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November/December 2010

The cover story

Enhancing your mattress sales with pillows & protectors


Louisiana’s Bedding Plus translates family values into sales growth BE MY GUEST

A woman’s shopping experience begins by breathing in MARKET SCENE

New products spotted at the High Point Market


It’s time.


IN THIS ISSUE where to find it


THE COVER STORY enhancing your mattress sales with pillows & protectors Selling pillows and protectors with the mattress and foundation as part of a complete package can boost revenues, reduce returns and make you a hero in customers’ eyes.

3 5


WAKE UP CALL from the editor’s desk

Research shows we’ll pay more for things we can reach out and touch. That suggests that mattress stores will always be a better bet than the Internet.






by Martin Roberts

Women can tell if a store environment is clean—and one she wants to shop in—the minute she enters. It begins by breathing in.

stuff you can use

Bedbugs take a bite out of romance; ‘Made in America’ boosts buyer preference; tips on keeping deliveries bedbugfree; ISPA predicts modest sales growth; companies should make employee naps mandatory; sleep rebalances stress hormones... and more.

BACK TALK supporting customer dreams

Does sleeping on a worn-out or poor-quality mattress contribute to restless sleep? You bet it does!

by Gerry Morris Want to sell lots of mattress protectors? Just talk to your customers like my wife Mary Jane.


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene


MARKET SCENE highlights of High Point

A photo album of product introductions at the October High Point Market.


Louisiana’s Bedding Plus chain has translated family values and consumer trust into sales and growth.

SleepSavvy • November/December 2010



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SleepSavvy The magazine for sleep products professionals

Editor in Chief Nancy Butler 828-299-7420 nbutler@sleepproducts.org Senior Writer Barbara Nelles 336-856-8973 bnelles@sleepproducts.org Contributors Dr. Bob Deutsch Steven King Gerry Morris Martin Roberts Creative Director Stephanie Belcher The Jimmydog Design Group stephanie@jimmydog.com Vice President of Advertising Sales Kerri Bellias 336-945-0265 kbellias@sleepproducts.org Advertising Services Manager Debbie Robbins 336-342-4217 drobbins@sleepproducts.org Circulation Manager Mary Rulli 336-491-0443 mrulli@sleepproducts.org Copy Editor Margaret Talley-Seijn Vol. 9, No. 8 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 828-299-7420. Fax 703-683-4503. Advertising services: 1613 Country Club Dr., Reidsville, North Carolina 27320. Phone 336-342-4217. 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: Personnel at ISPA member companies qualify for complimentary subscriptions, subject to restrictions. Nonmembers and all 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 336-431-0317. ©2010 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

Let’s hear it for the high value of ‘high touch’!


redictions that e-commerce will eventually be the death of brick-and-mortar retailers in virtually every category you can name are being further fueled by the exploding use of social networks as marketing tools. It’s already been shown that mattresses can be sold on the Internet, so does all this mean the predictions will come true? Not so fast! According to new research done at the California Institute of Technology, such prognostications fail to take into account an important element in human behavior: We prefer to buy things that we can actually touch. In fact, Caltech researchers showed that consumers will pay more for products that are physically accessible, even if not touched. Their investigations into how people assign value to consumer goods appear in the September issue of the American Economic Review. Touch takes value up 50% In the initial research, foods were presented in three forms—in a text-only format, in a high-resolution photo and on a tray placed in front of the subjects. Then, the Caltech team measured subjects’ willingness to pay for the food. As it turned out, there was no difference between the value they put on the food depicted in the text or in the photo. But the values on the food on the tray right in front of them were an average of 50% higher. Then, to take the sense of smell out of play, researchers used a variety of trinkets instead of food. The results were the same. The subjects were willing to pay, on average, 50% more for items they could reach out and touch.

Finally, the Caltech team put a Plexiglass barrier between the subjects and the items. Once the possibility of physical contact was eliminated, the value subjects gave to the items fell to the same level as the text and photo presentations. “Even if you don’t touch the item,” said Caltech’s Antonio Rangel, “the fact that it is physically present seems to be enough.” The behavior is driven by a classic Pavlovian response (Pavlov’s dogs salivated when they heard a sound connected with being fed), which is more likely to occur when contact with the stimulus is possible, he said. “If there’s no way for you to touch the item, then the Pavlovian motor response would be absent and your drive to consume the item thus significantly lessened.” Why should you care about these findings? Because mattresses and bedding accessories are so touchable. Mattresses sell best in person because they are best sold based on how they feel to the body. Even better, when they can be experienced, your chances of upselling are vastly improved. So, let’s hear it for the value of good, old-fashioned, hightouch, in-store retailing. It seems that, at heart, we’re all just like Pavlov’s infamous dogs. Arf.

nbutler@sleepproducts.org SleepSavvy • November/December 2010







SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

Bedbugs taking a bite out of romance

For information on coping with the bedbug epidemic, turn to page 7.

With bedbugs popping up everywhere, spreading the fear of irritating bites and costly remedies, AreYouInterested.com, a dating app on Facebook, polled singles to find out how the infestation is affecting their quest for love. ● 56% of responders would leave their date if they noticed bedbug bites on his/her skin ● 45% would use bedbugs as an excuse to get out of a bad date ● 47% would ask if their date had bedbugs before going back to his/her place ● 45% would cancel a date if someone admitted to a bed bug infestation ● 35% have changed their usual dating spots because of a fear of bedbugs.

You miss 100% of the shots you never take.

— Wayne Gretzky

Looking for a place to recycle old mattresses?


he International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) has updated and expanded its directory of used mattress recycling facilities in North America. To view the directory, go to www.sleepsavvymagazine.com and click on the recycling icon. ISPA has identified 27 facilities that dismantle used mattresses and foundations and recycle the steel, foam, fiber and other materials. When old bedding is torn down, it keeps these bulky used products out of the nation’s landfills and out of the hands of unscrupulous renovators. It also recycles tons of materials that can be used to make other products. ISPA is urging retailers and mattress manufacturers to patronize these facilities wherever possible. If you know of other mattress recyclers that are not in the directory, please let the association know by emailing ISPA President Ryan Trainer at rtrainer@sleepproducts.org. The directory is maintained as a service to the industry—all listings are provided free of charge.


SleepSavvy • November/December 2010



stuff you can use

‘Made in America’ boosts buyer appeal


hree in five Americans (61%) say they are more likely to purchase something when the ad promotes it as “Made in America,” according to the results of an Adweek Media/Harris Poll. Just 3% are less likely to purchase a product advertised as made in the U.S. Age plays a role in the popularity of American-made products. Three-quarters (75%) of U.S. adults age 55 and older say an ad emphasizing a product is “Made in America” would make them more likely to buy that product, compared to twothirds (66%) of those 45 to 54 and three in five (61%) of those 35 to 44. The number drops

considerably among the youngest adults, with just 44% of those age 18 to 34 saying an ad emphasizing a product is “Made in America” would make purchase more likely. More than half (52%) say it would make no difference. There are also interesting regional differences. Twothirds of Midwesterners (67%) say they are more likely to purchase a product when an ad emphasizes its American origins. This drops to six in 10 Southerners (61%) and Easterners (60%), and just more than half of Westerners (57%). The Adweek Media/Harris Poll was conducted online in late July among 2,163 U.S. adults.

