leads to action. It’s the difference between: “You will receive 3 free gifts” and “You receive 3 free gifts” or “You will look slimmer in six days” and “Look slimmer in six days.”
Link up. Think of online links as response devices similar to a toll-free number or business reply card. Links allow readers to respond on the spot, so make them easy to find and rewarding to use. Use both text links and buttons that look like buttons to link to trackable landing pages and registration forms.
Preview perforations. A perforated reply form should make it easy to respond. Who checks
yours to make sure they’re effective? Case in point: I struggle with my VISA and Macy’s monthly statements because the perforation is a scant 1/16 inch from the fold line. And if I tear the stub along the fold line, it doesn’t fit properly in the reply envelope.
Spotlight your deadline. Deadlines work online and off. They create urgency that causes people to focus and make snappier decisions. When you use a deadline, don’t bury it. Mention it more than once in highly visible hot spots. It seems like a small thing, but it’s not.
Verbs start the story. Strong active verbs draw the reader’s eye and interest. Use them to start bullets, sentences, paragraphs and headlines. Examples: “Whiten your smile in seconds”, “Double your investment in just 30 days” and “Sleep better tonight!”
A sticky subject. Postal regulations have increased the use of stickiness in the mail. Make sure the wafer seals, fugitive glue and other adhesives used to make your direct mail pieces acceptable to the post office don’t depress response. If they’re too sticky, they make it difficult—if not impossible—for customers to open your mailings. This may sound obvious, but too often this critical detail isn’t noticed until after the mailing has dropped. I know from experience. SleepSavvy • April 2011
BE MY GUEST by Pat Friesen
Nobody reads letter
ics (1,795) are almost always more convincing than generalities (more than 1,700).
copy or website content
if it looks crowded and difficult to digest.
Sincerely yours. People, not companies, write letters. That’s true whether they’re delivered by traditional or electronic mail. At a minimum, close your message with a person’s name. Even better, add a signature. The reader’s eye is drawn to the signature because it’s different than typical typography and it’s a humanizing element.
Less is more. That’s especially true when you have only a nanosecond to capture your reader’s interest with a subject line, headline or envelope teaser. Skincare company Murad applied this principle in an email with the subject line, “NEW Exclusive Holiday Savings” followed by the click-through headline, “Give, Receive, Save!” These three verbs said it all when coupled with Murad’s offers in the preview pane.
Psssst…add a P.S. Direct response letters should always have one—emails can, too. Thirty percent of those scanning a letter read the P.S. first. Because of the need to scroll, P.S. readership in email may not be as high, but it’s still an opportunity to highlight a key benefit.
Read on! Avoid ending headlines and subheads with a period. To a reader, a period is a stop sign. You want your heads and subheads to create momentum that draws your reader into copy/content.
28 SleepSavvy • April 2011
A seed of an idea. While this isn’t a creative consideration, writers and designers appreciate seeing their work exactly as it is delivered. Ask your writers and designers if they want to be seeded on your email and traditional mailing lists as decoys. Doing this could plant the seed for future new ideas and garner useful feedback.
Readability rocks! Nobody reads letter copy or website content if it looks crowded and difficult to digest. And readability doesn’t only hinge on type size and style. Keep margins wide enough and line length short enough that people perceive the copy as being quick and easy to read. Also, avoid long paragraphs and look for ways to break them up.
Pay attention to postage. Postage not only pays for delivery, it’s an outer envelope hot spot used for screening mail. Consequently, the appearance of your postage and how it supports the other elements of your outer envelope (corner card, teaser, addressing, personalization) can make a major difference in response.
Specifics sell. Odd numbers (19,973) are more credible than even numbers (20,000). And specif-
If vs. when. When I have the choice to start a sentence with one of these two words, “when” wins 99.99% of the time. “When” implies immediacy and action; “if” is provisional. Example: “If you call us, you receive…” vs. “When you call us, you receive...”
