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January/February 2010

The cover story

Social Media: Creating a customer conversation

RETAIL ROAD TRIP

Specialty chain Dreams plc leads in U.K. market BE MY GUEST

Barrie Brown talks about what’s really important to the customer SPECIAL SECTION

To become a champion of customer service, change your mind


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IN THIS ISSUE where to find it

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THE COVER STORY

adding social media to your consumer conversation Savvy retailers need to include social media in their marketing plans, but this fast-paced new environment can be daunting. Sleep Savvy helps you get started with insights and advice from a host of SM experts.

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WAKE UP CALL from the editor’s desk

Did you know that United Airlines breaks guitars? An angry passenger made sure millions of people got the word by using social media.

SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

Mattress buying tips featured in American Profile; American Chiropractic Association says right mattress is vital; the basics of getting ready for customers; five tenets of designing for women; signs of recovery in new sales stats and new consumer survey; Sleep Shorts...and more.

Special Section

THE SERVICE CENTER improving the customer experience Great customer service goes much deeper than how you act. It’s how you think that will determine your success with your customers.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

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BE MY GUEST by Barrie Brown

What’s really important to the mattress customer isn’t specs—or price. It’s trust, says this mattress retail veteran.

SHOWCASE products & programs for success

What’s new and interesting from companies that market mattresses, components, accessories and retailer services? Take a tour!

CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris ‘Survival of the fittest’ is taking on new dimensions with the advent of social media.

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene Sales are up at Dreams plc, the largest mattress specialty retailer in the United Kingdom. CEO Nick Worthington talks about the elements of success.

SleepSavvy • January/February 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 Barrie Brown Gerry Morris Ted Singer Marilyn Suttle Lori Jo Vest Art Direction Stephanie Belcher The Jimmydog Design Group stephanie@jimmydog.com Vice President of 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. 1 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 828-299-7490. Advertising services: 126 Parkview Lane, Reidsville, North Carolina 27320. Phone 336-342-4217. Fax 336-342-4116. 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. Non-members 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.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

WAKE UP CALL from the editor

Did you know that United breaks guitars?

M

illions of people do, thanks to Dave Carroll, a disgruntled passenger who shared his experience on YouTube. Carroll and his band, Sons of Maxwell, were flying from Nova Scotia to Omaha for a gig. While waiting to take off, they watched in disbelief as baggage handlers tossed their luggage, which included Carroll’s Taylor guitar. He told flight attendants about the problem, but the damage was done—$3,500 worth. When Carroll contacted United, he was shuffled around from person to person, but never got the airline to pay. So he did what angry customers can so easily do in this age of social media—he told the world about it. Carroll wrote a song about his experience called “United Breaks Guitars” and made a video, which he uploaded to YouTube in July. In the first 10 days, it racked up 3 million views. By early December, it had reached 6.5 million. Carroll and his band have since recorded “United Breaks Guitars: Song 2.” Take a look at the videos by going to www.youtube.com and typing in “United breaks guitars.” You might want to have a viewing party and invite everyone in your company who deals directly with customers. Why? Because every customer who walks into your store is a potential Dave Carroll. Think about the last disgruntled customer you dealt with. What if her complaint—fair or not—had shown up in a YouTube video. Or maybe she put her rant up on her Facebook wall or just tweeted her BFFs that they

should never, ever buy a mattress from you! OMG. It’s a whole new ballgame out there, people. It’s one you not only have to watch, but you have to follow and become a fan. And then you have to learn how to play, because it’s increasingly clear that using the power of social media is a must for today’s savvy, successful business people. This issue’s cover story will help to get you started with social media, offering lots of tips and ideas on coming up to speed. (That can be a a tall order since social media venues and the technology that supports it are changing so fast, it’s almost certainly outdated before you’ve figured it out. So we’ll keep talking about it.) How important is social media? Very. But it’s smart to maintain a good old-fashioned sense of caution as you move into this exciting new realm of information and opinion sharing. If you’re going to use SM, you have to have the resources and time it takes to monitor and maintain. You definitely can’t “set it and forget it.” So make sure you know what you’re getting into. As Senior Writer Barbara Nelles emphasizes in her story, it’s critical to start the process by looking and listening to what’s going on out there. ●

nbutler@sleepproducts.org SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

Better Sleep Council’s buying tips featured in American Profile

Mattress-buying advice was the focus of an article in the October 25 American Profile, a weekly, four-color magazine insert in Sunday small-town newspapers across the country. The magazine boasts a circulation of 10 million. The article, also published online, included Better Sleep Council shopping tips and highlighted its mattress replacement message. “It’s important to consider replacing it after five to seven years,” BSC’s Karin Mahoney told readers. Mahoney also pointed to studies showing that sleeping on a new mattress can reduce stiffness and back and shoulder pain, as well as improve sleeping comfort. Readers were invited to visit the BSC’s consumer website, www.bettersleep.org, for more information. You’re invited to add that link to your own website to support your company’s consumer education.

Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must

set yourself on fire.

— Arnold Glascow

How NOT to test a mattress England’s Prince Charles, out and about on a recent visit to Wales—of which he is prince—paid a visit to Abaca Organic, an organic mattress factory in Ammanford. During his tour, the Prince viewed mattress manufacturing processes and met staff and suppliers. In Sleep Savvy’s opinion, the royal prince could have used a bit of help with his mattress testing skills.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

TRAINING TALK

Getting ready for customers - the basics By Ted Singer

I

n today’s tough environment, many bedding retailers invest heavily to lure customers to their stores. But they often struggle to capitalize on the hard-earned traffic because some of the good old basics are overlooked. Based on my 20 years of bedding retail experience, here are some questions to put on your basics checklist: ● Is the exterior of your store inviting? Check your front entrance and parking lot—are they clean? Little things make a difference if you want your customer to have a good first impression. ● Is your merchandise looking good and in working order? Date all floor samples as they are set up the first time on the floor. As models start to show their age, you may want to consider putting them on sale as floor sample discounts and replacing them with new ones to keep your store looking fresh. ● Are your price tags in good shape? Are the tags tired, faded, maybe even outdated? Think about tagging your bigger-ticket items to show the approximate amount of the monthly payment if sold under financing. ● Is your merchandise lit properly to draw attention? Remember to point spotlights at the foot of beds, not on pillows—put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try it yourself. ● Is your best-seller always in the same spot?

Consider putting a higher-value bed at that particular spot and see if that bed will become the next bestseller. ● Are your add-on sleep accessories displayed together? Successful RSAs have learned that displaying accessories in the same area helps build a ticket. Once a bed is chosen, you can easily present different categories of accessories without running around the store. ● Is the desk where orders are written inviting? Arguably, the area where you write orders is the most important square footage of the store. So keep it squeaky clean, free of distractions, comfortable and inviting. Don’t forget to keep a calendar handy so you can answer delivery questions with ease. Paying attention to details can make a difference in the customer experience and that determines whether or not you survive and thrive in this economy. Ted Singer is a director of sales with Leggett & Platt Consumer Products Group. He has more than 20 years of experience in building programs with bedding manufacturers and retailers, including training retail sales associates. Ted can be reached by email at Ted.Singer@leggett.com.

Five tenets of designing for women

I

n the October issue of Fast Company magazine, a feature titled “Separate and Equal” included five tenets on designing for women—as relevant when designing a store or an experience as when you’re creating a product: Emphasize benefits over features. Rather than touting features and specs (how fast or big or slick something is), make the product’s benefits clear. Learn her body. Women have different bone and muscle structure. Simply shrinking products leads to injury and frustration.

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6 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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Craft a cohesive story. Women consider more than just the product itself. Design the whole experience with them in mind, from advertising and packaging to the retail environment and customer service. Identify a spot on the spectrum. For some tasks, women want to feel girly; for others, not at all. Nix the hyper-feminized stereotype and consider where on the spectrum this product should land. Remember her life stages. Are you designing for a 25-year-old or a 65-year-old?

The five points were developed by the Femme Den, a subgroup within Smart Design International (www.smartgroupinternational.com).

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www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

btw:

social media tips Getting social media-savvy is rapidly becoming non-optional. So in addition to devoting much of this issue to this increasingly hot topic, we’ll be launching a standing tips box in every issue starting in March.

Are you an entrepreneurial RSA?

L

ooking for a way to lift your spirits and help drive more traffic for your store? Jeff Hiller, veteran furniture retailer and president of PROaction Marketing Group, says RSAs should try acting like entrepreneurs. Here are some of the self-empowering behaviors of entrepreneurial RSAs: ● They arrive in the store at 8:30 a.m. each day. ● They write 10 emails and snail-mail notes every day, asking for referrals, sharing product news or thanking recent customers. ● They understand that past customers who made meaningful purchases within the past two to three years are the most valuable leads, followed closely by referrals. ● They recognize that sales is often an “act” but are able to come across as sincere, even though they may do it 20 times a day. ● They spend their own money on unique, fun little gifts or treats to hand out to store visitors. There is nothing more rewarding and motivating than when a customer walks in the store and asks for you by name, Hiller says. You can reach him at jhillergo@yahoo.com.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

ACA: Right mattress can improve sleep comfort, reduce pain

A

recent press release from the the American Chiropractic Association reminded Americans that a good night’s sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle—and that a good mattress is an essential part of healthy sleep. The ACA recalled the 2006 study conducted at Oklahoma State University and published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, which revealed that sleeping on a new mattress can significantly reduce stiffness and back pain.  “Researchers found that study participants reported immediate and sustained benefits after sleeping on a new mattress,” the ACA said. “This was especially true of participants who entered the study with back pain complaints, as they reported a 63% improvement in back discomfort with a new mattress.” The ACA offered the following mattress shopping advice: ● Shop for support. Look for a mattress that provides uniform support from head to toe. If there are gaps between your body and the mattress (such as at the waist), you’re not getting the full support you need. Mattresses can be too firm—pay close attention to uncomfortable pressure on prominent body features such as the shoulders, hips and low back. ● Shop for comfort. When mattress shopping, give each option a good trial run before you buy. Lie down on a mattress for a minimum of five to 10 minutes to get a good idea of its comfort level. If you can’t find a comfortable position, you probably have the wrong mattress. ● Shop for size. Does the bed provide enough room for you—and your sleeping partner if you have one—to stretch and roll over? The ideal mattress will also minimize the transfer of movement from one sleeping partner to the other, which means one person shouldn’t feel motion as the other leaves the bed. “Generally, a mattress should be replaced every five years to eight years to ensure proper support and comfort,” the ACA advised. “Be aware that life’s changes can signal the need for a new mattress as well.” The release also included tips on choosing a supportive pillow. For more information, visit www.acatoday.org.

SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use Tired brain goes into default mode

Sleep Sh o rts

New research suggests that a sleep-deprived brain may switch on the equivalent of an internal screen saver instead of concentrating on the tasks at hand. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that the brain’s default network—a little understood process that activates when people are daydreaming, recalling the past or when the mind wanders—was more likely to kick in and interfere with concentration when people were kept awake for 35 hours. MRI scans showed reduced activity in the brains of sleep-deprived volunteers while they performed mental tasks that required periods of waiting. The findings suggest that the default network could be turning on or remaining on when sleep-deprived brains are trying to concentrate, leading to errors.

Apnea therapy improves golf game Snoring could be interfering with your golf game, according to recent research at Atlantic Sleep and Pulmonary Associates in Madison, NJ. Golfers with obstructive sleep apnea—often accompanied by heavy snoring—who received nasal positive airway pressure (NPAP) improved their daytime sleepiness scores and lowered their golf handicap by as much as three strokes. After 20 rounds, the treated golfers saw their average handicap drop from 12.4 strokes to 11 strokes. Interestingly, the best golfers improved their scores the most. “Golf has a strong intellectual component, with on-course strategizing, focus and endurance being integral components to achieving good play,” said Marc Benton, MD. “OSA can lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue and cognitive impairment—all side effects which can negatively impact a person’s ability to golf to the best of one’s ability.”

8 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

Sleep helps regulate blood pressure

Middle-aged adults who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to develop high blood pressure, according to a five-year study at the University of Chicago. Researchers monitored blood pressure and sleep duration of 578 adults with an average age of 40. Participants who slept fewer hours were significantly more likely to have both higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure. For every hour of sleep missed, researchers found a 37% increase in the chance of developing high blood pressure. In a related study, the University of Chicago sleep lab disrupted the sleep of healthy male college students for 14 nights. By the end of the two-week period, the young men tested with blood chemistry equivalent to 70-yearold men with elevated heart disease and high blood pressure risks. Ouch.

Women underestimate their sleep Recent research found that older women consistently estimate their sleep to be of shorter and poorer quality than their male peers—but in fact the opposite is true. In the Erasmus Medical Center study of 956 adults age 59-79, women reported an average of 13.2 minutes less total sleep time and estimated that it took them 10.1 minutes longer to get to sleep in the first place. They also rated their quality of sleep 4.2% lower than men. But when sleep was measured objectively, women actually slept for 16 minutes longer than men. Women’s sleep was also of a higher quality and less fragmented. The Dutch researchers suggest women may require more sleep than men—that getting the same amount of sleep may be satisfactory for men, but not women.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


SUPPORTING YOU

. THRO UGH T HI C K

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T HI N.

In this turbulent financial climate, sure things are hard to come by. Which is why all of us at Restonic are proud of what we continue to offer you, each and every day – a stable supplier you can count on, and quality products at great values. This is why we can make this pledge to you:

��| T H E R E S T O N I C B R A N D P R O M I S E |�� Restonic Mattress Corporation is the “ G O �T O ” B R A N D for retailers who are looking for a bedding partner who is M O R E R E S P O N S I V E and provides G R E AT E R V A L U E to them, because our R E TA I L E R S ’ S U C C E S S is our top priority.

sincerely,

Tom Comer | RESTONIC BUFFALO Buffalo, NY 716.895.1414

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

ISPA Conference

Consumers want to feel happy, connected and smart

W

hat do today’s recessionsubdued shoppers want? According to Context Research’s Robbie Blinkoff, author of a 2009 report on The Grounded Consumer (published in the April issue of Sleep Savvy), it’s three things: 1. To find joy beyond the acquisition and possession of “things.” (How is a new mattress a “gateway to joy”?) 2. To make smart purchases. It’s not just about price; it’s about good use of resources and making a purchase because it’s the smart thing to do. (How can you help the customer feel smart about buying a mattress from you?) 3. To be part of the conversation. People want marketers to engage them in a dialog. In fact, they expect it. Today’s consumer wants to make connections and “we” choices. Blinkoff was the keynote speaker at the Nov. 4-6 Industry Conference sponsored by the International Sleep Products Association—the first ISPA conference to invite retailers to join manufacturers and their suppliers.

Never skimp on your bed

I

n his most recent book I Can Help You Sleep: Overcome Insomnia Forever and Get the Best Rest of Your Life!, popular British self-help author Paul McKenna offers a full range of advice on sleeping better at night, including some words to the wise about the importance of the bed: “For some people, the only solution required to restore their sleep cycle is ridiculously simple: Make sure your bed is comfortable. “Many people keep their mattresses, pillows or duvets for far too long. All of them get worn out eventually and they become less comfortable. “There’s an old saying that still holds true: ‘Never skimp on your bed or shoes, because if you are not in one, you are in the other.’” McKenna’s book is available at all major booksellers.

10 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

Here are a few of Blinkoff’s recommendations to the ISPA crowd: 1. Think about creating a room for customers to try out beds. The bed is the emotional center of the bedroom, a place to make connections. The mattress choice needs to be an involved, “we” purchase. 2. Do the right thing. Make a meaningful promise—whether “green” or something else that portrays responsibility—and then make good on it. 3. Offer “luxury for less” so it’s a smart purchase for the customer to make. 4. Add customer services that help customers simplify and “un-stuff” their lives. Buying a new mattress needs to help people feel better, smarter, happier and more joyful, said Blinkoff, who used Best Buy’s “You, happier” ad campaign as an example of how it’s done. In this series of ads, real Best Buy RSAs tell their story of how their products and services made people happier—the benefits experienced by customers and their families.

Just for laughs

“You’ll never have to worry about being late for work with this honey. When the ‘Auto-Drive Alarm’ activates, you’ll be on the expressway before you wake up!”

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


We’re all in. How about you? Dive in. Or put a toe in. But whatever you do ... do something. The more we use Twitter, the more we want to hear insights from retailers like you. And we’ll respond. After all, if you’re not engaged in the national conversation, how will you learn what’s emerging at the grassroots level? We’re excited. And you should be too. Because we’re helping more and more salespeople from coast to coast to share the latest ideas, best practices and trends to improve sleep quality for every customer. So jump in. Let us hear from you.

Join the conversation at: http://twitter.com/LPBeds4life http://twitter.com/@joplinquinn http://twitter.com/Home_Collection http://twitter.com/hermantam http://twitter.com/Carthage32


SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

Top trend for 2010: Business as unusual

L

ifestyle trend-spotting oracle Trendwatching.com has topped its list of Ten Crucial Consumer Trends for 2010 with this observation: “In 2010, prepare for ‘business as unusual’. For the first time, there’s a global understanding, if not a feeling of urgency, that sustainability, in every possible meaning of the word, is the only way forward. How that should or shouldn’t impact consumer societies is of course still part of a raging debate, but at least there is a debate. “Meanwhile, in mature consumer societies, companies will have to do more than just embrace the notion of being a good corporate citizen. To truly prosper, they will have to ‘move with the culture’. This may mean displaying greater transparency and honesty, or having conversations as opposed to one-way advertising, or championing collaboration instead of an us-them mentality. Or, it could be intrinsically about generosity versus greed, or being a bit edgy and daring as opposed to safe and bland.” Want to read more? Go to www.trendwatching.com.

Among American consumers who plan to buy new home furnishings in 2010

22%

will buy a new mattress

Source: Furniture/Today survey of 8,554 consumers, The 2010 Consumer, published in the Dec. 7, 2009 issue.

BEDDING BIZ BEAT Signs of recovery were evident in early fall sales reports from the International Sleep Products Association sample of 18 mattress manufacturers that account for about 56% of the total wholesale market revenue. Mattress and foundation dollars rose by nearly 6% in October 2009, compared to October 2008, and units shipped were up more than 4%. In September, units were up 7.6% compared to 2008, while sales revenues for the month fell by 2.3%.

Mattresses & Foundations - Millions of Dollars (wholesale) Sample of Leading Producers $339

$339 $303

$305

$290 $258

$294

$297 $290

$255

$249

$264

Percent change -14.8%

Percent change

Percent change

Percent change

Percent change

Percent change

-12.1%

-10.1%

-13.4%

-2.3%

+5.9%

May

June

July

August

September

October

Source: ISPA monthly Bedding Barometer, a sample of leading U.S. mattress producers

12 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

■ 2008 ■ 2009

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Dreams plc

Dreams CEO Nick Worthington

Specialty chain takes leading role in the U.K. mattress business By Nancy Butler Photography courtesy of Dreams

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

T

he challenges facing the mattress business in the United Kingdom are familiar ones to U.S. retailers: A too-long replacement cycle, a market too focused on low price and a consumer with too little awareness of the importance of a good mattress to good sleep. As Dreams plc CEO Nick Worthington said in an interview with Britain’s The Retailer, “We should spend a third of our lives in bed, yet we spend less on making ourselves comfortable at night than we do on the Blackberry Creek newsdaily cost of buying a tabloid owner Dick James paper.” But Worthington and his company

are in an enviable position. Dreams is the leading retailer in this country of approximately 60 million people. Founded as a single-store operation in 1985 by entrepreneur Mike Clare, today the chain boasts 230 stores U.K.-wide and plans to open another 40 this year. Worthington, who joined the company in 1997 and took the helm in 2006 when Dreams was bought by a private equity firm, has been instrumental in the company’s climb to the top. Its dramatic growth has continued, even as the recession drove U.K. mattress sales down by double digits. SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

