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January/February 2012

The cover story

5 biggest advertising mistakes RETAIL ROAD TRIP

Grand Home Furnishings is built on friendliness & Southern charm BE MY GUEST

2012 looks pretty good for mattress sales


IN THIS ISSUE where to find it

16

THE COVER STORY

5 biggest advertising mistakes

From ignoring on-the-go consumers to dropping your marketing program in tough times, there are five cardinal advertising errors every retailer should avoid.

3

WAKE UP CALL

5

SNOOZE NEWS

33

from the editor

A new editor takes the helm of Sleep Savvy with the goal of maintaining the magazine’s long-held mission to better the mattress-selling process.

stuff you can use

Consumer Reports considers the rise of zombieitis and how a new mattress can help stop it; retailer tosses beds for charity; putting QR codes to work for you; rethinking the use of dollar signs… and more.

CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer

A new survey shows that consumers remain worried about the national economy but are feeling more confident about reopening their own wallets.

39 41 48

BE MY GUEST by Jerry Epperson Jr.

Despite a stagnant economic recovery, the mattress industry is faring better than some segments and should be optimistic about 2012.

SHOWCASE products & programs for success

A compendium of new and interesting mattresses, sleep accessories and retailer services that will improve your business and “wow” your customers.

CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris If you advertise only price, you’ll condition customers to be obsessed with dollar signs. An emphasis on the life-enhancing benefits of a new mattress helps retailers and consumers.

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

37

HER BED POST by Delia Passi

An expert in selling to women kicks off her first Sleep Savvy column with an appropriate emphasis on first impressions.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Rooted solidly in the small-town South, Grand Home Furnishings focuses on friendliness, customer service and community involvement to impress bedding shoppers.

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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SleepSavvy The magazine for sleep products professionals

Editor in Chief Julie A. Palm 571-482-5442 jpalm@sleepproducts.org Associate Editor Barbara Nelles 336-303-1114 bnelles@sleepproducts.org Managing Editor Mary Best 571-482-5432 mbest@sleepproducts.org Contributors Jerry Epperson Jr. Gerry Morris Delia Passi Creative Director Stephanie Belcher The Jimmydog Design Group Vice President of Advertising Sales Kerri Bellias 336-945-0265 kbellias@sleepproducts.org Advertising Production Manager Debbie Robbins 571-482-5443 drobbins@sleepproducts.org Circulation Manager Mary Rulli 336-491-0443 mrulli@sleepproducts.org Copy Editor Betsi Robinson Vol. 11, No. 1 ISSN 1538-702X Sleep Savvy is published eight times a year by the International Sleep Products Association, 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1917. Phone 703-683-8371; fax 703-683-4503; website: www.sleepsavvymagazine.com. Advertising services: 1613 Country Club Drive, Reidsville, NC 27320. Phone 571-482-5443; fax 703-683-4503. Please send subscription orders and changes to: Sleep Savvy, P.O. Box 4678, Archdale, NC 27263 or fax 703-683-4503. Subscription policy & rates Retailers: All U.S. retailers qualify for free subscriptions, up to five per location. In Canada, $10 per year; all other countries, $30. Manufacturers, suppliers and others: ISPA member company personnel qualify for complimentary subscriptions, subject to restrictions. Nonmembers and others: $30 U.S., $40 non-U.S. ©2012 by the International Sleep Products Association. No portion of the content may be reprinted without permission from Sleep Savvy. Printed in the United States.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

WAKE UP CALL from the editor

A new face with the same mission

R

egular readers of Sleep Savvy—and the magazine is lucky to have tens of thousands of them—will notice something very different about this column. For the first time in 10 years, it’s not being written by Nancy Butler, the magazine’s founding and, until now, only editor in chief. After 31 years in various communications roles with the International Sleep Products Association and its Better Sleep Council—a decade of that at the helm of Sleep Savvy— Nancy retired at the end of 2011. In her final column in the November/December issue, Nancy called her time at Sleep Savvy the best job she’d ever had. I think it’s always been clear to readers of the magazine how true that was. Nancy had a passion for Sleep Savvy and for helping retailers everywhere elevate the conversation about mattresses and the importance of sleep. Nancy was working for another furniture industry publication when the BSC decided to launch an educational magazine aimed at mattress retailers and asked her if she’d take on the challenge of creating a publication from scratch. She leapt at the chance. Under Nancy’s leadership, Sleep Savvy has grown to a circulation of more than 25,000, particularly remarkable in an industry that has undergone significant consolidation in recent years. She, along with longtime art director Stephanie Belcher, are responsible for Sleep Savvy’s attractive, easy-to-read graphic design and Nancy can be credited with its lively writing style. Sleep Savvy has become a must-

read publication—for everyone from the all-important retail sales associates to the leaders of major national furniture and sleep shop chains. With its emphasis on educating retailers about mattresses and their role in helping people get a good night’s sleep and its goal of improving the mattress selling process, Sleep Savvy has become a go-to training tool at all levels of retail management. Goals remain unchanged Given Sleep Savvy’s success, I step into this role sufficiently humble. I’m not new to the mattress industry. I’ve served as editor of BedTimes, Sleep Savvy’s sister publication for mattress manufacturers and suppliers, for nearly eight years. During that time, Nancy and I have collaborated on a number of articles and projects, and I’ve read every issue of Sleep Savvy cover to cover. I see it as my job to be a good steward of what Nancy created out of the BSC’s original vision. Our editorial team, which also includes Associate Editor Barbara Nelles and Managing Editor Mary Best, do have some changes planned for the magazine and its website. We’ll be telling you more about those as the year progresses. But Sleep Savvy’s mission—to be an engaging, educational resource for mattress retailers who want to sell more and better bedding—will not change. Julie A. Palm, editor in chief