Moderate growth forecast through 2012


fter suffering year-overyear declines during the recession, the U.S. mattress industry is projected to experience moderate growth through 2012, according to the most recent forecast from the International Sleep

6 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010

Products Association (ISPA), issued in September. For 2010, unit shipments of mattresses and foundations and the wholesale dollar value of those shipments are both forecast to be up 5.5%. Those gains would

reverse two years of decreases in 2008 and 2009 and a mixed but lackluster sales picture in 2007. Moderate gains are expected for 2011, as well. Unit shipments are projected to increase 5.7% and dollar value is forecast to grow 3.5%. In 2012, projections call for unit shipments to rise 4.4% and dollar value to increase 7.8%. That would bring the total size of the U.S. mattress market to $6.8 billion (wholesale) in 2012. Mattress prices aren’t expected to show an increase for 2010, but the forecast predicts a 2.1% gain in average unit selling price (wholesale) in 2011 and an additional 3.3% rise in 2012. The forecast is produced by ISPA’s Statistics Committee. It’s based on economic analysis prepared by the University of Michigan, as well as consensus input from the ISPA Forecast Panel, which is made up of leading mattress producers and components suppliers. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


stuff you can use

Start a mattress cleaning service?


eteran mattress sales professional and former Sleep Savvy columnist Steven King emailed recently with an interesting idea to share: Mattress retailers are in a business with the longest sales cycle going. Once your customer buys from you, she’s not coming back for years. By the time she returns to the market, it may not matter how great a buying experience you provided—much of it is forgotten. So, she may start the buying process all over again—unless you stay in touch. Here’s how: Offer a mattress cleaning and sanitizing service. It’s a huge and growing business in Europe (and in pockets of the U.S.) It provides an expanded opportunity for you to stay in touch and be there when a mattress needs replacing. It’s also an additional opportunity for profit in tough times. A mattress really should be cleaned and sanitized annually. When needed, your trained sanitizing technician can then offer replacement advice, along with a moneysaving coupon to encourage her to return to your store. After all, you sell and service mattresses—so you are the expert. A mattress cleaning service is an affordable startup and can provide major benefits to your bottom line. Customers will love it!

Steven King is author of Money in The Mattress: The Sales Associate’s Guide to Premium Mattress Sales and president of The Idea Farm, a consulting firm specializing in growth strategies for smaller retailers. You can email him at sk.skig@comcast.net. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


Deliver mattresses, not bedbugs


n the wake of the bedbug epidemic, consumers are shying away from having new mattresses delivered to their homes because they fear infestation on a truck that’s also carrying old mattresses. So if your delivery team is picking up used mattresses and foundations, prevent cross-contamination inside the truck by wrapping used bedding in plastic and securing it with tape along all seams. Do this outside the home before placing it on the truck—you don’t want any critters hitchhiking on top of the wrapped bed. Inside the truck, keep used bedding segregated from new merchandise. Also, before carrying the new bed into the home, unwrap it outside and leave all of the wrapping outside. Clean delivery trucks daily— remove old wrappings and sweep or vacuum. You might also want to do preventive fumigation of truck interiors on a regular basis. Consult the EPA bedbug website, www.epa.gov/bedbugs, to find the safest pesticide cocktail for your vehicles or contact a professional exterminator. You can invest in regular canine inspections, too. Bekins, the first moving company to advertise bedbug-free certification of its fleet, uses a combination of all these methods. Extreme weather can also be helpful in keeping delivery trucks bedbug free. Park trucks outside in the hot sun or in winter’s freezing temperatures. It just may kill off any bedbugs that thumbed a ride on the delivery route.

More information sources The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has created a bedbug fact sheet with many helpful links. Go to www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/vector/vector-faq1.shtml. One FAQ is titled “Preventing and Getting Rid of Bedbugs Safely;” another covers how to choose and work with a pest control company. Go to YouTube to get a close-up look at bedbugs in action. The humorously hair-raising, yet informative, “Bed Bugs! Attack!” has more than 700,000 views and includes an interview with a University of Kentucky entomologist.

SleepSavvy • November/December 2010



stuff you can use

Men shop too: Four fundamental gender differences marketers need to know


ou cannot market to men the same way you market to women, says Dr. Bob Deutsch. Men and women are different biologically, psychologically and socially. Men live in the now. They are concrete thinkers who like to get things finished. A male axiom is “complete what you set out to do.” Consider four fundamental gender differences and their impact on marketing:


These kinds of underlying, fundamental gender differences can have critical implications, not only for what makes an item compelling, but also for store design and product layout. For example, many women like the challenge of the somewhat disorganized and catch-as-catch-can nature of places such as TJ Maxx or Marshalls. Men—even men who shop in such places because of price—are not there out of joy or desire.


Time. Men tend to hone in more quickly than women Other people. For the male, it’s every man for on what they’re looking for. Men are not browsers. A male motto is “Get what I want and move on.” Men shop for what they need now. Women can shop for something and put it away for later. An interesting reflection of how men and women relate differently to time is found in how differently they follow instructions for antibiotics prescribed by their doctors. Very often, men will stop taking antibiotics as soon as they feel better, even though the regimen’s effectiveness calls for a full 14-day intake. Women complete the recommended regimen much more frequently than men. Women want to get the underlying dynamics of things, while men attend to the mundane mechanics of life.


Causality. Men are concrete and tend to tightly focus their awareness. Their notion of cause and effect is linear, and men are visually oriented because of this concrete literality. What you see is what is, literally. Seeking clarity, men create absolute distinctions: black-white, yes-no. Women often think, “It depends.” You almost never hear a man voice this sentiment. These different ways of defining “what leads to what” also impacts “what goes with what.” Men dislike ensembles. Men tend to buy individual items. In contrast, many women like to think about how they can put together outfits and are creative in selecting, say, a variation on a scarf or a belt that will change the nature of one basic dress.

himself. Men prize individuality and self-reliance. They conceive other people as “my competition.” Daily life for them is a contest with winners and losers. This is in contrast to women, who often view other people as a source of strength. Note, too, that men never shop together. Women often shop with a friend and make a day of it. A man focuses on himself—the “me” while a woman is focused on the “we.” Men are interested in power. Women are more interested in security. Men relate to things themselves. Women relate to the relationship between things. Dr. Bob Deutsch, a cognitive anthropologist, is president and founder of Brain Sells, a strategic branding consultancy in Boston. You can contact him by email at dr.bob@brain-sells.com, by phone at 917-215-4800 or visit his website at www.brain-sells.com.

Just for laughs


Space. Men structure and relate to space as compart-

mented and sequential. To men, space is not relational, as it is for women. For example, when a woman gives directions, she will say, “Go three blocks south (as she points or orients in the direction indicated), then bear right, and when you see the clock tower, watch for your street on the right.” Men say, “Go three blocks to Pullman Street and turn left on to Main, then turn left to Brighton Street.”

8 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010



stuff you can use

Companies should insist employees take naps


t least that’s the recommendation in a Harvard Business Review article posted Sept. 20. Good luck, right? Most businesses remain committed to a work ethic that sneers at snoozing on the job. But HBR says the reality is that naps are a powerful source of competitive advantage. “The recent evidence is overwhelming. Naps are not just physically restorative, but also improve perceptual skills, motor skills, reaction time and alertness,” writes Tony Schwartz, author of the new book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working. For Schwartz, taking 20- to 30-minute naps after intense bouts of writing proved incredibly rejuvenating. “Where I might otherwise have dragged myself through the afternoon, I was able to focus effectively on work other than writing until 7 p.m. or so, without feeling fatigued,” he says. When Harvard researcher Sara Mednick gave subjects a memory

challenge and allowed half of them to take a 60- to 90-minute nap, the nappers dramatically outperformed the non-nappers. Studies also show that pilots allowed to nap 30 minutes on long-haul flights experienced a 16% increase in reaction time. Nonnapping pilots experienced a 3% decrease over the course of the flight. Matthew Walker, a sleep researcher at UC Berkeley, told the Schwartz that, “A nap not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness, but at a neurocognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before you took a nap.” The best time for a nap is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., when the body hits a natural valley in alertness, and the

ideal length is 30 minutes or less. This keeps you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep and awakening with a heavy feeling called “sleep inertia.” Despite the evidence, Schwartz was unable to find a single company that actively encourages naps. Google is one that provides napping facilities, but using them is not the norm for this fast-paced company. “Napping won’t begin to take hold in companies until leaders recognize that it’s not the number of hours people work that determines the value they create, but rather the energy they’re capable of bringing to whatever hours they work,” writes Schwartz. “If encouraging employees to take a half-hour nap means they can be two or three times as productive over the subsequent three hours late in the day…it’s a win-win and a great investment.” Sleep Savvy thinks mattress retailers and manufacturers should lead the way.