15


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Dreams store in Poole

In 2008, total sales at Dreams rose 16% to £194 million—about $316.5 million—and operating profit rose by 18%. Although final 2009 numbers aren’t yet available, “It’s safe to say we have out-performed 2008 in every key measurable and that’s during the worst recession in living memory,” Worthington says. What’s the secret to success at Dreams? “We believe it’s the depth and breadth of our product range, peerless customer service and the specialized knowledge of our retail staff that sets Dreams apart,” says Worthington. “We don’t just sell our customers a bed and that’s the end of it; we want them to have a hassle-free experience and ultimately a great night’s sleep.” More than a mattress Worthington visited the U.S. not long ago and while the similarities in the markets were clear, he found merchandising to be a key point of difference in specialty retailing between the two countries. “Most noticeably, there seem to be

16 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

many more mattress-only stores that do not sell bed frames or accessories and where price seems to be the lead message,” he observes. “In the U.K. bed market, a significant proportion of sales are not mattresses and divans (foundations). The customer seems to shop differently in the U.S., where comfort and style are purchased separately.” All Dreams’ stores offer a huge choice of beds, sleep accessories and bedroom furniture. “We’re providing a convenient, one-stop destination for all their bedroom needs,” says Worthington. “Our ranges are constantly refreshed and updated with technological advances in bed and mattress design, as well as reflecting the latest in home trends and style.” So U.K. customers arrive at sleep specialty stores fully expecting to buy more than just the mattress. At Dreams, not only can they find mattress pads and basic frames, but a comprehensive range of pillows, duvets and bed linens, as well as a surprisingly full assortment of

decorative frames in wood and metal designs. “Beds that ‘do something’ are becoming increasingly popular,” notes Worthington. “Whether that be adjustable beds, ottoman beds with underbed storage or even beds with a flat-screen TV built in. Different is good, especially if you combine it with comfort and great value.” Divan beds—similar to our mattress and upholstered foundation sets—are still the bulk of sales. The U.K.’s most popular sizes are the “double,” which is similar to the U.S. full and the “king,” which is closer to a U.S. queen. “U.K. customers like a wide variety of beds and designs, from traditional pocket spring to memory foam, gel and latex,” says Worthington. All the major brands in the U.K.— a total of about 10—manufacture beds exclusively for Dreams and it produces a portion of its sets at its own factory. Prices start at £49 ($79) and go up to £10,000 (more than $16,000). Dreams stores average around 10,000 square feet and accommodate about 120 beds. The design and layout has changed to a more “abovethe-line brand image” over the past two years, Worthington says. “The new generation of stores has simpler messaging and focuses on creating a calmer, more relaxing atmosphere for the customer.” A revised layout supports a logical flow and easy access during the product presentation. New signage focuses on lifestyle images. “Most importantly customers need to lie down,” he says. “We believe trying beds is a vital part of the decision-making process. Creating a comfortable and relaxed in-store environment helps encourage customers to take as much time as they need.” Dreams Training Academy All of Dreams’ sales associates must complete the Dreams Training www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Academy before they set foot on the floor. “I think you would find us welcoming, knowledgeable and helpful without being pushy, and I know you would find your dream bed,” Worthington says. “There is no hard sell and no specific process; we simply try to establish the needs of the customer and then offer them suitable products to give them a great night’s sleep. We talk to the customer about what’s important to them, rather than to us.” “Training is at the heart of everything we do,” he says. “Training is a daily occurrence, not just something that happens on a course. So selfdevelopment tools are available, as well as regular training sessions held at the store level.” “Both salary and commission are used to reward our teams—the balance is vital to keep staff motivated and to attract the right caliber www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

of person initially,” according to Worthington. (In its interview, The Retailer noted that Dreams did not cut staff salaries during the worst sales period and, in fact, improved the benefits package to keep the staff fully engaged.) “We run competitions based on sales and service and even recently took 20 of our best for a dream holiday in New York,” he says. “Keep it different and keep it fun.” An investment in the right people is key to Dreams’ success, Worthington stresses. “At the heart of every business are its people and the Dream Team are simply the most passionate. From the top down there is an immense level of pride in the brand and a real ‘can do’ attitude—the whole company is devoted to ensuring that every one of its customers receives a great night’s sleep. We have built the

brand for beds and sleep in Britain, but never lose sight that our customers come first.” Service isn’t a department “Customer service is not a department, it’s a state of mind, so we all go out of our way to ensure we have happy customers,” says Worthington. “Marketing may build a brand, but it’s customer service that builds a reputation.” In the U.K., manufacturer warranties typically extend for just 12 months, but Dreams offers customers its own 10-year guarantee on every bed. While the guarantee adds confidence to the purchase, Worthington says, “We believe a mattress should be replaced at around five years, or sooner if a customer finds it uncomfortable”—a recommendation similar to the U.S. Better Sleep Council’s 5-7 years. SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

17


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Dreams also offers a 40-night comfort guarantee, which Worthington says is unique to his company. Dreams Home Delivery Depots across the U.K., with company-owned trucks and delivery teams, provide maximum flexibility in meeting customers’ needs. Options include same- or next-day delivery, evening or weekend delivery, coupled with a twohour delivery window. Online delivery booking enables customers to schedule dates at www.dreams.co.uk. Customers can also buy products online, but the Dreams site is primarily designed to facilitate consumer research and education. “Our website not only illustrates the products we sell, it also acts as an information portal for all things sleep,” says Worthington. The newest section,

18 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

“My Dreams,” is an interactive tool that interprets dreams, educates about sleep, features personalized relaxation sounds and includes a fun section for kids. Dreams moves mountains Worthington takes obvious and special pride in Dreams’ used bed collection and recycling service, which is increasingly compelling to U.K. customers. In 2007, Dreams built a £1 million recycling facility with state-ofthe-art shredding machines that tear the old mattresses apart so components can be collected for recycling. “We have recycled over 55,000 mattresses in the past 12 months alone,” says Worthington. “To put this into perspective, if all these

mattresses were stacked one on top of the other, the resulting ‘mattress mountain’ would soar higher than Mount Everest, reaching a staggering 37,000 feet”—roughly the cruising altitude of the average jumbo jet. In 2009, the company diverted 640 tons of waste material from the landfill—half of that was a direct result of its mattress recycling initiative, Worthington reports. Dreams’ recycling commitment earned it the title of High Street Recycling Champion, a prestigious award supported by the U.K.’s Environment Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Waste Implementation Program. Recently, Dreams launched a trial partnership with a local authority to

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

recycle discarded mattresses that would normally be destined for the landfill. “In return, they incinerate a portion of our customers’ old mattresses and the energy released in this process is harnessed into the national electrical grid,” Worthington explains. Other eco-friendly initiatives include back-hauling packaging material, and recycling printer cartridges and waste paper. “Small fry compared to our mattress recycling,” Worthington adds. “But every little bit helps.” “We are constantly looking at ways to bring us closer to our ultimate goal of zero landfill,” he says. “Britain is

e t th t a us rke See as Ma 1-5 eg ruary C V s La Feb lding 50 i 13 Bu

Dreams moves mountains

a small but highly populated country, so setting aside huge tracts of land for rubbish disposal is becoming an important environmental issue. Nobody wants a landfill site on their doorstep! It’s our responsibility as a

manufacturer and retailer to invest in protecting our environment.” Ethical issues are becoming a priority among U.K. retailers—and Dreams is a leader in that regard, Worthington says. “It’s not acceptable to source the cheapest materials and not think about where it’s come from and how it’s been obtained. We require our suppliers to meet or surpass stringent ethical criteria that cover child labor, welfare, health and safety issues and, of course, the environment. We visit key suppliers regularly and work with them to help them exceed the ethical standards we demand.” ●

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SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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THE SERVICE CENTER

improving the customer experience

Change your mind and watch your business soar

I

By Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest n our customer service book, Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan, we interviewed 10 companies that provide exceptional service to their customers. These companies have won awards, pushed through economic downturns and grown their businesses with long-term customer loyalty. Champions of customer service, they know that it’s how they look at the world and think about their customers that makes them so successful. Have you ever heard the saying, “What happens on the inside shows up on the outside”? One example is nutrition’s effect on your body. Eat too much junk food and your body will be adversely affected. It’s true intellectually, too. What’s on your mind will determine how you act. It’s also true that expectations affect results. In 1963, researcher Robert Rosenthal conducted an experiment in which he told a teacher at the beginning of a school year that only certain children in her class had achieved IQ scores in the top 20%. The students whose names were listed as having the high scores were chosen at random. At the end of the year, when the students were tested, those who had been designated as having higher IQs scored higher. The teacher’s expectations had influenced the children’s performance. How can this information help you better serve your customers and get more referral business? Service goes much deeper than just how you act. It’s how you think that will determine your success with your customers. When you believe that customers are a challenge to be dealt with, they will probably be more difficult. They’ll push your buttons and generally give you a hard time. But if you choose to become a “learned optimist”—focus on staying in a positive mindset no matter what happens around you—you’ll inevitably get better results. Your customers will come back again and again, and they’ll tell their friends. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • Special Section • January/February 2010

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THE SERVICE CENTER

improving the customer experience Get out of your own way How you think about and look at the world around you influences what happens in your life. If you’re optimistic, odds are you move through life with a happy exterior. You expect good things, find it easier to deal with setbacks and feel good about your life. Research shows that optimistic people perform better at school, work and sports, recover quicker from surgeries and even live longer than pessimists. If you’re a pessimist, you most likely expect to be treated poorly and probably present a grouchy face to the world. As a result of your crabby exterior, people aren’t as kind or responsive to you as they might otherwise be. The person who stops you from having what you most desperately want is often you. Your intellectual mind knows what you need to do. Want to be more physically fit? Your intellect says, “Exercise regularly and put down that cookie.” Unfortunately, emotions have a way of trumping intellect. This intellect-versus-emotion conflict appears in customer service,

too. In all likelihood, you want your customers to be happy. You want them to refer others to you, and you want to be savvy enough to resolve any troubling customer service situations with ease. That’s a logical desire. Yet, it isn’t easy to respond logically when emotions are running high. When a customer is complaining or you’re faced with an uncomfortable conversation with a coworker, do you want to run and hide? When you’ve made a mistake and you have to tell someone about it, do you procrastinate dealing with the situation? How do you get out of your own way and do the right thing? Here are three suggestions:

1

For example, let’s say you have a customer who insists on a better price than you can offer. She is relentless and demanding. She knows what she wants and she knows what she wants to pay for it. She refuses to look at any of the mattresses that are within her price range. What assumptions are you likely to make about

Give up your assumptions.