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

Consumer Reports

Zombieitis epidemic is real

Cure includes good mattress

The website of Consumer Reports magazine (www.consumerreports.org) marked Halloween with a posting on the popularity of zombies—one theory is that zombies reflect our anxieties during these scary economic times. The magazine reported that the zombie genre has generated more than $5.74 billion in merchandise and entertainment revenue. Zombies are turning up everywhere. You may even have seen one close-up. Consumer Reports says: “Clues are bags under the eyes, decreased brain functioning and irritability—zombieitis is a real epidemic, says the Better Sleep Council, a mattress trade group. The cure? They claim it’s a good night’s sleep on a quality mattress.” The story provided a live link to the BSC’s zombieitis-dedicated website, www.stopzombieitis.com. The BSC is the consumer education arm of the International Sleep Products Association.

Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing

it right

or better.

— John Updike

Community lets mattresses fly for Red Cross

T

he best of the local mattress tossers turned out on Oct. 29 for the fifth annual Mattress Chuck at Trent Bedding in Bowling Green, Ky. Owner Trent Ranburger was inspired by video of a similar charitable event on YouTube. The event raised more than $1,000 for the South Central Kentucky chapter of the Red Cross. Veteran thrower Chris Moore was among the participants, taking a few spins and letting the full-size mattress fly across the parking lot. Several hundred people dropped by the event, which also offered prize drawings and a costume contest for children, who were given crib mattresses or pillows to toss. “It’s actually fun,” Moore told the Bowling Green Daily News. “You get to take out a week of frustration and see how far you can throw a mattress.”

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

CINDY’S INSIGHTS

Listening to the consumer

What can a QR code do for you?

S

mart phones have become one of those necessary evils of our time. By now, many people have surrendered to the love-hate relationship we have with them. But smart phones can be an effective tool for reaching consumers through an increasingly common technology—called a quick response code—that enables phone owners to access helpful information. Smart phones use a matrix barcode to communicate information through a scanner, which is typically an application that uses the phone’s camera. The technology that enables this transfer of information is not new; it was introduced in 1994 by the auto industry to track cars during manufacturing. The advent of smart phones has simply allowed the technology to be implemented in more creative and useful ways. QR codes are everywhere. They’re on ads, posters, buildings, clothing, television commercials. They are even being placed on jewelry. No longer will you have to ask for someone’s phone number—she can just scan her QR code, which might be on anything from a bracelet to a business card. And because QR codes are ubiquitous, they can provide valuable and creative experiences for consumers, including leading them directly to the information you want to communicate. QR codes connect people to product information and are inexpensive to create and distribute. QR codes also provide “green” alternatives to print advertising. Their uses are limitless. For example: ● A code could place your next big promotion directly on your customer’s calendar. ● A code could allow your customer to place an order, pay for an order or access your customer service line.

Ditch the dollar signs

R

esearch has shown that shoppers are less likely to make a purchase when they see a dollar sign in front of an item. “Removing the sign helps the consumer sidestep the harsh reality of outstanding bills and longer-term financial

6 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

● A code could take customers directly to Twitter so they could instantly tweet about your products or services. The possibilities are interesting to explore, and the technology will continue to improve, allowing greater access and message delivery. With the back end designed appropriately, the data collected through a QR code enables retailers to receive important and actionable intelligence from customers, which will help with future targeted messaging. When was the last time you saw a customer in your store who wasn’t tethered to a smart phone? According to the Pew Research Center, 42% of all American adult cellphone users own a smart phone, and a report from Comscore, an Internet marketing research firm, indicates that more than 14 million Americans scanned a QR code in a one-month period. QR coding has been a little slow catching on with U.S. consumers, but enthusiasm is building as retailers and consumers begin to understand the advantages of the technology. Isn’t it time for you to consider turning a possible distraction into a competitive advantage? Cindy Williams is vice president of retail strategy for home furnishings at Atlantabased Info Retail, a strategy and design firm that helps retailers and manufacturers improve customer-buying experiences. Contact Cindy by phone at 770-356-1229 or through www.inforetail.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cwilliams.

concerns,” says Martin Lindstrom in a Nov. 7 Time magazine article. Lindstrom is author of Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

When slogans don’t work

N

ew research published in the November Harvard Business Review suggests that brand names can “prime” consumers to react positively to a product or business, but slogans often backfire because people recognize them as attempts to persuade. When participants were exposed to luxury brand names, such as Tiffany, they opted to spend an average of 26% more than when presented with more neutral brands, such as Publix. When exposed to brands associated with saving money, such as Dollar Store, they decided to spend 37% less.