Making SEO easy and affordable for your store A whopping 70% of consumers go online for information about local businesses first. There are easy—and free—routes to optimize those local searches for your store. First, claim your business listing at Google, Yahoo and Bing maps. At www.searchmarketingweekly.com, SEO expert Greg Shuey says you can further fuel your local search engine rankings by generating “citations” at web directories such as Super Pages, City Search, Insider Pages, Best of the Web Local, City Pages Yelp and others. Determine which are relevant to local mattress shoppers by conducting sample searches. What directories appear for a query “queen mattress in Kalamazoo”? Add your business to each and maximize the allowable


content—website address, store hours, photos, special promotions, etc. It’s a good idea to claim your business at rating site Yelp even before you rack up reviews. The dashboard allows you to customize your listing and receive emails when reviews post. You also get excellent advice on handling negative comments at www.yelp.com/business/ review_response. A full 69% of consumers say they are more likely to use a local business if it has information available at social sites like Yelp, Facebook and Twitter. Get more information about local search and your business at www.localsearchstudy.com.

SleepSavvy • November/December 2010



stuff you can use Sleep rebalances your stress hormones

Sleep Shorts

Sleep suppresses stress hormones such as cortisol and spurs the release of others, like DHEA, which plays a major role in protecting the body from stress, according to a recent posting from Prevention magazine on the Today Health website. Researchers at Yale University monitored the hormone levels of Special Forces soldiers involved in dangerous underwater operations. They found that higher DHEA levels predicted which divers were most stress-resistant. Other Yale researchers found that among women diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those with higher levels of DHEA have fewer negative moods. Best way to boost DHEA and beat stress? Get more sleep.

Trying to lose weight? Gain sleep! Not getting enough sleep may keep you from losing those extra pounds when dieting, according to findings published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. A group of 10 people age 35 to 49 who were considered obese followed a low-calorie diet for one month. Researchers had participants follow two different sleep regimens—7.5 hours for the first two weeks and 5.5 hours for the second two weeks. Each person consumed approximately 1,450 calories per day. During the first phase, participants lost more than three pounds of body fat. But in phase two, when their sleep was restricted to two fewer hours, they only lost about one pound of body fat. “Cutting back on sleep—a behavior that is ubiquitous in modern society—appears to compromise efforts to lose fat through dieting,” concluded Plamen Penev, lead researcher.

10 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010

If you want to sleep well, live to be 100

People who live to be 100 or more sleep unusually well, according to a study in the May issue of the journal SLEEP. The study examined sleep issues in a large sample of elderly Chinese adults, including nearly 2,800 people who were over 100. About 65% said their sleep quality was good or very good, and the average sleep time was about 7.5 hours, including naps. Surprisingly, adults age 100 and above were 70% more likely to report good sleep quality than those 65 to 79. Men were 23% more likely than women to report sleeping well. Adults over 80 tended to sleep for a shorter or longer time than those 65 to 79, primarily due to deteriorating health. When results were controlled for health conditions, participants over 100 were less likely to sleep for five or fewer hours but almost three times more likely to sleep for 10 hours or more.

Lark or owl? Your hair knows A strand of your hair can reveal whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, according to a recent Japanese study. Researchers at Yamaguchi University discovered that the genes that regulate our 24-hour body clocks can be found in hair-follicle cells. Sample hairs were pulled from subjects who reported different preferences for sleeping and waking schedules. For the test, the morning people woke up early and the late sleepers woke up late. Researchers found that body-clock gene activity in the hair strands peaked immediately after each awoke, whether it was 6 a.m. or 10 a.m. So it seems that the brain turns on the bodyclock genes at different times of the morning for different people. You probably already know whether you’re a lark or an owl, but now you can tell people “It’s in my genes.”


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New Strategies for Reshaping Your Business

RETAILER REGISTRATION IS JUST $269!* Keynote: ‘Blue Oceans’ – Navigating your way to undiscovered markets

The All-Industry Event for Mattress Manufacturers, Retailers, and Suppliers l




Discover how to transform your business by changing the way you interact with customers Hear a panel of mattress manufacturing and retail executives as they discuss the issues and obstacles to establishing more productive, collaborative partnerships Learn about the latest developments in used mattress recycling, including the results of a recent pilot program, retailer involvement and emerging trends Hear important information for manufacturers and retailers on how the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will affect your business

Exhibits included!

Dr. Roch Parayre, business strategist and fellow at the Wharton School will share how companies such as Netflix and Southwest Airlines have achieved industry dominance, not by battling competitors, but by identifying “blue oceans,” the untapped innovative market spaces ready for growth. Find how how you can help your business flourish by uncovering your own “blue oceans.”

March 16-18, 2011 | St. Petersburg, FL Timely, information-packed sessions with expert guest speakers Manufacturer-Retailer Panel: How Can We Work Better…Together? In a candid discussion

you’ll hear what industry executives have to say about the issues, the obstacles and their perspectives on how retailers and manufacturers can establish more productive, collaborative partnerships to grow the mattress business for all.

Put Money in Your Pocket: Redesigning the Customer Experience. Businesses from car dealer-

ships to hospitals have achieved excellent results by making dynamic changes to their customer experiences. Join Mike Wittenstein to find out how applying customer experience design concepts to the mattress business can mean big gains for manufacturers, suppliers and retailers.

The Power of Social and Digital Media. Your social media presence is more important than ever. Hear from the Better Sleep Council’s new public relations firm about the importance of using social and digital media to communicate with the masses. Also learn why video is becoming the platform of choice to reach consumers. The Sustainable Mattress.

Recycling continues to be an important issue for the mattress industry, as more communities are either refusing used mattresses in landfills or are charging large disposal fees. Hear about ongoing used mattress recycling programs, new mattress recyclers and technology, retailer involvement and other efforts to address these issues.

CPSIA Implementation: Am I Complying?

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 included many new testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and presents significant questions manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of consumer products. This overview will help you navigate the new rules and understand your new obligations.

Network and Build Relationships at Relaxed Social Events! Connect with customers, colleagues, and business partners. Don’t miss the annual ISPA Golf Tournament!

ISPA Women’s Network Cocktail Reception Calling all women in the mattress industry! Help celebrate the new ISPA Women’s Network, a volunteer networking and professional group established to serve the rapidly growing number of women in all sectors of the industry — manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers!