When you find yourself feeling frustrated, grumbling about an ongoing issue or angry at a customer, it’s an indicator that you need to take a deep breath and look at the situation from a new vantage point. Try putting aside assumptions and looking at just the facts.

this woman? Perhaps “she’s being unreasonable” or “she’s cheap” or even

What if you gave them what they want?

J

esse Iannello is a young professional employed by Jack Canfield, who’s known as “America’s #1 Success Coach.” We featured Jesse in our book, Who’s Your Gladys?, because she believes that exceeding customer expectations is simply “the thing to do.” Jesse is responsible for guiding thousands of people through Canfield’s personal growth seminars every year. At one conference, she had a customer who was incredibly demanding—enough to request a mini-refrigerator be brought into the hotel training room to keep his snacks cold throughout the day. Rather than making negative assumptions like “He’s trying to take advantage of me” or “He’s being ridiculous”, Jesse asked herself, “Can this be done?” She made a quick inquiry with the hotel and discovered that

4 SleepSavvy • Special Section • January/February 2010

not only would they be willing to bring a mini-refrigerator in the room, but there would be no charge to do so. She made a customer extremely happy and it took less than five minutes. How many people do you know who would have dismissed it as an outrageous request from an outrageous customer? What keeps Jesse in her service mindset is her unwavering belief that customers have their own reasons for making requests and that making assumptions about those reasons is useless. Jesse thinks like a service excellence champion, keeping her mind free to give even the most unlikely requests appropriate consideration. As a result of Jesse’s efforts, the Jack Canfield Company is thriving, with many loyal, devoted customers and a steady stream of referrals. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


“This woman is my worst nightmare.” However, if you choose to look strictly at the facts, you might think, “I’m here with a woman who wants a lower price than I can give her.” This last response is fact-based, which leaves you free to respond instead of reacting emotionally. Your tone of voice and body language will soften and you will send a very different message to that customer, something more compassionate. When you come from a place of compassion, you can more easily think of an appropriate, customer-friendly response. You might try, “I wish I could give you the price you want for this mattress. If it were possible, I would do it. What I can do is offer x, y, or z in that price range. Which one would you like to look at first?” Giving up assumptions can be challenging. One way you can start immediately is to ask yourself “what if?” whenever you feel a negative judgment coming on. For example, what if your customer isn’t being rude, she’s just worried about money? What if she has her heart set on this one mattress? What if she’s afraid of spending too much? How would that change your assumption about—and your behavior toward—that customer?

2

Focus on the big picture.

Before you start your day, imagine ending your shift knowing that your customers were delighted with you. Imagine your happy customers telling family and friends to buy their next mattress from you. After all, every customer interaction could contribute to higher sales for you and your store. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

This thought pattern turns retail sales associates into customer service champions. Champions see challenges as opportunities to test their abilities and grow into the next level of success. Champions aren’t satisfied with satisfactory. They strive for excellence. If you focus on being the champion of service excellence before you respond to a service issue, how might it change the way you handle tough situations? When you see yourself as a champion of customer service, you will feel like a champion. You will look forward to being the person to assist a distressed customer because you’ll know you have the competence to do so successfully. You will probably even enjoy the challenge of turning an angry customer into a vocal advocate.

3

Discover your passion. Some peo-

ple love working with facts and statistics; others hate it. Some like working with their hands; others detest it. Some have a passion for serving customers; others develop excellent customer service skills because they have a passion for developing skills. Get in touch with your passion and put it to work at work. Do you have a passion for problem solving? Making people happy?

Ferreting out the best possible compromise? People who put passion into their work are happier and more productive. They inspire coworkers and naturally attract customers. Reframe what you see One of the companies featured in Who’s Your Gladys? is Professional Movers, a residential and corporate moving company in Michigan. One of their biggest customer segments is senior citizens. These customers are often leaving their homes after decades and are struggling with a major life change. At Professional Movers,

Reframing the w you see a crank customer helps stay in a positi helpful mindse

makes the exp easier for them

SleepSavvy • Special Section • January/February 2010

5


way

ky s you

ive, et and perience

m.

when their senior customers are being crabby or angry or ridiculous, the staff members purposely “see” the behavior in its best possible light. They practice “reframing.” Reframing is a behavioral technique where you decide the “frame” through which you will see something that happens in your life. You give the situation its meaning and decide the context through which you see it. For example, if a Professional Movers’ customer is being forced to move out of their house to a retirement community, they are experiencing high levels of negative emotion.

Company pros don’t take it personally when they come across cranky customers. Instead, they see them as people going through a difficult time. Reframing the way you see a cranky customer helps you stay in a positive, helpful mindset and makes the experience easier for them. Suppose a man comes to your store and becomes very impatient when he has to wait a minute or two until one of your store’s sales staff can come over and talk to him. He’s complaining loudly to his wife that your store has “crappy service” and acts rude when you approach him to offer your assistance. In this case, you could choose to see him and the situation in several different ways. If you put yourself in the customer’s shoes, you will think, “No wonder he’s angry, I get angry when I have to wait, too.” See things from his perspective so you don’t get defensive. You’ll want to solve the problem for him just as you’d want it solved for you. If you focus on the big picture, you will say to yourself, “This customer is probably eager to buy something, so let me see what I can do to help him feel appreciated and move the process forward.” You will say to him, “Thank you for your patience” and give him attentive service because you’re focused on the end result of a sale. Lose that bad attitude Let’s say you woke up late this morning. The coffee can was empty and your son missed the bus. Your day started out a complete mess. Your attitude? “Why me?!”

6 SleepSavvy • Special Section • January/February 2010

As you drove to work, you thought of some tasks you forgot to complete yesterday and you pictured the whole day being busy and stressful. Under those circumstances, how could you possibly be “optimistic?” You feel like you have too much to do, not enough time to do it and everything is going wrong. Yet, you have to deal with customers all day and try to make the most of it. Should you just shut up, smile and put on a fake performance? Maybe you should. Self-help groups recommend that you “Fake it till you make it,” which means acting as if you feel happy and optimistic until you actually do feel happier and more optimistic. We’re not suggesting that you deny or suppress your feelings. Instead, we’re suggesting you change your outlook. How would you act if you could shake off the negativity of a rough morning and start fresh? Imagine what it would feel like—then act as if you feel that way. This exercise will help you pivot to a positive attitude. Another great way to turn around a bad attitude is to focus on gratitude. Start by thinking of three things for which you’re grateful. Do you have close friends? Is your family healthy? Does your car run well? Do you love your dog? Find something small that makes you feel good and think about it for a minute or two. Then think of something else that is going well for you for another few minutes. By the time you’ve thought of three or four, you’ll be in a much more positive state of mind. If you’re really having a tough time turning around your mood, make a habit of creating this list every night before you go to bed. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


THE SERVICE CENTER

improving the customer experience Ge

you

t in

tou

Keeping a gratiwit ass put h i o tude na you n to r d journal p wo rk a assion at your tw ork bedside . can help you develop a helpful new habit of focusing on what’s going right instead of what’s going wrong. This action alone can increase your happiness significantly over just a few months. You will inevitably bring this more positive energy into your business life, so it will become easier to provide excellent service.

rp

ch

Moods can be contagious Imagine you have a throbbing toothache. You sit down in the dentist’s chair in pain. The dentist enters the room in a cheerful mood. If you catch the dentist’s mood, you relax a bit and she breezes through the procedure. But what would happen if the dentist catches your mood? She’d wince when you winced. As your knuckles turn white grabbing the arms of the chair, her knuckles turn white grabbing her instruments. As your panic grows, her panic grows. You would probably never go back to that dentist again. People in helping professions must meet others’ sadness, anger and pain with an attitude of acceptance and a belief in their ability to make a difference. Imagine meeting your customers’ www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

hostile moods with acceptance and a belief in your ability to help them feel better. To respond helpfully, start by understanding that it is okay for customers to feel what they feel. It’s okay for a customer to feel disappointed about a purchase. It’s okay for a customer to feel angry about delivery fees. There’s nothing “wrong” with their feelings. It’s easier for customers to return to good feelings once their bad feelings are accepted. When you’re comfortable with their upset, it’s easier for them to switch gears, cope with their frustrations and move forward. To keep a customer’s hostile mood from spreading to you, take a moment to challenge yourself to choose your mood. If a customer shows anger and you reflect irritation or defensiveness, their anger grows. If you respond with compassion, it changes the dynamic. For example, in a mood of compassion, you can say, “I can see how angry you feel. You were expecting your delivery by 6 p.m. and it’s nearly 9 p.m. I am so sorry. I’ll call the driver and get this straightened out.” Every complaint is a gift Complaints are, as Martha Stewart would say, “a good thing,” even though it doesn’t feel good to hear them. A recent study by British

10 phrases

customers love 1. Yes! 2. I’ll be happy to. 3. How can we make your next visit with us even better? 4. Hello, I’m (name). Is there anything I can do to help you? 5. I remember that you liked x, y and z the last time you were here. 6. Is there anything else I can do for you? 7. Thank you so much for your business. 8. I got your message and I’m returning your call with the answer you requested. 9. I will do everything I can to make this right. 10. I appreciate your honest feedback. It’s the only way we can improve.

research firm BDO Stoy Hayward revealed that due to current economic conditions, customers are more sensitive than ever to service issues, even “hypersensitive.” Seventy-four percent will leave without buying anything if they perceive poor customer service. You may never know what caused them to leave because most customers don’t bother to tell you. Your complainer is actually a gift, telling you about something that in all likelihood is affecting your other customers. When customers

SleepSavvy • Special Section • January/February 2010

7


THE SERVICE CENTER

improving the customer experience

Reframing your customer’s behavior Here are some examples of reframing a negative to a positive interpretation. Can you think of a few of your own?

w no I k at I wh nt wa

Negative Behavior Cheap

Positive Interpretation On a tight budget

Angry

Having a tough day

Demanding

Knows what she wants

Complaining

Cares enough to tell you what she thinks

Bossy

Willing to tell you exactly what she wants

take the time to complain, it means they care enough to do so. Though it can be uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of an angry tirade, it can give you some useful information. The key to getting value out of a complaint is to not take it personally. The customer is angry with the company, not with you personally. And even if it’s you she’s complaining about, it’s helpful to understand the customer’s perception. When you get a complaint, here are the steps to take: Thank the customer for complaining. “Thank you so much for telling me how unhappy you are. Please tell me more. I want to be sure to understand what went wrong.” Follow up with the customer. Document the complaint and figure out what can be done to change procedures or policies so that others won’t experience the same problem. Then call the complaining customer and tell her what your company has decided to do to make the situation less likely to occur in the future.