But when it came to slogans, they did the opposite of what marketers intended. After reading a slogan meant to prompt spending (“Luxury, you deserve it”), they decided to spend an average of 26% less than after reading a neutral slogan (“Time is what you make of it”). When a slogan invited them to save (“Dress for less”), they decided to spend 29% more. The takeaway for retailers: Avoid messages that can be seen, even subconsciously, as manipulative.

Making sure your sales pitch counts

I

n these days of message overload, customers want concise, relevant and useful information to help simplify purchasing decisions, says Jeff Mowatt, a syndicated columnist and author of Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month and Influence with Ease. He suggests following five steps to help customers compare your store and its products with the competition. 1. Without naming names, explain what other retailers in your area provide. 2. Briefly point out the downside of their approach. 3. Tell the truth and don’t exaggerate. 4. Highlight the ways in which your store and products are different. 5. Again, tell the truth and don’t exaggerate.

What gets on your nerves?

T

he business-related social network site LinkedIn surveyed 17,000 professionals around the world and discovered what irritates employees most about their co-workers. A few findings: ● Americans were more upset than any other country about people snatching food from the office refrigerator. ● Brazilians detest excessive gossiping. ● Indians despise silly ringtones. ●G  ermans were most annoyed by dirty commons areas, such as the cafeteria. ● Japanese dislike pranks more than any other nation. ●A  nd coming in as the No. 1 pet peeve everywhere: Not taking ownership of your actions.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

Survey: Top 10 sleepiest cities

AOL sleep-tips video includes mattresses

A

8 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

T

he Better Sleep Council, the consumer education arm of the International Sleep Products Association, was a key source for AOL’s new video on how to sleep better. It includes tips endorsed by the BSC and the National Sleep Foundation, one of which is to sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow. The video is short and sweet at just 1:22 minutes. Check it out at www.aol.com/video/how-to-have-abetter-sleep/228814299.

JUST FOR LAUGHS

new ranking conducted for major retailer Sleepy’s shows that many of the U.S. cities most in need of extra zzz’s are east of the Mississippi in areas hard hit by the recession. Several of the top 10 also correlate with the American Fitness Institute’s Least Healthy Cities in America. Here’s the list of places where residents need the most help to get a good night’s sleep: 1. Detroit 2. Birmingham, Ala. 3. Oklahoma City 4. New Orleans 5. New York 6. Cincinnati 7. Louisville, Ky. 8. Raleigh, N.C. 9. Columbus, Ohio 10. Boston Even though California is among the states hardest hit by the housing crisis, residents of the Golden State sleep remarkably well, the study reveals. Here’s the list of the top five most well-rested cities: 1. San Diego 2. Dallas 3. Richmond, Va. 4. San Jose, Calif. 5. San Francisco The lists are based on an independent analysis of the individual sleep habits of more than 350,000 adults across the country. They are part of an annual study compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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SNOOZE NEWS

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Orange Crush: announces color of the year

ignaling the need to recharge and move forward, Pantone Inc. has named Tangerine Tango (Pantone 17-1463) the 2012 color of the year. The spicy, spirited reddish-orange hue combines the vivaciousness of red with the warmth and friendliness of yellow, according to the company. “There’s the element of encouragement with orange. It’s building on the ideas of courage and action, that we want to move on to better things. [It is] a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, told The Washington Post. The Pantone Color Institute is the research division of Pantone Inc., which creates color standards for the fashion, beauty and home furnishings industries. Though probably not appropriate for mattress fabric because of its boldness, mattress retailers might consider Tangerine Tango for signage and other marketing materials. There also are opportunities to use the energetic color for pillows, pillow shams, footers and other accents. Pantone’s color selection is based on color influences from social, cultural and economic sources worldwide—from films currently in production to traveling art collections.

of all U.S. retailers in all categories operate just one location. The overwhelming majority of retailers are small business owners, with more than half of retailers employing fewer than five workers. Source: National Retail Federation

BEDDING BIZ BEAT Wholesale dollar sales of mattresses and foundations sold in the United States rose 12.5% in October when compared with the same month in 2010, according to the Bedding Barometer, a monthly report of U.S. mattress sales published by the International Sleep Products Association. Unit shipments also increased, up 2.9% in October. The average unit selling price climbed 9.3% higher than October 2010.

Mattresses & Foundations in Millions of Wholesale Dollars Sample of Leading Producers

$462 $364 $382

$372

$407

$376

$398

$411

$435 $387 $318

$358

Percent change +5%

Percent change +9.5%

Percent change +6%

Percent change +12.3%

Percent change +12.6%

Percent change +12.5%

May

June

July

August

September

October

■ 2010 ■ 2011

10 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

Tweets track impact of work, sleep on moods

Sleep Shorts

New guidelines to help babies sleep safely

Researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., looked to Twitter to confirm that work, sleep and the amount of daylight we get really do impact factors like our enthusiasm, alertness, distress, fear and anger. They found that people tweet more positive messages early in the morning and again around midnight, suggesting that they aren’t particularly happy while working. Weekends saw more positive tweets, with positivemessage peaks about two hours later than those recorded during the week, likely because people stay out later and sleep in. Tweets among people in locations with a lot of daylight during the summer and very little in the winter also reflected changing moods. The research team tracked 2.4 million people in 84 countries for two years using a text analysis program to quantify the emotional content of 509 million tweets. The results were published Sept. 29 in Science.