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The cover story

Enhancing your mattress sales—and her sleep— with pillows & protectors

14 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010


By Barbara Nelles


till haven’t gotten serious about selling pillows and mattress protectors? Why not? These products are high-margin sales that most sleep shops and mattress departments let walk right out the door to Bed Bath & Beyond. They complement— even enhance—the mattress sale and they are necessities. So it makes sense to offer consumers the convenience of buying them along with their new mattress as part of a complete sleep system. Mattress retailers have a particular advantage when it comes to selling pillows and protectors. Unlike big boxes and mass merchants, the mattress sales floor provides a unique opportunity to lie down and try out the products. What’s more, shoppers that leave your store clutching a new pillow are less likely to get home and cancel their mattress order—at least that’s what pillow makers say. Mattress protection, most often sold as a stain preventer and a way to preserve the manufacturer’s warranty, is soaring in popularity. Presented as “health protectors,” these impermeable covers can keep beds hygienic, dry, dust mite-free and now—with increasing www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

importance—bedbug-free. “Offering these products establishes you as a sleep expert and can increase customer loyalty by touching consumers in between those infrequent mattress purchases,” says Chris Montross, vice president of marketing for sleep accessories supplier Cadence Keen Solutions. “Retailers are telling us they are supplementing revenues by as much as 40% with accessories sales.” Those who are serious about achieving success selling these soft goods will need to adjust mindsets and provide training, support and incentives to RSAs. A good place to start, says Guy Eckert, executive vice president of Outlast Technologies, maker of temperature-regulating fabrics for sleep products, is to have sales associates sleep on the products they’re selling. “When you’re pitching something new with particular features and benefits, you need to take them home and experience them for yourself. Then you’ll have much better success selling them.”

SleepSavvy • November/December 2010



enhancing your mattress sales In-your-face displays Vendors advise retailers to display pillows and protection vertically, visibly and up off the floor. If the store entrance is next to the beds, put some display units there. If not, place product along a prominent wall or in the center of the bedding floor. You might also want to put some sellable product along with samples, swatches and other POP materials right on beds. They’ll be easier to incorporate into the sales process and less likely to be forgotten by the RSA. A great display with an appealing value promise plants the seed with consumers that your store is “my source” for these products, Eckert says. Keep the products in stock and the displays neat—not cluttered or jumbled, says Dan Schecter, vice president of sales and marketing for Carpenter Co.’s consumer products division. “Find a manufacturer who can service you in a timely manner.

Pillow display at Ikea

Keep back stock on fixtures and in the backroom. Display items close to the beds so the sales associate can grab them for use during the sale.” “Consumers are pretty smart these days,” says Herman Tam, group vice president of sales and marketing for Leggett & Platt Consumer Products Group. “If your soft goods are promi-

Bedbug invasion spikes demand for encasements


tains that void a manufacturer’s warranty used to be the fear factor behind sales of impenetrable protectors. Now it’s bedbugs. They’ve been found in all 50 states after having virtually disappeared for close to a half-century. The tiny pests are making headlines, not just in major cities, but in homes, hotels, movie theaters and retail stores everywhere. The invasion of these blood-sucking, pesticide-resistant bugs is a powerful— if unpleasant—stimulus to sales of total encasement products for mattresses, box springs and pillows. Top-of-the line, six-sided mattress protectors seal the critters inside and prevent their brethren from taking up residence. Previously, encasements were used as part of the treatment for an existing infestation. Now nervous consumers are buying them as a preventative measure too. Within the last six months, vendors say they’ve experienced a major spike in encasement sales. “If you sell encasements, I’d put a sign in the window that says you offer bedbug protection—it will draw in customers,” says Chris Montross, vice president of marketing for sleep accessories supplier Cadence Keen Solutions. Some savvy consumers are opting to buy a second, easier-to-remove and wash, five-sided protector to place over the encasement, notes Mike Wilson, regional sales and merchandising manager for sleep products supplier Glideaway. “It makes sense for retailers to offer these consumers a discount on the second protector.”

16 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010

nently displayed, shoppers will see them within 30 seconds of entering the store. Without any words being spoken, it will register—‘I need pillows.’” “Every shopper may not be getting the pitch for mattress protection and pillows—that’s when the display is really important,” says Sean Bergman, vice president of marketing for protection products maker Fabrictech International. “You want the retail environment to do its job and invite customers in.” Consider covering a test bed or two with mattress protectors. Most shoppers are unfamiliar with advancements in the feel of today’s barrier products. They’ve come a long way from their crunchy, squeaky vinyl beginnings. “We have mini-mattresses with mini-protectors on them so you can feel the texture and see the sidewall, too,” says Dave Powers, president of protection supplier GBS Enterprises. Furniture stores with a central checkout area should have a second mini-display of mattress protectors, Powers says. “It’s a last chance. Instruct checkout personnel to ask shoppers who haven’t bought protectors if they were told about the mattress protection program—and reward them for any sales they make.” Continued on page 20 www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

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enhancing your mattress sales Choice is key to up-selling When you offer a range of pillow technologies—visco-elastic, latex, down and engineered fibers in different silhouettes, as well as functional products that enhance airflow, moisture absorption or heat dissipation—you are telling consumers your store has made a commitment to the category. Aim for pillow selections that open at $50 and above—leave sales of standard poly-fiber pillows to the big boxes. The highest-quality pillows today retail for upwards of $300. “The thinking now is to offer a good-better-best selection with different sleep-position SKUs,” says Jeff Chilton, senior vice president of sales and marketing at soft goods supplier Perfect Fit Industries. “You’ll also want your accessories brands to be generic enough that they fit with any mattress brand you carry.” Twelve pillow choices isn’t too many, says Niles Cornelius, general manager of Hickory At Home, the consumer products division of Hickory Springs Mfg. Co. “And ideally, they would be displayed on slanted shelves right above the beds, so the sales associate can easily reach for different options to hand the shopper while they’re testing the beds.” “With pillows and protectors, apply the same philosophy you use to sell mattresses,” he advises. “Start by showing the best to everybody and you’ll sell more of the middle price point. In mattress protection, that may mean three covers at $79, $129 and $199. Stores only offering a basic waterproof terry zip cover at about $79 are leaving $50 on the table.” Typically, there are three levels of mattress protection: One-sided starter protectors in waterproof cotton terry, offering a degree of dust mite resistance; five-sided encasements with dust-mite resistance and waterproof on five sides; and total encasements that are completely waterproof, and

20 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010

Popular trends in pillows ● Functional fabrics and cores— antibacterial, breathable, temperature-regulating, moisturewicking ● Zippered, washable pillow covers ● “Natural” fibers, fabrics and cores ● Cores with “gel fiber,” “solid gel substrates,” and now “gelinfused” foams ● An enormous variety of shapes and sizes from body pillows to lumbar pillows ● Problem-solving pillows—for sleep apnea, snoring, breast feeding ● Dual-comfort pillows ● Aromatherapy fabrics and cores. dust mite- and bedbug-proof on all six sides. “Play an ‘association game’ with customers to learn their needs and associate them with the various products you offer,” Eckert says. “Do some data mining in the beginning and build on that. Is she a boomer woman? Then she’s probably suffering from night sweats. Tailor your pillow and protector pitch to her needs.” Pillows part of the sleep system Pillows are a very personal possession. Many consumers hang onto them for far too long—as the viral YouTube music video “2 Guys 600 Pillows” attests. This hilarious “Backwards Music Video,” created by Carpenter Co., takes a look at the perils of an unhygienic pillow. “A bad pillow can lead to a dissatisfied customer,” says Dave Wachendorfer, vice president of sales development and retail training at Tempur-Pedic North America. “It’s possible to invest in a new mattress set but still have pain issues and a poor night’s sleep due to an old pillow or a new one that is poorly fitted. Assume that shoppers