1 2

3

Have service recovery tools and know how to use them. When things go wrong, what customers most want is a genuine apology and someone to listen to them. Ask, “What can we do to make this right for you?” Often the customer simply wants to feel like she’s being treated fairly. Atonement might also include a coupon or a gift card. Offer the gift saying, “I’m so sorry this happened. It isn’t how we usually do things around here. Please accept this as a token of our apology.”

Skillfully managing a complaint gives you the chance to show the customer who you are—a problem-solving service professional who cares. It’s often after a complaint is handled brilliantly that customers become raving fans— the kind who’ll get on the Internet to tell everybody how great you are. When you know this, you can see the potential of a happy patron at the onset of a customer meltdown. Manage your thoughts What’s happening in the privacy of your own thoughts comes through loud and clear to your customers. Research shows that 55% of what you communicate is nonverbal, so managing your thoughts is a critical part of your success. Consider your thoughts as seeds for the future. What do you want to nurture? Use the tools you’ve just read about to ensure that you are performing at the top of your game when it comes to customer care. It’s a surefire way to create raving fans and win a high rate of referral business. ●

Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest are the authors of Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan (AMACOM 2009). Marilyn Suttle is the founder of Suttle Enterprises LLC and has taught thousands of people across the country how to have happier, more productive relationships with customers. Lori Jo Vest has been involved in relationship-based sales and customer service for more than 20 years, most recently with television production studio Communicore Visual Communications. For more information, visit www.whosyourgladys.com.

Many thanks to NATURA for sponsoring this special section. 8 SleepSavvy • Special Section • January/February 2010

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22 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


The cover story

Can we talk? Adding social media to your consumer conversation

I

By Barbara Nelles

f the thought of getting your company up to speed on social media marketing makes your hands clammy and your head swim, you are not alone. Blame it on the tidal wave of new SM tools with constantly changing rules and the epic amount of new information and opinion washing ashore each day. Savvy business owners don’t jump right in the water, they pull up a chair and begin by observing. They soon discover that social media is not just about enhanced marketing communications. It’s about business and product development. And it’s about customer relations. What exactly is social media? It’s blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, forums, chat, wikis, picture and video-sharing websites, social bookmarking, rating sites and more. Why is social media so popular? Because humans are “hypersocial” by nature, says Francois Gossieaux, co-founder of Beeline Labs, which is a co-sponsor—along with Deloitte www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

and the Society of New Communications Research—of the 2009 Tribalization of Business Study. “People love hanging out in online communities, helping each other and, in some cases, helping companies.” Social media marketing is not like traditional advertising. It won’t work if you push out the same old sales messages on your blog, Facebook or Twitter. “It’s not a new marketing channel. It’s about community and relationship building and engaging in conversations,” says Amber Naslund, a social media blogger and consultant with Radian6, an SM monitoring software company. “The most important thing to remember is the public views social media as ‘all about me’.” “In fact, people are really distrustful of brands in the social media space,” says Markham Butler, technical director for ad agency BBDO Atlanta. “They don’t want to be bothered with companies that get in there and try to blast out product messages.” SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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THE COVER STORY social media

Start by listening Begin your venture into SM by creating “listening posts.” Monitor commentary about your store, your competitors, mattress shopping, sleep and wellness, the brands you carry and more. Expect that it will take awhile to refine your list of relevant searches. Take advantage of the many free tools beginning with Google Alerts, www.google.com/alerts. (Don’t want your inbox flooded with alerts? Elect to receive them as feeds in Google Reader.) Use search terms in search engines that target only social media such as: www.socialmention.com and www.backtype.com. Use Twitter Search located at Search.twitter.com to track tweets. Or create a Twitter account and download one of many free Twitter

“browsers” such as TweetDeck, Seesmic or Tweetie. To see what consumers are saying in real time, keep the browser open on your desktop. Sign up for the bookmarking tool Delicious and begin tagging, tracking and sharing news and chatter relevant to your business. Join the conversation Now, set some goals for your social media efforts. Do you want your store to become the local expert at solving sleep problems? Do you need to improve your store’s reputation? Do you want to get the word out about a new sleep accessories line? Then choose your platform— one that you and your employees feel comfortable working with—

Measuring social media ROI

M

easuring the effectiveness of social media marketing is a nascent, hotly debated field. Follow the latest thinking at SM marketing blogs (see the “Getting educated” section on page 28). Plan on tracking your social media involvement over time. Free tools include Google Analytics and the site statistics tool Xinu Returns, which analyze traffic on websites and blogs. Set up alerts at SM search engines such as www.socialmention.com. Compare social mentions, number of website visitors, fans and followers to sales figures, store traffic, average ticket, etc. You’ll want to use tools to drill down into the quality of online conversations, not just tally numbers of mentions. Some monitoring platforms to consider include: Radian6, a fee-based SM monitoring platform that provides results and analysis in real time on a “flexible dashboard”—it’s billed based on volume and users, starting at about $600 a month; Freemium, a free SM monitoring application from Techrigy, www.techrigy.com; and Trackur, www.trackur.com, a social media monitoring application with a free trial and a basic rate of $18 per month. For more about SM measurement, watch the slide show “Basics of Social Media ROI” by Olivier Blanchard at www.slideshare.com, and read “How to Measure Social Media ROI for Business” by Aaron Uhrmacher at Mashable.com.

24 SleepSavvy •

January/February 2010

whether it’s blogging, Twitter or Facebook. Hint: Facebook has quickly become a must-have for businesses selling direct to consumers, especially retailers. So, even if your store has no website, put up a Facebook business page. They are easy to create, personalize and update. Businesses have Facebook “fan” pages, not personal profiles with “friends.” Who will spearhead your SM efforts? “Empower those people within your company who understand your brand’s value and what makes you better than the competition,” says Beth Harte, a community manager for MarketingProfs and a marketing and public relations consultant. “Understand that you and your employees are going to make mistakes in the social media space,” says Erik Qualman, an SM consultant, global vice president of online marketing at EF Education and author of Socialnomics. “You’re going to fail, but fail forward and then succeed. Recognize you don’t have all the answers right now. The beauty of social media is that users will tell you what they need and you’re going to adjust to that.” Your brand ambassadors will not necessarily be your youngest, most digitally savvy staffers. Look for people who have a positive attitude and a good understanding of your brand, products and mission, experts say. Don’t expect them to stay on message all the time, but do choose people able to converse fluently and authentically with consumers. Retail sales associates are a natural choice, but consider other members of your staff as well. “Send these people to conferences and educate them about social www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


THE COVER STORY social media

media,” Harte says. “Allow them time to view blogs, Facebook, Twitter posts and YouTube videos at work.” Infant products company Graco has a popular “Heart to Heart” blog with more than a dozen contributors from within the company. Its success began with a single employee, a new mom who forged authentic connections with website visitors, according to Butler. “In the mattress category there is so much to talk with consumers about,” Harte points out. “People want to understand how mattresses are made, what’s best for a bad back and why, what to buy when pregnant. They seek product help and advice when furnishing a new house, getting married or having their first baby. Be there for them. Share real stories and provide helpful content. Get them to share their stories, too, and you are on your way to creating brand evangelists.” One way to engage consumers is to offer a “utility” via your SM platform, Butler says. A utility may be a tool that consumers use to compare your products to your competitors’, a quiz that helps them find the perfect bed, or a gadget to download and tell their friends about. For instance, outdoor retailer REI created a ski report application for smartphones. “Bear in mind that social media is very much a slow burn,” Naslund says. “Don’t get frustrated. Develop a philosophy of being present, helpful and available and letting the people who need you find you.” Cultivate fans on Facebook Facebook claims to be the most popular social networking platwww.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Dealing with negative comments

R

ule No. 1: Do not attempt to discredit the complaint by getting defensive. “Don’t counter negative comments by immediately jumping to the defense of your company, your products or your employees,” says Beth Harte, a community manager for MarketingProfs and a marketing and public relations consultant. “Instead, say ‘Wow! Thanks for sharing that. Let me see what we can do about this and let me get back to you’.” “Real-time customer feedback via social media, even the negative kind, is something to get excited about,” says Erik Qualman, a social media consultant, global vice president of online marketing at EF Education and author of Socialnomics. “Think of it as the world’s biggest focus group—you’ll get answers to questions you never even thought to ask.” “Fear is the biggest nail in the coffin of any social media program, but I always say social media didn’t invent criticism, it just made it easier to hear and react to,” says Amber Naslund, a social media blogger, consultant and the director of community for Radian6, an SM monitoring software company. “Complaints represent a beautiful opportunity to engage with those people, turn it to a positive and become a ‘customer engagement activist’ on the web,” Naslund adds. “‘I think your store sucks!’—ignore that comment and it looks like you are tacitly agreeing or trying to hide something. We consumers don’t expect companies to be perfect; we expect them to be responsive.” E-tailers are discovering that even negative reviews boost sales, reports CNNMoney.com in “Think letting customers post cranky reviews of your products will scare away sales? Here’s the surprising truth.” When retailer AlpacaDirect.com added customer reviews to its site, it saw a 23% increase in sales and found that items with multiple reviews, both positive and negative, sold better. “Know that people will bad-mouth you for no good reason and employees will mess up, but you can’t avoid that,” advises Francois Gossieaux, cofounder of Beeline Labs, a co-sponsor—along with Deloitte and Society for New Communications Research—of the 2009 Tribalization of Business Study. “Embrace the messiness of social media. If you can’t solve someone’s problem but you try and are fair about it—that will be OK.”

form, with more than 300 million active users around the world. Its fastest growing demographic is women between the ages of 35 and 55. More than 300,000 businesses have created Facebook pages. In spring 2009, the application broadened the functionality of the “Pages” feature so that they more closely resemble Facebook personal profiles. Companies can post updates and fans can comment and interact on your “wall,” just as they do on personal profiles.