Since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended in 1992 that babies be placed on their backs to sleep, deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome have declined by 50%. But other sleep-related infant deaths, such as suffocation, have increased. To reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths, including SIDS, the academy has updated and expanded its “safe sleep” guidelines for all babies and provided information for parents on creating a safe sleep environment. Among the recommendations: ● Bumper pads shouldn’t be used in cribs because of the risk of suffocation or strangulation. ● Crib interiors should be spare with no soft or loose objects, such as toys or blankets. ● Babies should have a firm sleeping surface; car seats and other soft devices are not recommended. ● Avoid wedges and positioners. ● Babies should sleep in the same room as parents, but not in the same bed.

Memory gets stronger while dozing

Are you lonesome tonight?

There’s yet more evidence that sleeping improves memory, this time from researchers at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. In a new study, researchers analyzed the sleep and memory of 250 people and found that sleeping can improve memory in a way that might not be demonstrated on an intelligence or aptitude test. “We speculate that we may be investigating a separate form of memory, distinct from traditional memory systems,” says Kimberly Fenn, assistant professor of psychology. “There is substantial evidence that during sleep, your brain is processing information without your awareness and this ability may contribute to memory in a waking state.” Called “working memory capacity,” it can be a predictor of how well a person can solve problems, learn vocabulary, make decisions and comprehend reading. In the study, there was a significant correlation between working memory capacity and an increase in memory performance after a period of sleep.

Loneliness is not only heartbreaking, it breaks up a normal night’s sleep, according to a new study that suggests compromised sleep may be one way feelings of loneliness hurt our health. “It’s not just a product of very lonely individuals having poor sleep. The relationship between loneliness and restless sleep appears to operate across the range of perceived connectedness,” says Dr. Lianne Kurina, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor in the Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago. Kurina and her colleagues compared the degree of loneliness reported by 95 adults in two religious communities in rural South Dakota with measurements of their sleep cycles. None of the participants were socially isolated, yet their perceptions of loneliness varied. Researchers noted a relationship between loneliness/ social isolation and more interrupted sleep. The total amount of sleep and the degree of daytime sleepiness were not affected. The findings appeared in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

12 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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5

The cover story

BIGGEST advertising mistakes How guilty are you of these?

‘Advertising is totally unnecessary. Unless you hope to make money.’ — Jef I. Richards

16 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


‘A good basic selling idea, involvement and relevancy, of course, are as important as ever, but in the advertising din of today—unless you make yourself noticed and believed—you ain’t got nothin’.’ — Leo Burnett

A

re you sinking a big chunk of your store’s budget into advertising and marketing and the only thing you’re accomplishing is draining your bank account? Have you cut back on your ad budget, hoping that customers will somehow sense you’re still there, selling the best mattresses in town? For a retailer, creating an advertising strategy is increasingly complex. It wasn’t that long ago when you could use some co-op money from mattress manufacturers, place a series of ads in the newspaper to promote holiday-timed sales, run a few spots on the local radio or TV station and maybe send out some targeted direct-mail pieces. When the Internet came along, you put up a website. Today, the number of ways and places in which a company can advertise multiplies by the day— social media, text messaging, email, “local deal” providers, mobile messaging, blogs. The list goes on. Here we look at the biggest advertising and marketing mistakes mattress retailers can make. Some are the result of the increasingly crowded media landscape; some are as old as advertising itself. If you don’t think your efforts are paying off, make sure you’re not committing any of these blunders.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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THE COVER STORY

5 biggest advertising mistakes

‘Forget words like “hard sell” and “soft sell.” That will only confuse you. Just be sure your advertising is saying something with substance, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you’re saying it like it’s never been said before.’ — William Bernbach

5

Winging it. With the growing number of advertising media available to you, you need a clear, comprehensive marketing strategy. Winging it won’t work. While many retailers hire an outside agency to help craft one, you can do it in-house. Call a meeting with your managers, a few top RSAs and maybe even a good customer or two. How are people getting messages about your store now? What outlets and methods do they use to learn about your competitors and shop for products? Whatever strategy you come up with, it should include a mix of old and new media. “Each customer’s day is a zigzag experience through the online and offline worlds. Customers no longer have simply offline or simply online experiences; they have integrated brand experiences,” says Tom Shapiro, founder and chief executive officer of marketing and design firm Digital Marketing NOW, writing on the Marketing Profs website (www.marketingprofs.com). “In the future, you should assume that customers will be checking their smart phones while in your store and that they’ll be reading print magazines in hard copy and on their laptops or tablets. You should expect that your billboard will lead prospective customers to the destination website, Facebook page or customized QR (quick response) code experience.” Across channels, keep your