need to replace their pillows as badly as they need to replace their mattresses.” Choosing a comfortable pillow that works in harmony with a new mattress is crucial to overall purchase satisfaction, Schecter says. “We’ve done pressure-mapping studies of pillows with different body types on a variety of sleep surfaces. Results show that an ill-fitting pillow can cause extra pressure on shoulders and hips.” “Before you walk them through the comfort-testing process, help the consumer pick out a comfortable pillow—you’re not ‘selling’ the pillow, you’re offering it as a service,” Tam says. “By presenting the pillow as a service to help them find the perfect mattress, you expose the consumer to the product and get them to interact with it. Studies show that when you’re allowed to touch and feel something, you’re much more likely to purchase.” “You introduce the pillow first,” says Michael Rothbard, president and CEO of Sleep Studio, a manufacturer of foam pillows and mattresses. “Offer to help the consumer find the right pillow before going to try the mattresses. At the very least, choose a basic pillow for the consumer to use— you don’t want them testing beds with the decorative bolster.” “Do more than say ‘pick one’,” advises Julia Rosien, communications director for sleep products maker Natura World. “You need to find out how they sleep and what their preferences are. It’s an education process.” Asking diagnostic questions during pillow qualification serves to educate the consumer about the importance of pillows: Do you wake up with headaches? Do you feel any pain or soreness in neck or shoulders in the morning? How old is your pillow? How many pillows do you sleep with? “If you want to get the customer to ‘own the pillow,’ the RSA needs to take a new pillow right out of a bag for them—don’t take out used www.sleepsavvymagazine.com








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pillows—and have them carry it around the showroom as they try out beds,” says Kevin Stein, vice president of marketing and research and development at Latex International. Women in particular may be reluctant to test your pillows without a sanitary cover, so invest in disposable or washable covers. Options include nonwoven zippered covers, slip-on pillow sleeves, paper covers on a roll similar to paper towels and washable pillowcases. Side, back or stomach sleeper doesn’t tell the whole story when fitting a customer for the correct pillow. “Realize that the proper fit is affected by the plushness of the bed the customer chooses,” says Ron Fredman, executive vice president of sleep products supplier Glideaway. “A softer bed requires a lowerprofile pillow than a more firm one in order to make sure there is proper head, neck and spine alignment.” “The pillow and the mattress sale ought to flow together because the two work together,” says Andrea Mugnai, general manager of mattress and pillow maker Magniflex. “You can begin with the mattress sale or with the pillow sale. In fact,

22 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010

a pillow is a good first purchase and introduction to your store.” Health factor vs. fear factor Urine, blood, dust mites, dead skin cells, perspiration, bedbugs—topics too gross to talk about with consumers? Not if handled with care, protector vendors say. “You have to get down to the nittygritty with consumers when selling these products. It’s not pretty, but you have to find ways of talking to shoppers about protecting their investment and their health,” Rosien says. Mattress protection companies typically guarantee stain protection for a period of 10 years, and will clean or replace stained beds. If a warranty claim to a mattress manufacturer is denied due to staining, the protector company will replace the bed. “Tell consumers that a mattress protector does more than protect the manufacturer’s warranty, it provides a much healthier sleep surface,” Montross says. “Without it, they shed about one gram of skin cells and one-half liter of perspiration each night—right into their mattress. Keeping out moisture will extend the life of their new mattress by as much as 30%.”

“Sell protectors with confidence,” says James Bell, CEO of supplier Protect-A-Bed. “If a consumer has no other health problem, perspiration alone feeds dust mites that contribute to allergies. It’s easy to understand why every mattress needs protection—compare it to wearing the same shirt for 10 years without laundering it.” When it comes to specific health problems, the audience for mattress protection is growing, Montross adds. “In addition to all the allergy sufferers out there, one in four households is caring for an elderly adult at home; 25 million baby boomers are already incontinent and 19 million have a respiratory disease that can be impacted by dust mites.” The right time to bring up mattress protection during a mattress sale is a subject of debate. It takes practice to smoothly integrate protectors into the mattress pitch. Most vendors advise that you mention protection early in the qualifying process, if only to say, “Later I’m going to talk to you—or I mustn’t forget to talk to you— about how to protect your investment and your health.” “Most consumers are familiar with old-fashioned mattress pads, but protectors are about protecting the bed without changing the feel of it, and that’s new to them,” Wachendorfer says. “If you start talking about a new product they know nothing about right from the start, you may put them off. They’ll be more open to listening later in the sale once they know you better.” When you introduce the protector, don’t say “Do you need a mattress protector?” Bergman says. “Say, ‘It seems you’ve found the right mattress for you, now we’d like to show you three options to protect your investment and keep it www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

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enhancing your mattress sales tional return. It helps to control the number of comfort returns and offsets some of the costs associated with these programs.

as healthy as it can be.’” In recent years, a growing number of retailers have begun pairing mattress protection with their

24 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010

comfort guarantees. Consumers must purchase this extra measure of protection in exchange for the privilege of making an uncondi-

Skip the giveaways What is a pillow or protector worth to consumers? Not much if it’s free with a mattress purchase. Giving product away guarantees consumers will not return to your store for a protector or pillow. “When you throw in the protector, you devalue it and eliminate the potential of selling them for other beds in the consumer’s home,” says Bell. “It’s OK to give away basic fiber pillows with a mattress purchase, then have premium step-ups available at discounted prices,” Fredman says. “And with queen and king sets, you should plan on selling two or more.”



enhancing your mattress sales “If you must offer a pillow giveaway with a mattress purchase, consider using your floor samples,” Wachendorfer recommends. “You’ll want to turn those frequently because even with protective cases they can get dirty.” “You can make the pillow and protector sale seamless from the beginning by bundling it with the mattress in a single starting price,” suggests Dave Young, owner of sleep products manufacturer Durable Products Company. “Today’s budget-conscious shopper is not going to come in and spend an extra couple of hundred dollars than they’d planned for on add-ons. McDonald’s doesn’t tell you the Coke in your Value Meal is free—it’s an all-inclusive deal. Later, if the consumer objects to the pricing,

you can peel back items and reduce the price while still maintaining your margins.” Encourage RSAs with cash Pillows and protection are highmargin items that can support higher commission rates of 15% to 20%. “RSAs tend to be completely focused on the mattress sale,” says Bob Hickman, senior vice president of soft goods manufacturer United Feather and Down. “You need to offer special incentives and spiffs that truly motivate them to sell pillows and protection products too.” A retailer’s commitment to accessories starts at the top,” Stein says. “Management needs to buy into the role of accessories and their contribution to the bottom line. Contests are

always a good motivator for RSAs. Offer cash prizes to those who sell the most.” “You can increase store revenues by more than 30% by striving for a 50% and above attachment rate on pillows and protection with every mattress sale,” Young says. “Six percent to 20% is too low.” “Shoot for a 100% attachment rate,” Powers counters. “Provide RSAs with goals, monitoring, ongoing training and proper compensation.” “Often RSAs miss out on additional dollars because they’ve already upsold the customer from a $1,000 to a $3,000 mattress and worry about upsetting them by pitching pillows and protection,” Bergman adds. “But they’re just going to go buy these items elsewhere.” ●


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the temporary the bugs forced oria’s Secret isory for Board closures of a Vict a Bed Bug Adv enting ons are prev e and Fitch. The on stati s mbi infe focu rcro to bug Bed and Abe in 2009 ng amo rid their stores ’ve lore n they shops say infestations. the stuff of urba York are the stuff apartment According to New of the infestations New York City are the ervation pests appear n lore infestations Housing for Pres nt, urba ’s of City dwellers. The tiny t departme the bane of city n lore among New men me urba elop of beco f Dev stuf have and to nt. in the city tme nts apar plai too. com ers, City York bedbug shopkeep pests the bugs over the past Dwellers he tiny In recent days, have skyrocketed over 500 become the bane ry closures just appear to have five years, from forced the tempora and in 2009. among Secret 4 to over 10,000 city shopkeepers 200 of in of a Victoria’s apartment of a Fitch. The New York state New York City Abercrombie and ar es In June, the ed a law requiring dwellers. The tiny pests appe ’ve rid their stor legislature pass shops say they the l say ntia rts the bane of city pote me expe give to have beco landlords to of the bugs, but ry” of s, but experts just the latest ers a “bedbug histo shopkeepers bug rent infestations are the ng just stro ons are bedbug’s say the infestati their property. indication of the States is n of the bedbug’s And the United latest indicatio comeback. are ng an g eradik. infestations country to seei After mostly bein strong comebac ury not the only a bedbugs, which cent half n lore among. a urba US of the the stuff upsurge in cated form the . are so common over the past five feed on blood, ago, infestations a ed City form that New York


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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Bedding Plus

From left to right: Troy Mutter, Gary Mutter, Shane Mutter and Chris Collins.