Coupons, giveaways and contests on Facebook have enabled many retailers to rack up tens if not hundreds of thousands of fans—as of this writing Best Buy has almost one million. In 2009, soon after creating its Facebook page, Papa John’s Pizza went from 1,000 to 20,000 fans overnight when it offered a secret code yielding a coupon for a free pizza, according to Butler. At yearend, its fan base was more than 730,000. Having Facebook fans is the SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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THE COVER STORY social media

Creating social media guidelines

C

oncerned about social media abuse? You can minimize risks to your company by creating and enforcing a brief, easy-to-understand policy for the use of SM, advises Beth Harte, community manager for Los Angeles-based MarketingProfs and a marketing and public relations consultant. ● Your guidelines should include commonsense advice like: Don’t share any information you wouldn’t be comfortable telling your mom. ● Write your rules in conjunction with your company’s risk managers, including attorneys and insurance companies. Decide who within your company is allowed to identify themselves as representatives of your business in social media forums. ● Be forthright with the public about your policies. Infant products manufacturer Graco links its blog to a “Rules of Engagement” that lets readers know it operates in a highly regulated industry and is unable to address all issues publicly. ● Conduct periodic audits to ensure SM policies are being followed. For more, read Sharlyn Lauby’s “10 Must-haves for your social media policy” and view a sample company policy, all at Mashable.com.

online equivalent of a customer loyalty program, Butler says. Companies on Facebook can constantly reconnect with fans via status updates, announce sales and specials, access fan demographics, track responses and have conversations with consumers. Combining traditional advertising with social media ensures you reach your entire target audience, the online and the off. Plus, the two tactics strengthen each other, experts say. Volkswagen did just that in May 2009 when it launched “Meet the Volkswagens,” a TV ad campaign that drove viewers to its Facebook page, says Butler. Visitors were prompted to click a button on the Volkswagen page that allowed them to log into their own Facebook accounts. The utility mined their profile to match them with their “future Volkswagen.” People then clicked on photos of their matches, viewed pages set up

26 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

for fans of specific vehicles and shared photos, videos and stories with others who had been similarly matched. Learn more about Facebook by fanning it, subscribing to its official blog, Blog.facebook.com, and visiting third-party Facebook blog www.allfacebook.com. Follow customers on Twitter Launched in 2006, Twitter is the fastest growing social media application, according to Nielsen Online. Its strongest demographic is users 28 to 50 years old. The microblog-

ging platform grew an astounding 1,928% in the U.S. from June 2008 to June 2009. By July, it had more than 50 million unique monthly visitors. Often described as Internetbased texting, Twitter has an enormous community of dedicated users. Basically twitterers publish short posts of 140 characters or less about what they are doing or thinking. They “follow” people and are followed by others. If they see a good tweet, they can “retweet” it. A business can use Twitter to quickly share information with consumers, build relationships, gather feedback and collect market intelligence. Sign up for Twitter and begin following people. Get recommendations from the Twitter directory, WeFollow.com and from Twellow, www.twellow.com— it bills itself as “the Twitter Yellow Pages.” Retailers should also follow ExecTweets.com/retail, a compilation of top retail executives’ tweets. Monitor Twitter posts for phrases such as “going mattress shopping” or “need a new bed” to quickly see just how many consumers need assistance with the process. Be aware—and be prepared: A Twitter account opened under your store name will quickly evolve into a de facto customer service platform. Comcast executive Frank Eliason pioneered the Twitter customer service model. “He singlehandedly changed Comcast,” Naslund says, “when he got on Twitter one day and said ‘Can I help you?’ to a disgruntled customer.” Eliason, director of digital care, now has a team behind him assisting 34,000 followers on Twitter at ComcastCares. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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Therapeutic Art for the Bedroom Visco Memory Foam and Latex mattresses and pillows. Every bedroom should be an oasis of affordable beauty and comfort.

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THE COVER STORY social media

In July 2009, Best Buy launched its Twelpforce, more than 2,500 rank-and-file Best Buy employees who respond to questions and requests via Twitter. You need only include “@twelpforce” in tweets to get a Twelpforce member’s attention. The service is so successful that it has started to “crowd source,” Qualman says. “In other words, lots of the help and advice is coming from other customers. To date, Twelpforce has supplied some 25,000 answers.” Companies with a number of Twitter users and handles can conveniently manage all users in a single browser called Hootsuite.com, which bills itself as “the professional Twitter client.” It allows

you to sync Twitter updates with a number of other social media platforms, too. For information on getting started, visit Twitter 101 for Business, business.twitter.com /twitter101. It’s a mobile conversation Perhaps you’ve noticed more shoppers thumbing smartphones as they shop your store? Are they reading product reviews, comparison shopping, asking for help from friends and family, even posting a review of you—as they shop your store? You bet. It’s a trend that will continue to grow. In November, BusinessWeek

Getting educated on social media Good books ● Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff ● Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman ● The Social Media Marketing Book by Dan Zarrella ● Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Video ● “ Social Media Revolution” by Erik Qualman at YouTube Slideshow ● “A Collection of Talkable Tweets from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s (WOMMA) 2009 Summit” at www.slideshare.net

Social media blogs ●A  ltitude Branding by Amber Naslund, www.altitudebranding.com —download the free Social Media Starter Kit ● Chris Brogan, www.chrisbrogan.com ● Harte of Marketing by Beth Harte, www.theharteofmarketing.com ● Mashable: The Social Media Guide, www.mashable.com ● Social Media Today, www.socialmediatoday.com

E-newsletters ● www.clickz.com ● www.mediapost.com ● www.smartbrief.com/news/socialmedia

28 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

reported that one in five holiday shoppers would use their mobile phone as a shopping assistant. Mobile Marketing Watch predicts smartphone sales will outstrip computer sales by 2011. In August 2009, CNet News reported that use of the Apple iPhone to access the Internet increased 221% in 12 months, and phones using Google’s Android operating system are rolling out right now. “We are looking at an increasingly mobile Web environment. Since 2008, Internet access via mobile devices has soared,” says Jeb Banner, chief executive officer of Small Box, a web development and digital marketing company. “More than three-quarters of Twitter users and one-quarter of Facebook users access the applications from a mobile device.” “Whenever the mood strikes us we can now have sound-bite conversations,” says Naslund. “The ease of the mobile web enables people to broadcast without the filters or impulse control they exercise when creating longer commentary. And there are impulsive blurts of compliments, too. Companies need to be paying attention.” ● www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


THE COVER STORY social media

Hiring a social media expert

I

f you need to hone your team’s social marketing skills, consider bringing in an outside consultant for a day or two to get jump-started, advises Erik Qualman, global vice president of online marketing at EF Education and author of Socialnomics. Also, universities around the country are offering social media marketing courses and certificates. Many are taught online. If you need to hire a social media manager “be sure to find someone who really is engaged with social media, not someone who views it as a tool for message pushing,” says Beth Harte, a community manager for MarketingProfs and a marketing and public relations consultant. Check to see if your potential hire—or in the case of an outside SM agency, its executives and employees—are “out in the social media space,” says Markham Butler, technical director for ad agency BBDO Atlanta. “Forget about how they pitch you. Look at what they are doing. Are they out there, searchable and sought after for valuable information? Are they on LinkedIn? Do they have Twitter handles and blogs that they use regularly? People who do social media well do it all the time.” For more guidance read “25 Signs You’ve Got a Strong SM Consultant or Agency” at The Harte of Marketing blog, www.theharteofmarketing.com.

15

years of innovative design and project support for mattress retailers and manufacturers.

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SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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77A nniversary th

Campbell Mattress Company is currently celebrating their 77th Anniversary. Being successful for 77 years in the ever changing manufacturing environment requires being able to adapt and use cutting edge technology to meet the needs of the consumer. Campbell Mattress Company has been able to do this because of its ability and willingness to “change with the times”, and still provide exceptional products and consumer service.

About Campbell Mattress...

our manufacturing facilities are located in Cape Girardeau, a 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 garnets our own raw cotton which also gives us a distinct advantage over most bedding manufacturers in maintaining our superior quality. Visit us on the web at: www.campbellmattressco.com

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BE MY GUEST by Barrie Brown

‘Ma’am, this mattress has an 800 coil count in a queen’ Really? Is this the best advice I can offer?! Why, in the mattress industry, are specifications so important to us? The answer is relatively simple. Coil counts, thickness of foam, cover fabric composition, height of the mattress and foundation, etc., are easily identifiable points of differentiation. In a sales presentation, the specs are an easy conduit to build value and justify the price. The act of purchasing a mattress is incredibly confusing to the consumer—the specs can help demystify it. Before you misinterpret my comments, let’s look at the other side of the coin. What is important to the consumer? How will she make the buying decision? Is price the most important factor? Specs? Comfort? If your company will allow you to try this, ask your next customer the following questions: Which brand of mattress do you currently sleep on? What do you like/dislike about your current mattress? Where did you purchase the mattress?

1

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

2

If they like their current mattress, ask: What is the coil count? How many inches of visco foam? Latex foam? What is the composition of the fabric? How tall is your current mattress? Foundation? Is your current mattress set comfortable? If your customer is typical, the answers will be as follows: “I’m not sure of the brand. It might a Sealy Perfect Sleeper or Simmons Posturepedic.” A recent survey revealed that 92% of consumers do not know the brand of the mattress they currently sleep on. An even more ominous survey result revealed that, after one year, 57% of consumers don’t remember the name of the retailer where they purchased their last mattress. “Don’t know, don’t know, don’t know, don’t know and don’t care.” “We liked the mattress for the first couple of years, but now it’s uncomfortable” or “I like the bed, but she hates it.” If customers don’t buy a mattress based on product, price or promotion, then what is important to the customer? What will motivate the customer to buy from you?