18 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

message consistent. “For example, a Fortune 500 retailer was conducting its holiday marketing campaign with different messaging and promotions in every marketing channel, including its website, community site, social properties, online display ads, weekly circulars, TV ads, email blasts and in-store displays,” Shapiro says. “But customers were experiencing a disconnect. The different messages in each marketing vehicle confused consumers.” Once you have a plan, stick with it. Steve McKee, president of McKee Wallwork Cleveland, a marketing and branding agency in Albuquerque, N.M., thinks one of the biggest mistakes marketers make is expecting consumers to respond immediately to an ad campaign—perhaps not a wholly unrealistic expectation in this world of instant communication, but a fallacy nonetheless. “When was the last time you leapt out of your recliner to do exactly as an ad instructed? Marketing doesn’t work that way, and as consumers we all understand that,” says McKee in an October 2011 Bloomberg Businessweek article. “It takes time to seed a message, and credibility grows through consistency. Plan your efforts well, and stick with them. As obvious as it sounds, every time you start over, you’re starting over.”

4

Not keeping up with on-the-go consumers. In a recent survey, AT&T asked more than 500 marketing professionals about their mobile marketing plans. Some 88% expect to do more mobile marketing in the coming year, with 43% investing in mobile smart phone applications, 41% utilizing QR codes (those odd-looking, barcode-like squares), 40% employing banner ads and 35% increasing their mobile Web messaging. Why all the interest in mobile marketing? Because increasingly ubiquitous smart phones and tiny, affordable tablet computers mean consumers can receive messages and seek information anytime and from anywhere—including while standing in the middle of your store.

A 2011 survey by Chicago-based digital marketing agency Acquity Group found that, during the most recent holiday season, 52% of smart phone owners planned to use their devices to research a product, redeem a coupon or take advantage of an application to assist in a purchase. In a 2011 Google survey, 65% of respondents said they planned to use their mobile device to find a business or make an in-store purchase. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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THE COVER STORY

5 biggest advertising mistakes So, at the very least, your website should be optimized for use on such devices. But think beyond that. QR codes are inexpensive to create. Shoppers take a picture of the code with their smart phone and then are directed to a website, video or other information you want them to see. A number of mattress manufacturers are incorporating QR codes into their point-of-sale materials to provide consumers with more detailed information about their brands. Take advantage of the efforts mattress makers already have made or create your own QR codes. Smart phone users love apps. And a 2011 survey done by Retrevo, an online electronics retailer and review site, found that 43% of mobile shoppers have downloaded a retail app. Yours could explain mattress constructions or be something more fun, like a simple sleep-related game shoppers can play while they resttest a mattress in your store.

3

Believing you’re the only one who has something to say. Retailers have long known the value of word-of-mouth praise for their stores and their products. But the Internet—and now social media—have made consumers more reliant on recommendations from other shoppers. Online retail pioneers like Amazon were among the first to allow customers to post their own product reviews. Today, the star-rating system and customer comments about products are a standard part of retailer websites. “Brick-and-mortar retailer Aubuchon Hardware, with 130 stores in New England, posts all of its customer reviews and testimonials either on its website or with a link to Ratepoint.com,” says George Whalin, founder

20 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

of Carlsbad, Calif.-based Retail Management Consultants and author of several books on retailing, including Retail Success! “Yes, there are some negative reviews, but most of the postings reflect five-star ratings for the stores, service, people and merchandise.” Encourage your customers to post comments about their shopping experience on your website and on social media sites. Make it easy for them to do so. “I recommend you establish a system both in the store and online so customers feel comfortable writing to you and sharing their thoughts,” Whalin says. “A furniture retailer I know puts his cell phone number on his business cards so customers will know they are welcome to call him with a question or problem.” Testimonials, reviews and recommendations are a natural fit for online and social media, but you also can work testimonials into traditional advertising media, such as newspaper, radio and TV spots. With its “Ask Me About My Tempur-Pedic” tag line, mattress brand Tempur-Pedic has built an entire multimedia ad campaign around the idea of customer testimonials.

Customers’ opinions are particularly important when targeting the newest generation of shoppers—Millennials, who are just graduating from school, beginning careers and starting families. They rely heavily on peer recommendations—most often through social media—when deciding which products to buy. “Millennials use Google search, Facebook and other social media, plus word-of-mouth,” says Edward Boches, chief innovation officer at the Boston-based Mullen advertising agency. Millennials are more likely to trust product recommendations from actual users than pushy messages from retailers or mattress manufacturers. That trust relies on honesty: A retailer website filled with only positive comments may actually raise suspicions in consumers’ minds. “I recently had a conversation with a retailer about testimonials on his website and in his marketing,” Whalin says. “He thought it was a good idea but wanted to post only the positive customer comments. While that may sound good, does it really enhance the store’s credibility or build trust with customers?” www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


THE COVER STORY

5 biggest advertising mistakes

2

Focusing exclusively on price. If there has been a mantra in the pages of Sleep Savvy since the magazine’s inception a decade ago, it has been this: Mattress advertising that focuses exclusively on price hurts retailers and the mattress industry as a whole. Price-centered marketing can lower a retailer’s average ticket, reinforces the image in consumers’ minds that mattresses are nothing but a commodity, and diminishes brand and store loyalty. In the end, it hurts customers, too. Shoppers focused on dollar signs may walk out with an inexpensive mattress, but they most likely aren’t going home with one that can give them the best night’s sleep. (Mattress sales and retailing expert Gerry Morris writes more about the pitfalls of leading with the “low price” message in his regular Closing Words column on Page 48.)