Louisiana retailer turns family values, local trust into sales By Nancy Butler Photography by Austin LaRoche



amily-owned and operated Bedding Plus, based in Hammond, LA, opened its first store in 1997, but the family has been in the furniture business since 1938. Now 12 stores strong, the company enjoys the reputation and customer trust that comes with more than seven decades of service in the greater New Orleans area. And its reputation was further solidified in 2005, when Katrina came to town. Shane Mutter, fourth-generation operations manager, has vivid memories of that chaotic time. Much of the family was in Hammond, about 40 miles north of Lake Pontchartrain, so the floodwaters never reached them. But the need for mattresses caused a tsunami of its own. “Right away, mattresses were in such tremendous demand—we couldn’t believe it. People were standing outside the Hammond

store waiting to get in,” he says. The store quickly ran out. Unfortunately, the warehouse was in downtown New Orleans not far from the French Quarter—it was then shared with Doerr Furniture, the original store and parent company. Warehouse contents were undamaged, but getting there was another story. New Orleans was closed to traffic. A Bedding Plus employee had a medical permit that would get them past the barricades. So Shane, his uncle Randy and two friends who happened to be Marines climbed in the pickup truck and drove the 50 miles. Though harrowing, the trip went well; they loaded the pickup with beds and took them back to Hammond. “Every family member pitched in and we were all working at the store to meet the demand,” Shane recalls. “The parking lot next door was packed.” SleepSavvy • November/December 2010


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

In the Bedding Plus store in Covington, LA—one of 12 in the chain—mattresses are arranged by comfort levels within each of the seven brands. Decorative bedframes and select accents add visual appeal to the store’s light-filled interior.

Many members of the third and fourth generations are active in the close-knit family enterprise (and the fifth generation is just beginning to get involved). Gary Mutter, Shane’s dad, is president; brother Troy is the marketing and merchandising manager— plus many uncles and cousins. The brothers’ great-grandfather, Charles Doerr, was the founder of Doerr Furniture, which remains in downtown New Orleans selling mid- to upper-end merchandise. “We’re a very solid family unit that works together well—it’s uncanny,” says Shane, 31. “We all know what we do well and we do it.” He attributes the strong family values to his grandparents, Lloyd and Marilyn Mutter. “They instilled a strong work ethic in us from a very early age. They were hardworking, fair and genuine. “ “We have great brand recognition in the New Orleans market,” says Troy, 28. “And the people around here really want to buy local and support the city.” A strong sense of community was one of the few gifts of

28 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010

Katrina’s devastation. And the post-storm boom for mattresses put the family business on the path to new growth. Bedding Plus is now operated separately from Doerr, with offices in Hammond. An attached warehouse provides some 60,000 square feet of inventory space. The chain has grown from three stores in 1997 to eight in 2005 to 12 today—11 in Louisiana and one in Gulfport, MS. The BP oil spill this past summer only put a damper on sales for about 30 days—“It made customers skittish about buying, but then we had a great summer,” Shane says. Business is running about 5% ahead of 2009. The recession had a much more profound impact, he says, but that, too, hasn’t been all bad. “We used the tough economy to finetune the business and get the best deal on everything we buy—we streamlined operations and costs.” Getting “lean and mean” made the company stronger and better prepared to keep growing as business rebounds.

Making the customer comfortable The sales approach at Bedding Plus is consultative. “We’re patient, not aggressive, and try to make the customer comfortable,” Troy says. “That’s an approach that has been passed down through the family. We may not close on the first visit, but four out of five customers will be back.” The stores are scrupulously clean and neat, with all signage kept up to date. They vary in size, but most are right around 5,000 square feet. Mattresses are arranged by comfort levels within each of the seven brands: Simmons, Sealy, Stearns & Foster, Tempur-Pedic, Sleep to Live, Jamison and Scandinavian. An attractive assortment of bed frames, plus a few strategically placed decorative elements, enhance the visual presentation. Turnover among the salespeople is low—half have been there more than five years, according to Troy. “We want our RSAs to feel like it’s their store,” he says. There are 15 men and eight women. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

“The customer is always greeted right away, even if the associate has to excuse herself from the current customer momentarily to shakes hands and exchange names,” says Troy. Once engaged, the customer will be asked questions about herself—her sleep, her life. “We avoid ‘what price range?’ questions because that puts a negative spin on the experience right up front—it says to the customer that price is what we care about,” Troy explains, adding that if price is a significant factor, the customer will let you know. “We care more about helping people than just dollar signs. We want to help them with their sleep and their bodies. If we don’t start with price, we can lead them to what they really need based on the questions we ask.” Price points open at $299 and top out at $4,499 in queen, but bestsellers are in the $699 to $999 price range. Low price points do appear in store advertising but are not emphasized. “Customers quickly learn that there’s better value,” Troy says. “I can’t in good conscience put a $299 at the top www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Accessories add appeal and benefits


edding Plus does an especially nice job with decorative bed frames, which add to the ticket and to the eye appeal of the store. “They help to divide up the room, dress up the store and add as much as $2,000 to the sale,” says Shane Mutter, operations manager. “It’s not a huge business for us, but there’s more than enough benefit to have them on the floor. Lots of stores don’t show frames anymore and showing backto-back mattresses has contributed to the consumer’s ‘sea of mattresses’ perception.” The 12 stores also carry a large selection of pillows from Tempur-Pedic, Sleep to Live and Sealy at $49 to $299. The majority of mattress tickets include a pillow sale, at an average of $99. “Protectors are an even more important part of the presentation,” Shane says. “The benefits are huge.” The bestseller is a $79 product that protects against stains, dust mites and allergens. “We don’t sell a step-down product,” he says. “A good protector is very important to women, especially those with kids. We’re avoiding problems for the customer down the road and we end up being the good guy.” Bedding Plus recently started carrying and advertising a new Bed Bug Protector Kit from Protect-A-Bed—full encasements for mattress, foundation and pillows at $199 to $299. “Bedbugs are a big topic among consumers right now—they’re asking us about it,” Shane says. More than 50% of sales close with a protector, he says. “The RSAs just have to tell them all the benefits and it’s sold.”

SleepSavvy • November/December 2010


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

The main entrance of the Covington store.

The Facebook debate


oth Shane and Troy Mutter are part of the Facebook generation, but they’re not sold on the social networking site as a critical marketing tool for retailers. “We have a company Facebook page, but it’s not a big source of traffic for us,” says Shane. “You may gain a little business and, if done right, it can sustain communications and relationships with customers,” says Troy. “But you can end up spending lots of money, and it hasn’t proven itself to be worth it yet.” Shane’s personal Facebook page, on the other hand, has proven to be a valuable tool. “One month, I got $10,000 in sales just from my personal networ. Word of mouth is very important, especially when you’re a family-owned business that’s been around a long time.” As for the business page, says Troy, “We’ll keep looking for ways to turn it into a moneymaker.