3 1

2 3

It’s all about trust Consumers become customers when they develop a bond of trust with you as a sales associate and with the company you represent. Since consumers are infrequently in the market to purchase a new mattress, the sticker shock will be real (although, to the best of my knowledge, CPR has never been administered to a consumer inquirSleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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BE MY GUEST by Barrie Brown

this “word-of-mouth advertising.” Treat the customer really well, ask for the referral, treat the referral really well—and sales will build for you and your company. However, a word (or 50) on word-of-mouth advertising: The world has changed dramatically and, unfortunately, our industry has not changed commensurately. At the recent International Sleep Products Association Industry Conference in Florida, we heard from Erik Qualman, author of the book Socialnomics. My favorite quotes from Erik are: “It’s a peopledriven economy, stupid” and “Word of mouth is now World of Mouth.” Consumers want more control over their lives and individual solutions. In the consumer’s search for personalized solutions, they will search the Internet for answers, check in with friends and family for advice, and finally visit a store. Today’s consumers are likely—40% of the time—to pull out their cell phones, access Twitter and send a tweet to their community: “OMG, need to buy a mattress. Any recommendations?” Or a consumer will go—82% of the time—to the Internet and type into a search engine “mattress recommendations” or similar search terms. Try it yourself to see how confused the customer will quickly

Every consumer is important. Treat them as if they have the power to influence millions of people, because they do.

ing about the price). Price is always important, but it remains a secondary consideration to the consumer. If your presentation is focused on price, you will always lose the sale to a competitor. Your responsibility is to solve the customer’s sleeping issues through careful and constant questioning regarding her likes/dislikes, to find the right mattress for her body type, sleeping position and her partner’s sleeping habits and all within an acceptable price range. Consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer they trust. Twenty-five years ago, we started calling

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32 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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BE MY GUEST by Barrie Brown

become. No wonder they reach out to their trusted advisors, aka, family and friends. In the blink of an eye, the consumer has changed. A customer will be in your store, engaged in your sales presentation and you know she is ready to buy from you. But suddenly, there’s a change—she needs to shop one more place, talk to her spouse, research on the Internet, check her finances or (insert your favorite walk phrase here). What happened? How did you lose control of the sale? Maybe the customer sent a tweet and the response was, “Don’t buy from XYZ store. They are crooks and didn’t honor the warranty” or “Buy from ABC store. Sally was terrific.” Perhaps the customer wanted to hear about your “green” efforts and you didn’t have the right answer. Surely the reason the customer walked out couldn’t be you, your lack of professionalism or your lack of knowledge. Or could it? One of the many reasons customers defer their purchase is their frustration with the process of buying a mattress. Based on consumer research, the most significant reason is the lack of believability of the sales associates. Every associate spins the tale in a different way and the result is rampant confusion. Some people might call this lying or misleading, but in my experience, it is generally the result of lack of information and credibility. Credible knowledge of your product specifications and their benefits to the consumer, as well as knowledge of your competitor’s offerings, will lead to greater trust and generate sales. However, make sure that you understand the changes in today’s consumer and that you tailor your questions and presentation accordingly. In today’s reality, the consumer has instant access

to information either through websites, blogs or other social networks. Transparency of the retailer and the retail experience is more important now than any time in the past. The old model of “advertise and they will come” is quickly disappearing and the power is shifting to the consumer through information. If you review mattress blogs or consumer experience websites, you will probably be frustrated with the volumes of misinformation regarding you, your company and the products you represent. Make sure that you are honest, transparent and thorough in your presentations. Word-of-mouth advertising is now the “World of Mouth”—and one slight misstep on your part can generate significant negative press for you, your company and the mattress industry. Today’s reality is that every consumer is important. Treat them as if they have the power to influence millions of people, because they do. ● Barrie Brown was most recently president and CEO of Mattress Giant, which grew from 180 to 367 stores in seven years under his leadership. Prior to that, he was president and COO of Sleep Country USA. Before joining the mattress industry, he was with Ryder Systems in positions of increasing responsibility in vehicle and employee leasing, logistics and the retailing of various product lines. Recently, Barrie founded Etoyeblikk Retail Strategies, which can be translated as “in the blink of an eye,” a consulting practice broad-based in disciplines but focused on small-box retail with a commissioned sales force. You can contact Barrie by emailing etoyeblikk@hotmail.com or by visiting his website at www.etoyeblikk.com.

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SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

33


Sleep Savvy reaches the decision-makers ➤ 70%

of Sleep Savvy’s retailer readers have management titles.

85% of Sleep Savvy’s retailer readers say they have purchasing responsibility.

100% of Sleep Savvy’s retailer readers sell mattresses – and we are the ONLY publication that can say that.

Kerri Bellias, Vice President of Sales (336) 945-0265 kbellias@sleepproducts.org

34 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

SleepSavvy The magazine for sleep products professionals

www.sleepsavvymagazine.org

Nancy Butler, Editor in Chief (828) 299-7420 nbutler@sleepproducts.org www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


S howcase In each issue distributed at the Las Vegas Market, Sleep Savvy offers our advertisers an opportunity to contribute information and photos showcasing their products and services, with an emphasis on what’s exciting and new. Showcase appears only in Sleep Savvy’s January/February and September issues. Here are the contributors featured in this section:

Arason Carpenter Gotcha Covered Ermcar Latex International Leggett & Platt

Mantua Mega Natura Restonic Sleep Trust South Bay Therapedic

Therapedic’s HourGlass Technology offers additional support where your customers need it most. The new BackSense™ line of sleep sets by Therapedic features the exclusive HourGlass back support element. This custom-developed polypropylene element increases support firmness by 18% at the shoulders and hips, and by 13% at the lumbar area. The flexible technology can be combined with virtually any coil unit to offer improved performance and added value in a wide variety of mattress designs. The BackSense line also features: ● Open spring designs that provide progressive resistance as weight is applied to support where body weight is centered.  ● Zoned coil configurations that provide variable density across the sleep surface to tailor support for every part of the body.  ● Cushioning comfort materials for optimal conformance and pressure relief in the upper upholstery layers of the mattress. See our exclusive support feature in the Therapedic showroom at the Las Vegas Market, B-0822. Therapedic Sleep Products 103 College Rd. East Princeton, NJ 08540 Phone: 800-314-4433 www.therapedic.com

Gotcha Covered’s 100% ECOCERT® certified organic combed cotton sheet sets are constructed with superior singleply yarns and single-pick sateen weaving in 300 TRUE thread count, producing a silky and buttery hand feel that is the ultimate in luxury and natural living. They are packaged in earth-friendly biodegradable bags and are expertly made in Thailand in an Oeko-Tex certified mill. ECOCERT® certification guarantees the practice of genuine environmental respect throughout the manufacturing of the product. The certification ensures that 100% of the components are of a natural origin. Over the past 13 years, Gotcha Covered has developed relationships with factories worldwide to ensure all products are made strictly by the highest standards. The company only works with resources providing the finest quality fabrics, yarns, weaving and finishing processes. And with the PURE line, we have identified partners in the USA (organic protectors) and Thailand to conform to those standards, as well. Visit us at the Las Vegas Market, showroom C-1278. Gotcha Covered 274 W. Spazier Ave. Burbank, CA 91502 Phone: 818-848-5656 www.gotchacoveredusa.com

Now introducing CelsionTM temperature-regulating latex pillows— the next generation in Talalay latex pillows. Rejuvenite’s exclusive, patent-pending phase-change Talalay latex pillows create a cooler, more balanced sleep surface by absorbing heat energy released from the head and neck, keeping a sleeper in the ideal temperate zone. The Celsion pillows fit perfectly into our ComfortMatch® pillow personalizer system as they are available in high profile for side and back sleepers and in low profile for stomach and smaller back sleepers. The pillows feature a unique eco-friendly bamboo velour cover that wicks away moisture while maintaining a luxuriously soft feel. Come experience the next revolution in Rejuvenite pillows at the Las Vegas Market or contact KStein@LatexIntl.com for more information. See us in our Las Vegas showroom, B-945. Latex International 510 River Rd. Shelton, CT 06484 Phone: 800-528-3987 www.LatexIntl.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers

SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

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S howcase Your customers can experience a luxurious and lasting comfort with this Plush Pillowtop, part of Mega’s Dimensions private label program. Sealy’s Pressure Relief System with SpaceTechTM Memory Foam minimizes tossing and turning for a true and lasting sleep. Its construction intelligently senses individual movement and weight, providing correct support along each sleeper’s back and body. Features include: ● Continuous Coil innerspring ● Sealy’s SpaceTechTM Memory Foam ● Generous layers of StayTrueTM fibres and foam. Contact Gerry Wong, Director-Bedding & Sleep Experience, gwong@megagroup.ca or 800-361-5928, Ext. 225.

Arason’s Studio cabinet bed is now available in lower promotional pricing and more sizes! By day, use as an accent piece, TV stand or whatever your customers desire—by night, an extra bed. Opens easily. Features roomy storage drawers, a stationary reachable top-surface, an 8-inch mattress and a raised sleeping platform. In “Cappuccino” finish with faux nickel hardware, the Studio sleeper cabinet is free-standing, space-saving furniture! It closes to a compact 22-inches deep and opens into a full-length bed—twin, full or queen sizes available. Costs hundreds less than wall beds. No installation required. The Studio cabinet bed is perfect for: ● Home Offices ● Small space living such as apartments and efficiencies ● Resort property where extra beds are needed ● “Down-sized” living. E-mail us at: info1@fu-chest.com. See us in Las Vegas, showroom C-1350.

Mega Group 2000 Argentia Rd. Plaza 3, Suite 301 Mississauga, ON L5N 1V9, Canada Phone: 800-361-5928 www.megagroup.ca

Arason Enterprises P.O. Box 3274 Annapolis, MD 21403 Phone: 410-703-4412 www.fu-chest.com

Carpenter Co. introduces Avena™–a scientific breakthrough in comfort technology. Silky to the touch, Avena™ offers extraordinary pressurerelieving comfort and support. As a cutting-edge sleep solution material, Avena™ is engineered to maximize personal comfort while providing support and resiliency to help the body rest naturally. Avena™ has self-adjusting properties, sleeps cool and combines consistent density with uniform pressurerelieving support to provide the highest level of comfort. Avena™ is manufactured using an eco-friendly process that is free from foreign oil and is 100% recyclable. Avena™ resists body impressions over time, making the material a comfort and support layer that won’t crumble, crack or dry out. Increase the pressure-relieving comfort of your bedding products with Avena™.