That said, mattress retailing is admittedly something of an arms race. No one wants to be the first one to decommission his weapons when the retailer down the street could very well issue a barrage of ads declaring: “40% off,” “Lowest prices of the year” or “$399 queen set this weekend only.”

22 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

So, tout price when you must, but don’t use it as the basis for your entire advertising strategy. Instead, tell customers what distinguishes your store from your competitor’s. Emphasize your bedding knowledge and customer service. Showcase the newest mattress components and technologies. Explain how a mattress can improve not only sleep, but overall well-being. Give consumers something to focus on besides discounts.

1

Not doing it. When economic times are tough and fewer mattresses are going out your door, it can be tempting to cut back on advertising budgets to save money until sales tick back upward. Don’t do it. The last thing you want to do when you’re facing tighter margins and fewer turns is to stop advertising. “An anemic marketing budget may save bucks, but it will cost business,” McKee says. “If you don’t have a line item on your profit-andloss statement with a reasonable percentage allocated to marketing, you’re not a real business. Notice I said marketing, not advertising— paid media may very well not be right for your situation, but every company must somehow get its message out. Find the way and spend the money.” For decades, study after study has shown that companies that stick with a consistent advertising program during difficult economic periods outperform their competitors in the long run. That bears repeating: Companies that maintain their advertising efforts do better than their competitors. There’s a frequently cited McGraw-Hill Research study that

examined the financial results of 600 companies from 1980 to 1985. The findings: Companies that maintained or increased their advertising during the 1981-82 recession fared better than their competitors when the economy improved. Even more intriguing, companies that significantly increased their advertising during that time period posted a 256% increase in sales over companies that went into hiding. Why do the companies that keep advertising do better? It only makes sense: Less advertising from your competitors means your ads have more impact. A more recent study by Nielsen IAG shows another problem with cutting back on marketing efforts: Customers lose faith in those companies that do so. The 2009 Nielsen IAG Financial Brand Confidence Study focused on the financial services industry, but its results can be extrapolated to other sectors, including retail. More than half (55%) of respondents who’d seen more advertising by their financial institution reported having “complete confidence” in it, but only 18% of those who’d seen little advertising shared that level of confidence. In the end, reducing advertising budgets may cost you more money in the long run, as you try to regain market share and a top-of-mind position with consumers later. “Some people make spur-of-the-moment buying decisions, but most need to become familiar with your services and products, and this takes time. If you want your advertising to work, you need to ensure that your prospects see or hear it regularly,” says marketing consultant and author Charlie Cook. Cook, based in Old Greenwich, Conn., runs the Marketing for Success website (www.marketingforsuccess.com). www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


EVERYTHING CHANGES IN 2012

B O L D I D E A S TO D R I V E GROWTH AND PROFITABILITY

J a n u a r y 3 0 - Fe b r u a r y 3 | Wo r l d M a r ke t C e n t e r L a s Ve g a s C 1 5 1 2


THE COVER STORY

5 biggest advertising mistakes Granted, a tight budget might necessitate a change in advertising strategy. Get creative. Today, consumers are more distracted than ever and are likely to get their information from dozens of sources— social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), blogs, company websites, text messages, local deal providers (Groupon, Living Social) and email, as well as traditional outlets. Try something new with one of the local deal providers or through social media. The important thing is to keep your message out there. If you’ve been advertising regularly in your local paper for years or running spots on TV, don’t pull out of those completely. Your regular customers could very well think you’ve disappeared altogether. ●

24 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

7 biggest copywriting mistakes

W

hether you’re preparing a newspaper ad insert, writing for a Web page or coming up with a text-messaging campaign, you—or your marketing team—will be writing ad copy of some sort. Marketing Experiments, a research lab in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., that’s dedicated to figuring out what works best when it comes to marketing communications, has created a list of the seven most common copywriting mistakes it sees, particularly on websites, but they apply to virtually every advertising medium. Find the post by Paul Cheney on the lab’s blog at www.marketingexperiements.com. 1. Headlines with no value “When it comes to grabbing your reader’s attention, nothing works better than a solid, value-based headline,” Cheney says. “Your headline should offer the reader a reason to read that first paragraph in your body copy.” 2. Action-centric calls to action “ ‘Action words’ or ‘power verbs’ get touted a lot by copywriters the world over as the ultimate tool for getting prospects to buy. But our research suggests that focusing on the action that you want your readers to take hurts conversion,” Cheney says. “It’s not about the action itself, it’s about the value they’re going to get as a result of taking that action.”