30 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010

of the ad and then disappoint the customers’ expectations when they come into the store.” Shane’s and Troy’s cousin Chris Collins was recently recruited away from restaurant chain management to join the team as sales manager, taking over key responsibilities in training, internal communications and customer service. One of Chris’ initiatives is increasing the emphasis on the benefits of good sleep as a topic of conversation. “Sleep is not new territory for us. But we’re giving the associates more reasons why they need to have that conversation with customers,” he says. “It’s a big investment, so the customer has to be thinking about the quality of her life. We’re changing her focus and purpose from an amount of money to a good night’s sleep—from what she thought she wanted when she came in to a focus on better health,” Chris explains. “When you educate customers, that’s when you really connect—and they may end up spending that extra $500. “We’re making the ability to talk about quality of life the standard around here. Changing the customer’s mindset is the key to success.”

Personalized follow-through “Personalization and trust are how you gain a loyal customer,” says Troy. “We have great sales follow-up, stay in touch with the customer and correct problems immediately,” Shane says. “We always want the customer to know that we’ll take care of them.” The stores offer next-day delivery, with a 3-hour time window, five days a week. “Ninety-nine percent of our deliveries hit the window, and I could fill your inbox with the compliments we’ve received,” says Shane. The family has always offered a lowest-price guarantee, but it doesn’t believe in a comfort guarantee. “It’s really hurting the industry,” Shane says. “We tried it and found out that RSAs used it as a crutch—they wouldn’t take the time with the customer to get the right products. Then, customers used it as an excuse to return a mattress, and we were getting burned.” “When the RSA knows it can’t be returned, they work harder to make the right sale,” Shane says, adding that the stores have not experienced a significant loss of sales without a comfort guarantee. But when there’s a problem, Bedding Plus takes care of it. The family contracts with a local service team—a husband and wife who retired from furniture retailing—to make service calls and perform inspections. The duo takes pictures and submits a detailed, unbiased report. If a product is defective, the report goes immediately back to the RSA, who calls the customer to arrange for a replacement and give full credit. “We make it all very personal,” says Shane. And all of the company’s vendors are comfortable with the process. ● www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


supporting customer dreams A healthy body begins at night


leep is how our bodies and minds are rejuvenated, reinvigorated and refreshed. It’s critical to our ability to stay alert, effective and healthy. Did you know that humans can survive for a longer time with no food and no water than they can with no sleep? Restless, fragmented sleep can turn this critical biological process into a nightly wrestling match that leaves you feeling worn out, irritable and unable to focus. It also leaves your body more susceptible to illness and injury. Does sleeping on a worn-out or poor-quality mattress contribute to restless sleep? You bet it does! A mattress and matching foundation that provide just the right comfort and support for your body throughout the night not only contribute to sound sleep, but they are also essential for good muscular and spinal health. When you spend night after night on a too soft or too hard mattress that’s seen too many years of service, your muscles are working overtime to keep your spine in proper alignment. Your body is in constant motion trying to alleviate pressure points and find a position that’s comfortable. When you awake in the morning, you may feel as if you’ve hardly slept. And chances are you’re also experiencing lower back pain and other aches. Sleeping on a bad bed may aggravate on old injury or even predispose you to a new one. Our bodies change over time. So do our mattresses. Both tend to happen gradually so that many people don’t notice that the two are no longer working in tandem to support restful sleep. Beds need to be replaced regularly and with high-quality sleep systems that cradle our bodies in comfort and help us take the best possible care of our bodies and our health.

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Back Talk sponsor Restonic and Sleep Savvy want to hear from those of you on the mattress sales floor. Let us know what you think about the information we’re presenting and what you need to know to help you sell more and better beds. Talk to us at talkback@restonic.com.

SleepSavvy • November/December 2010

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highlights of High Point


any mattress makers were on hand at the October High Point Market, showcasing their lines for the benefit of East Coast and international retailers. Although the market was not a major staging ground for introductions in the bedding category, Sleep Savvy spotted an array of interesting new products. There were an equal number of new offerings in innerspring and foam, with particular attention paid to stylish border treatments and cool accent colors. Accessories and point-of-purchase materials were also market stars. All retail prices are for queen size.

❶ ❷

❸ ❶

Magniflex gauged retailer reaction to its new Protetto bed, priced at $979. The mattress’ special ingredient is ticking made with yarns that repel bedbugs, said General Manager Andrea Mugnai.

❷ Gold Bond President Bob Naboicheck touted key features of the new two-sided Westminster, part of the Sacro-Support Encased Coil group. It features 804 encased coils and a 1.5-inch super-soft HR foam quilt, retailing for $899.

32 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010

❹ ❸ Southern Textiles by Leggett & Platt introduced the new mattress encasement Invisicase with Easy Zip. The bedbug-proof cover, demonstrated here by Vice President Rob O’Neill, retails for $99 in queen and has a zip-off top panel for easy laundering. ❹ Carolina Mattress Guild owners Neil and Kathy Grigg were excited about their new Flex collection, an all-foam group with a latex story. The zoned beds have a stretchy knit cover with an aqua blue inset and retail for $1,299 to $1,699. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

❺ Jamison accentuated the feminine with its Resort Collection. Priced from $699 to $1,899, the all-foam beds are wrapped in fleur-de-lis ticking styled with aqua accessories. The color palette and POP will change with the seasons, said Senior Vice President Ken Hinman, pictured here with President Frank Gorrell (left).

❻ Restonic licensee Alliance Sleep spotlighted the benefits of the new price point in the Grand Palais collection. At $1,999, it boasts encased coil-on-coil construction topped with specialty-foam comfort layers, said Executive Vice President Laurie Tokarz.

❼ Paramount introduced the designer HD Platinum, part of a new high-end, three-bed group added to the Heavy Duty line. The beds have encased coils, specialty foams and micro-coils. Retails are $2,499 to $2,999, said Executive Vice President Richard Fleck.

❽ Zedbed showed off the Aero, a two-model foam bed collection with bubble-wrap-inspired knit ticking, layers of latex and proprietary ZX Material memory foam. Retails are $1,999 and $2,499, said Marketing Director David Gelinas.

❾ Hickory at Home introduced

the Final Touch accessories and fixtures program that helps retailers take advantage of the bond they’ve forged with customers to sell a full complement of sleep accessories, said General Manager Niles Cornelius. Program prices for retailers range from $3,300 to $7,300.

❿ Five Star Mattress added four

❿ www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

new models to its well-received TLC collection, said President Jim Nation. The new beds have specialty foam comfort layers. The entire group, launched in January, ranges in price from $499 to $1,299. SleepSavvy • November/December 2010



About Campbell Mattress...our manufacturing facilities are located in Cape Girardeau, an historic area of Southeastern Missouri on the banks of the picturesque Mississippi River. We pursue our very simple goal ...to design and produce sleep sets that our customers have such confidence in that they feel secure in recommending Campbell Bedding to their family and friends.

Cotton plays a critical role in the bedding industry. Much effort goes into developing a fiber comparable to cotton but this really has not happened. We are one of the few companies that garnetts our own raw cotton which also gives us a distinct advantage over most bedding manufacturers in maintaining our superior quality.

Home of better made bedding. Visit us on the web at: www.campbellmattressco.com

If you like a great night’s sleep, you’re going to love our Relax-O-Pedic beds.