The Motion Trend Adjustable Bed by South Bay International is made of reinforced steel and slips easily into an existing bed frame or can be used as a stand-alone bed. It features a quiet motor and a sleek, stylish, streamlined design. It comes with 5” legs, which can be removed in order to place the adjustable bed unit directly on the floor. The adjustable base features a massage function that is available on the head, feet or both, with three levels of intensity. The wireless remote has a simple design with large raised buttons and is backlit for ease of use in the dark. The remote was engineered for ease of use, because when you are relaxing you don’t want to have to contend with a complicated remote control.

Carpenter Co. P.O. Box 27205 Richmond, VA 23261 Phone: 804-359-0800 www.carpenter.com

South Bay International 2665 Pomona Blvd. Pomona, CA 91768 Phone: 909-718-5000 www.southbayinternational.com

36 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

See us in Las Vegas showroom B-0860.

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers


S howcase Do you want to increase sales and energize your team during tough economic times? Leggett & Platt’s Retail Solution™ provides all the tools you need to effectively engage your customers and maximize every sales opportunity—from your point-of-purchase display to selling tools to sales training and performance metrics. Leggett & Platt also offers a complete range of sleep accessories from ornamental beds, adjustable bed bases and bedding support products to bedding ensembles, mattress protectors, pillows and sheets. Many retailers have adopted the Leggett & Platt Retail Solution™ and increased their revenues by selling additional accessories with each mattress, while simultaneously improving the experience for their customers. Visit us in Las Vegas Market showroom B-1326 and learn about the success stories of our Retail Solution.

Ready to grow your business with a spring mattress that offers a green story? Natura World leads the way again by launching its GreenSpring™ line at the Vegas Market. Made with natural and sustainable components, GreenSpring™ gives the value-minded consumer a chance to ReGrooveN8—our word for rejuvenate—the Natura way. With GreenSpring™, your customers can enjoy the reduced tossing and turning and temperature-control advantage of natural wool and cotton. They can be soothed by the cradling support of BiOH foam and comforted by the allergen-reducing qualities of Talalay latex. GreenSpring™ brings natural comfort to a whole new audience. Merchandised at three distinct levels, GreenSpring™ features 10 new models, each with a green story of its own to tell. Answer the ever-increasing demand for green with Natura GreenSpring™ and provide your customers with choice, comfort and enviro-consciousness for $799 to $1,999 retail.  Visit us in the Natura Las Vegas showroom, A-950.

Leggett & Platt P.O. Box 674 Carthage, MO 64836 Phone: 417-358-8132 www.leggett.com

Ermcar has been developing innovative retail showroom and POP components for the mattress industry for more than 15 years. Our newest venture is our own component offering of POP fixtures, including banner and sign stands, footboard signholders, accessory shelved merchandisers, custom graphic headboards and our modular vertical mattress display (above). Available in 3-, 4-, 5- or 6-slot formats, this unit is perfect for value-priced mattress options, saving critical sales floor space for higher-end assortment options. All of our components are customizable for retailer or manufacturer branding. Call or email Marty Walker for more information: 770-690-0023, Ext.103 mwalker@ermcar.com.

SleepTrust is the industry’s first complete customer care program specifically designed to sell more beds. Developed by retailers and demanded by customers, SleepTrust eliminates challenges associated with manufacturers’ warranties, comfort exchanges and replacements due to accidental damage, stains or odors. SleepTrust’s proven merchandising, training and support tools help retailers generate increased bedding sales while improving the bottom line. See what hundreds of dealers have already discovered. There really is A Better Way to Buy a Bed. Visit: www.SleepTrustDealer.com

Ermcar Inc. 2252 Northwest Pkwy., Suite F Marietta, GA 30067 Phone: 770-690-0023 www.ermcar.com

Natura World Inc. One Natura Way Cambridge, ON N3C 40A Canada Phone: 519-651-2006 www.naturaworld.com

SleepTrust 1065 Clarke Rd. London, ON N5V 3B3 Canada Phone: 866-228-7070 www.sleeptrustdealer.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers

SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

37


S howcase Mantua Manufacturing introduces you to the BetterRest Electric Adjustable Bed by Jobri®, a premium, Germanengineered bed now available to retailers in the U.S. BetterRest is touted as being superior to any other adjustable bed in the marketplace—and for good reason. BetterRest is quieter, smoother and stronger than any other adjustable bed, with an 850 lb.-rated motor for queen beds, providing more lifting capability. The Jobri® features a double rail system with increased wall thickness, heavier gauge steel and larger fasteners for greater strength. The massage mechanism is effective and quiet because the motor is mounted on a rubberized plenum instead of the hard plastic used on other adjustables. BetterRest’s styling and durability is manufactured to the highest European quality standards. BetterRest by Jobri® is not only the best option for the healthconscious consumer, but also for the discriminating consumer who sees an adjustable as a lifestyle choice. See us at the Las Vegas Market in showroom A-504.

Restonic features strong consumer values. For seven consecutive years, Restonic has been awarded the Consumer Digest Best Buy. In recognition, we will offer a “7th Heaven Bed” collection of our best sellers in price points from $1,199 to $1,499. These beds will feature our 660 and Marshal Coil units with special micro-coil and upholstery applications. The program also features a package of support materials to include TV and radio spots, floor banners, ROP ads, mail inserts, price cards and large window banners. Restonic re-merchandised its entire Health Rest line of ecofriendly sleep products for this year. For the first time, the Health Rest line will feature products from $799 to $1,499. These strong value price points will have offerings featuring latex and memory foam. The Restonic Health Rest line offers affordable eco-friendly products to today’s price-conscious consumer. Visit us in Las Vegas showroom B-0926 Restonic 737 Main St. Buffalo, NY 14203 Phone: 800-898-6075 www.restonic.com

Mantua Manufacturing 7900 Northfield Rd. Walton Hills, OH 44146 Phone: 800- 333-8333 www.bedframes.com

The Better Sleep Council

It’s helping YOU help America sleep better

Shrinking the mattress replacement cycle. Expanding the mattress market. Link to the BSC’s consumer website Start Every Day With a Good Night's Sleep

38 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

Enhance your consumer education efforts by linking your company website to the BSC site:

www.bettersleep.org This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers


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For information, contact Kerri Bellias, vice president of sales

kbellias@sleepproducts.org 336-945-0265


CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris

It’s survival of the fittest

O

ne of my biggest concerns is the quality, or lack thereof, of mattress retail sales associates. Before you take offense, understand that I’m not talking about you. The fact that you are reading Sleep Savvy proves you take your profession seriously. The sad reality is there are many people selling mattresses who are not competent to do so. Unfortunately, they hurt our industry and perpetuate the negative stereotypes that many consumers have of us. When you consider the number of stores selling mattresses—combined with the hours, commissioned pay and all the stresses that are part and parcel of the job—it’s no wonder that there are many among us that are not up to the task. These are not bad people, just transients passing through our industry on the way to some other endeavor. As you know, this is not a job to take lightly. It’s a demanding profession that requires a lot of knowledge, skill and continued training. When not prepared, RSAs will typically focus on price and pressure to make the sale. If associates don’t address their customers’ real needs, they fail to establish a relationship, often resulting in the customers not buying or buying a product below the quality they otherwise would. Either way, consumers remain wary of our industry. For years, I’ve tried to figure out how to help bring these “temporaries” up to a level of competency by offering useful information, ideas and concepts. I’ve begun to realize that many don’t really care enough

40 SleepSavvy • January/February 2010

to read, hear or use anything I have to say. Well, thanks to social media, that’s all about to change. At the recent International Sleep Products Association Industry Conference in Florida, I heard Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, speak. I’m reading his book, following him on Twitter and have become a real fan. I’m learning how social networking can take care of my concerns. Social Media Darwinism I’ve coined the term “Social Media Darwinism”—survival of the fittest accelerated by technology. Social Darwinism has nothing to do with the theory of evolution. In business, it simply means those who adapt to changes in their marketplace succeed, while those who don’t fail. Retailers and RSAs that are failing to satisfy customers will be called out and consequently culled out. In this new era, maximizing every opportunity takes on a new dimension. Word-of-mouth travels with afterburners. Retailers that don’t offer exceptionally high quality shopping, buying and post-

sale customer service experiences will become extinct. The ones that create outstanding experiences will flourish. This presents a great opportunity for you to be justly rewarded for your professionalism, but it’s vital not to rest on your laurels. What can you do? ● Focus on satisfying one customer at a time. Give her all your attention and make her shopping and buying experience exceptional. ● Make sales training an ongoing priority. ● Stay abreast of all current information and take advantage of all the great resources that are available. (Reading Sleep Savvy cover to cover is a great place to start.) ● Learn as much as you can about social media. Erik’s book, Socialnomics, can help you find creative ways to use it to your advantage. As Erik says, social media is fundamentally changing the way businesses and consumers behave. The only question is whether you will keep up with those changes. By the way, you can now follow me on twitter@gerrymorris for tips and links to useful information. ●

Gerry Morris is director of training and development for SleepTrust. As a bedding sales rep for more than 20 years, Gerry has shared his insight with thousands of bedding sales professionals. He is also the author of Spring Training: A Supplementary Guide to Mattress Sales and Sell More Bedding…Guaranteed. Contact Gerry at Gerry.Morris@SleepTrust.com or by cell phone at 903-456-2015. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


A better way to buy a mattress. Free Seminar: 5 Secrets to a Better Bedding Business

www.SleepTrustDealer.com


BURYING COMF ORT

introducing ®

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Many of today’s mattress designs have become a bit over stuffed with body-impression prone foam and fiber. While these designs look and even feel great on the retail floor, they tend not to hold up over the long run. And that can lead to unnecessary comfort returns. One way to guarantee exceptional, long-lasting comfort is to consider our new Pillows for the Body. Made with resilient Talalay latex, our Pillows for the Body bring pure conforming support and pressure relief right to the surface of any mattress on the retail floor. No barriers, no quilt materials, no body impressions... just pure comfort. What is a Pillow for the Body? Come to showroom B-945 in Las Vegas to find out. a division of

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Sleep Savvy Jan/Feb 2010  

The magazine for sleep products professionals

Sleep Savvy Jan/Feb 2010  

The magazine for sleep products professionals