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


THE COVER STORY

5 biggest advertising mistakes 3. Saying too much Keep it short. Enough said. 4. Saying too little Short is good, but you need to give consumers enough information to make a decision. The earlier they are in their thought process about a subject or product, the more information they need. 5. Striking the wrong tone “Your audience expects to be spoken to in a certain way. You don’t usually speak to an adult like they’re a toddler and vice versa,” Cheney says. “A lot of times, copywriters miss the mark a little in their tone. It might not be as dramatic as speaking in baby talk to paying customers, but it could mean rubbing them the wrong way.” 6. Confusing layout Whether it’s in a print advertisement, directmail piece, email blast or website, the design of your text should carry readers’ eyes logically through the information. Bullet points, bold text and other highlighting techniques help, but don’t go overboard. 7. Unrelated images Photos and other pieces of art are critical to any advertisement but make sure they support the action you want readers to take and don’t cause any confusion. This is particularly important in websites and other electronic communications.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Grand Home Furnishings Regional retailer thrives on down-home friendliness, community involvement By Barbara Nelles Photography by Benoit Pigeon

A

The Grand management team: Colby Bush (from left), Steve Davis, George Cartledge Jr., George Cartledge III and Robert Bennett.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

welcoming warmth, a tradition of “just being nice” and a commitment to giving back to the communities in which it operates set Grand Home Furnishings apart from the competition, its owners say. What you won’t find are “Please don’t touch” signs at this family-friendly retailer’s 17 stores in Virginia, West Virginia and eastern Tennessee. Friendly greetings and, dare we say it, service with a smile, are inherent in this retailer’s culture and philosophy. The reward has been customer loyalty from generation to generation. “Making people happy is what we do best,” says Robert Bennett, executive vice president of the Roanoke, Va.-based retailer. “It all started with my grandfather, George Cartledge Sr., who bought the business in 1945. He always said, ‘Be nice to everyone, especially your customers.’ ” Grand Home Furnishings’ flagship store, one of two stores in Roanoke, is 87,000 square feet (the typical store is 50,000 square feet) of family-pleasing fun with a carousel, NASCAR-inspired cafe, free cookies, soft drinks and child-pleasing decor. In the mostly small, Southern towns SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

27


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

The retailer displays about 50 models in its Sleep Shops and more than 70 in its flagship store.

where Grand operates, the “nice factor” is a powerful competitive advantage over anonymous big boxes and strip-mall sleep shops. “You can’t teach people how to be nice,” Bennett says. “When we interview salespeople, we look for the nicest—not necessarily the most knowledgeable—person. After they’re hired, we’ll bring them to corporate headquarters for a five-day training program and they get pretraining, too—from every level of management and from vendors. It’s very intense.” A growing emphasis on bedding The 1950s, 1960s and 1970s were decades of considerable growth for Grand as it opened stores in cities across western and central Virginia, including Covington, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Radford. In 1951, the opening of its Lynchburg store drew enormous crowds, partly because

28 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

Five traits of the perfect RSA

H

iring the best retail sales associates is central to Grand Home Furnishings’ success. The retailer screens candidates for these traits: 1. High energy 2. Good listener 3. Quick to smile 4. Genuinely happy when helping people 5. Unafraid to not make the sale, if the fit isn’t right.

every visitor received a free Coke. It’s a tradition that continues to this day—walk into any Grand Home Furnishings store and claim your icecold soda. The retailer’s bedding department has grown steadily through

the decades, as well. Where it once floored about 10 models, the typical Grand Sleep Shop now displays about 50 beds. At the flagship store at Valley View Mall in Roanoke, there are more than 70 models. “We recognize the importance of bedding and pay great attention to it in all of our markets, especially at this point in time,” says Colby Bush, vice president of operations. “The closing rate on bedding is much higher than it is on case goods or upholstery.” While retail sales associates are trained to sell the entire store, Grand has “bedding specialists” and “bedding masters,” who manage the bedding departments and assist other RSAs with mattress sales. Bedding is the only store department with category specialists. Grand Home Furnishings’ mattress brands include Kingsdown, Sealy and its Stearns & Foster label, Serta, www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Shifman, Simmons and Tempur-Pedic. It also carries Tempur-Pedic pillows and Serta’s new gel pillows. Within the bedding department, models are grouped by brand and then from low to high price points— “so sticker shock doesn’t set in when people enter the department,” Bush says. “Most people shop with a budget in mind,” he explains. “I would say two-thirds of shoppers who say they can spend $1,000 may spend a couple hundred dollars more, but $2,000 is out of the question.” Three or four years ago, the average mattress ticket was $699 to $899, Bush says. Despite the recession and slow recovery, tickets have risen considerably. He credits mattress manufacturers with doing a better job of branding themselves to consumers and selling the importance of sleep. Giving back In 1945, George Cartledge Sr. purchased Grand Piano Co., which was founded in 1911, and converted it to Grand Piano & Furniture Co. In 1998, Grand sold its last piano and became Grand Home Furnishings. Cartledge, who was active in the business until his death at age 87, left a lasting legacy, which is honored by the current management—his son, George Cartledge Jr., and grandsons Robert Bennett and George Cartledge III. “My grandfather believed in being a good citizen, personally and corporately, and in giving back to your community,” Bennett says. “We’ve carried on those values through the third generation and we’ve not deviated from them.” As part of its anniversary celebration in 2011, the retailer established the Grand Happiness Foundation (http://grandhappinessfoundation.org) with a mission to bring “happiness