People like people. People also like looking at other people. Show images of people in your emails, on landing pages, in brochures and ads. You don’t have to show the whole person to engage your reader. Just the glimpse of someone’s eyes, feet or even a nose draws the reader’s interest.
Numbers count. The numeral “9” is a faster read with more impact than the word “nine”—that’s why I use numerals whenever it’s appropriate. Also, “$10,000.00” is perceived as being greater than “$10,000.” When promoting a sweepstakes or scholarship, I include the extra digits—in this case, more is a good thing. But when I’m selling a product or service that costs $10,000 and my audience perceives that as expensive, I drop the extra zeros. ●
Pat Friesen is a direct response copywriter and creative strategist writing for online and traditional media. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 913-341-1211 or by visiting www.patfriesen.com. Also look for her at linkedin.com/in/ patfriesen.
CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris
A few thoughts on beating the competition
ealing with competition is one of the most difficult challenges that mattress RSAs face on a daily basis. Why is there so much competition? 1. Almost everybody is a potential mattress customer. 2. Almost everyone sleeps on a mattress every night. 3. Mattresses wear out and must be replaced. The bottom line is that mattresses are one of the best consumer products to sell. Is it any wonder that lots of people want a slice of this huge pie? Competitors cover the spectrum. While some are fair, others aren’t. Retailers with little else to offer tout low price, free services and long financing as the major reasons to buy a mattress. This ubiquitous “swing the door” mantra perpetuates the consumer mindset that mattresses are a commodity. While this may be changing, “getting a good deal” is still at the top of most consumers’ priority lists. Shoppers seeking that elusive best value have little concern as to where they buy. Almost everyone that visits your store has already visited at least one other retailer or has plans to do so. Let’s look at some ideas that can help turn your shoppers into buyers. ✔Accept reality. Like it or not, there will always be competitors that cause problems in the marketplace. Fortunately, competent RSAs have a great opportunity to influence where shoppers decide to buy, what they buy and how satisfied they will be with the product and the experience. ✔ Never bash the competition. It’s better to compliment competing retailwww.sleepsavvymagazine.com
“A merchant who approaches business with the idea of serving the public well has nothing to fear from the competition.” —James Cash Penney
ers or brands than to say something negative about them. For example: “Brand X makes a fine product, but let me show you what our customers like about our brands.” If some of your competitors aren’t worthy of praise, take my Mom’s advice: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” ✔ Knowledge is power. It’s important to find out what stores your shoppers have visited. It’s even more important to know as much as you can about your competitors and the products they offer. Visit them and check their websites regularly. ✔ Forget the canned pitch. Don’t use the “We have the best product, price and value” pitch. Shoppers hear this at every store. Try this approach instead: “There are lots of places to buy mattresses, but we do things differently. Our mission is to help each and every customer sleep better. I know how to help you find a bed
that is just right for you.” ✔ Focus on the customer. Most of your competitors are focusing on the product. It’s not how mattresses are constructed that matters—it’s what they do for your customer’s quality of life. ✔ Downplay the product. While this may sound like strange advice, if a customer wants to comparison shop brands and models, try saying, “Mattresses are actually pretty simple products. We offer brands that use top quality materials to provide you with maximum comfort, support and durability.” For many customers, that will do. For the rest, be prepared to make the case for your products without demeaning others. ✔ Don’t ask about brand. Never ask customers what brand they sleep on. Many people can’t remember anyway—or they may sleep on a brand they liked but that you don’t offer. ✔ Sell yourself. People prefer to buy from someone they like and trust. Follow these suggestions and give your complete attention to every customer with the goal of helping her sleep better. When you do, she’ll want to buy from you instead of the competition. ● Gerry Morris is an author, consultant, training coach and member of the National Speakers Association. With more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry, Gerry has helped manufacturers, retailers and RSAs around the world increase their sales. To find out what Gerry can do for your company, call 903-456-2015, email email@example.com or visit www.innerspring.net. SleepSavvy • April 2011
The magazine for sleep products professionals