100 South Minnesota Cape Girardeau, MO 63703 573-334-7148 • Fax: 573-334-8110


A very special kind of company

34 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010


BE MY GUEST by Martin Roberts

Women have a unique ability to tell if an environment is clean For women, it begins with breathing in. When she opens the fridge, she can easily evaluate whether or not the food is edible. When she enters a room, she can quickly tell if the room is dusty, dry, musty, fresh or clean just by smelling the air. Women evaluate the smell of every bedroom in their house, restaurant bathroom they bring their children into, grocery where they buy food and every store where they are going to buy a product that will end up in their home. A smell can evoke strong emotions or memories. A fragrance can be the deciding factor in whether a shopping experience is pleasant or not. Every environment and every product—even a piece of furniture—has a smell to it. When a woman chooses to buy a piece of furniture, she is agreeing to take that fragrance into her home and add it to the environment that makes up her identity and her family’s. A very personal matter In a single day, a woman uses up to 15 products on her body—all with unique fragrances. Most women shower with a body wash or soap, wash their hair with shampoo and conditioner, cleanse their face with a skin care product, dry their hair with a styling product, keep it in place with a hair spray, use deodorant, apply a moisturizer, use a lip gloss, put on makeup, paint their nails with polish, and top it all off with a perfume. Since women are very conscious of how they smell, it’s no wonder that they take great notice of the different smells in their environment. A woman is often the principal purchaser www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

for the family, responsible for deciding on 85% of all items to buy. She carries personal responsibility for her family’s health and safety when she chooses items to enter the home. For example, doing the laundry involves dealing with detergents, whiteners, fabric softeners, and products that reduce lint and wrinkles. She also deals with the family’s sensitivities and allergies to those products. When buying groceries, a woman must ensure that the food she buys and prepares is safe and fresh enough not to make her family sick. Clean stores are mandatory Many women I know won’t shop at some food stores because they “don’t smell right.” The female thought process here is this: If the employees are not taking the time to clean the store and keep it fresh, it is doubtful that they are restocking their shelves with fresh food and care. The likelihood that the food bought in that store is rotten or inedible is increased. The same is true of furniture stores, particularly bedding and mattress stores. When you buy a mattress—or any piece of furniture, for that matter—you are usually not buying the one that you try out in a showroom. So, when a woman steps into a mattress or furniture store that is unclean, it makes her wonder, “How do I know where the furniture is coming from?” Will the mattress or sofa she buys arrive with a lingering odor? How many times will she have to wash new sheets in order to get the smell and germs off? Will the musty smell her mattress arrived with ever wear off? Recently I purchased a mattress from a large retail chain and it was delivered while my wife was at work. When she returned SleepSavvy • November/December 2010



by Martin Roberts home, she opened the plastic cover on the mattress and the smell was overwhelming. Even with the window open, it took weeks before anyone could sleep in that room. It is experiences like this that feed women’s concern with fragrance and cleanliness in a shopping environment. Make it appeal to her senses By taking women’s concerns into account, retailers can benefit by creating consumer-centric shopping experiences that are appealing. For example, the plus side of a female’s sensitivity to smells is that there are aromas that evoke happy, comforting emotions. Here are a few quick, inexpensive ways to transform your store to be appealing to female shoppers. ● Detailed cleaning. Of course, if you’re selling furniture, you want to make sure the models on display are dust-free. But go further than that. Clean windowsills, polished floors, maintained trash receptacles are all small changes that together can make a big positive impact on your store environment. ● Decorative accents. Pleasant fragrances such as cinnamon, cookies or vanilla give a woman a sense of comfort when she is shopping.

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warehouse, but you don’t want your customers to feel like they’re shopping in one. Using lighting and color helps to display your products at their full potential and creates a better ambiance. To give your store a spruce-up, you can add bedside lamps and paint the walls a more nurturing color than just plain white. There’s simply no reason why a mattress store should be unkempt, unattractive and boring—customers should enjoy being there and want to come back. ●

One of Martin Roberts’ retail design projects is Dwellings contemporary home furnishings store in Barbados.

Also, items like plants and wall paintings add a personal element that helps consumers connect with the products. If a woman can better envision the product in her home, then she is more likely to buy it. ● Lighting and color. The products you’re selling may come from a

Martin Roberts, president of Martin Roberts Design in Stamford, CT, is a design industry veteran with a wide variety of projects and credits recognized around the world, including the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has a long list of clients in the home furnishings industry, including such companies as Haverty’s, Norwalk, Comfort Solutions, Harden and Badcock & More. You can contact him by email at martin@mrobertsdesign.com, call him at 203-504-8775 or visit his website at www.mrobertsdesign.com.

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Open Area Rack Deck

DACS 36 SleepSavvy • November/December 2010


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CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris

My wife has a passion for protectors


ant to know how to sell mattress protectors? Follow my wife Mary Jane’s example. The funny thing is that MJ is not an RSA—she teaches deaf children—yet her reaction to and enthusiasm for protectors is something mattress RSAs would do well to emulate. I’ll explain. When I was a rep for one of the “S” brands, I saw a protector demonstration and was so impressed that I contacted the company and became a rep for them. I got a sample and discovered first-hand what a wonderful product protectors are for our industry and its customers. When MJ learned that the protectors could be washed and dried with the sheets, she wanted two for each of our mattresses. Since then, she has purchased nearly 50 mattress and pillow protectors and has given many to family and friends. They’ve become the default gift for all weddings and baby showers. Instead of asking, “Where are you registered?” she asks, “What size bed will you be sleeping on?” The initial reaction of a bride to receiving a protector is less than euphoric, but most later confess that it has become one of their favorite gifts. MJ told a fellow teacher, who has a nephew with serious health issues, about protectors. The teacher later thanked her, saying how much they had improved the quality of her sister’s and nephew’s lives. We know that many of our friends have bought more protectors and told their family and friends about them. There is no way to calculate


looks nice and smooth, not lumpy and misshapen.” “I love not worrying about the boys ruining their nice beds.” MJ told her niece Erica that she could spill a cup of coffee on the bed and it wouldn’t stain. Erica said, “Well, what about the sheets?” MJ wittily replied, “You should take the sheets off before you spill the coffee!” Both laughed, understanding that sheets can be washed, but coffee seeping into a mattress is not so easily cleaned. how many have been purchased as a result of my wife’s passion for them. Listen and learn I’ve listened to MJ talk with her family and friends about protectors and have rarely heard any discussion of warranty or how the products are made. I’m not saying those things aren’t important, but the conversations reveal what is of real value to them and, I would suspect, to most women. They always seem to focus on the positive aspects—the things they like about the products and how protectors make their lives easier. Occasionally, I’ve heard mention of dust mites and dander, but almost always the comments are about how well protectors keep the bed “clean, fresh, odor-free and sanitary.” Here are a few snippets I’ve gathered from my eavesdropping: “They’re waterproof, but not hot.” “They don’t get crinkly.” “They’re not bulky and you don’t have to take all day to wash and dry them.” “I love how the sheets fit. The bed

Sell like MJ To sell protectors effectively, you must use them yourself, believe in them and want all of your customers to enjoy the benefits of using them on all of their beds. Collect factual, unembellished anecdotes—yours and others’— about protectors and blend them into conversations with your customers. And finally, talk to your customer like MJ: “Have you ever heard of a mattress protector? I love how they keep my mattress so clean and fresh. I tell all my friends about them and I’d love to tell you about them too.” ● Gerry Morris is an author, consultant, training coach and a 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 gmorris@innerspring.net or visit www.innerspring.net. SleepSavvy • November/December 2010



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Profile for International Sleep Products Association

Sleep Savvy Nov/Dec 2010  

The magazine for sleep products professionals

Sleep Savvy Nov/Dec 2010  

The magazine for sleep products professionals