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

A fun atmosphere keeps customers and their children entertained.

and hope” to women and children in need. One of the foundation’s goals was to commit “100 Grand Gestures” during 2011—that’s two to four gestures within the community per store and warehouse. Such gestures included efforts by employees on behalf of favorite charities, as well as furniture donations to women’s shelters, Habitat for Humanity and other organizations. The Cartledge Foundation, separate from the retailer’s Grand Happiness Project, has contributed anonymously to a range of charities since its founding in the 1950s. The retailer’s Grand Benevolent Fund allows employees to make donations that are matched by the company. Individual stores can decide where the joint donations go within their community.

Empowered employees “It’s difficult to ask your people to treat customers like gold if you treat your people like less than that,” Bush says. “Many have asked us what our secret is, but it’s not a secret—we treat our people well. We’re nice to people.” Treating staff well breeds loyalty. Quite a few team members have more than 35 years with the company. Most store managers are longtime employees who started in delivery or as RSAs. The typical employee has at least a decade on the job. Bush started with Grand on the retail sales floor 42 years ago. At part of his current job, he assists bedding buyer Fred Flora in merchandising the bedding floor. Flora, a World War II veteran who served under U.S. Army Gen. George S. Patton, has 55 years with the company. The retailer kicked off its 100th anniversary year by shutting its stores for the day and bringing all of its 550 employees to Roanoke for a banquet. Managers are given considerable autonomy in operating their stores, which contributes to their job satisfaction and filters down to the quality of each store’s customer service and shopper satisfaction levels. Managers are tasked with hiring store staff. They control their stores’ environments, such that “each store is defined by its manager and has its own unique personality,” Grand executives say. “Our teams have a lot of enthusiastic managers with a strong desire to help, and it rubs off on employees,”

Advice for vendors: Teach us how to sell

“M

any mattress reps miss the mark in spending early Saturday morning meetings talking about individual mattress specifications,” says Colby Bush, vice president of operations for Roanoke, Va.-based Grand Home Furnishings. “Just think how daunting it is for the salesperson to learn, not to mention boring for our customers to hear about. The customer just doesn’t care. Vendors should be teaching RSAs how to sell.”

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Bennett says. “Customers can feel it when they come into the store.” Connecting with consumers “Staying close to customers” is central to the retailer’s philosophy and is practiced by sales associates and top managers alike. “All the executives regularly work the store floor on holidays and Saturdays, and we like doing it,” Bush says. “It’s the most satisfying and pleasurable part of our jobs. That kind of involvement is part of our culture and heritage.” The retailer recognizes that shoppers are coming into stores better educated, having researched products and prices online. Grand’s RSAs are expected to be even savvier and ask just the right questions of customers. Sales associates are encouraged to

get to know the mattress sets on the floor, form their own opinions and, when asked, express those opinions to consumers. The store has devised its own set of questions to qualify customers, with the goal of helping shoppers define their comfort preferences—and just to get them talking. “Because when the RSA does all the talking—about mattress specifications—it can get very complicated very fast,” Bush says. “You build rapport and trust with the customer when you allow them to talk.” A typical sale requires about 30 minutes on the bedding floor, during which the RSA helps the shopper test models that fall into her price and comfort requirements. It’s OK to push boundaries with a few suggestions, but not too much, Bush says. You

don’t want to shock the customer or confuse her, he says. RSAs are trained to sell the entire store and, if a mattress purchase greater than $597 is combined with other furniture purchases, customers are eligible for free delivery of all pieces. Staff are expected to go above and beyond what is expected to please customers. RSAs are attuned to the fact that they must help shoppers find just the right mattress the first time. They don’t have the fallback, “You can always return it,” because Grand doesn’t offer comfort returns. “We’re not in major metro markets. We’re in small towns and we need to be able to sell them a sofa next week, too,” Bush says. “You don’t want customers to feel like they’ve forced

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

you to do something for them. You want to do it for them with a smile on your face because you want to.” Yet the retailer does a nice job of demonstrating how to be known for great customer service without making a practice of taking back used beds, which Bush likens to being allowed to return used underwear. The store’s delivery staff go the extra mile and will move old bed sets to guest rooms, arrange dust ruffles and do whatever else is required to ensure the perfect delivery experience for customers. Same-day delivery Today’s retailers, in markets large and small, face strong competition. On its home turf in Roanoke, Grand Home Furnishings has no less than 30 competitors selling mattresses.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

The Roanoke, Va.-based retailer has 17 locations.

Four years ago, the intense competition spurred the introduction of same-day delivery for purchases made before 4 p.m. Where same-day delivery isn’t possible, next-day delivery usually is. “Being able to receive your bed that day takes the customer out of the market and provides them with immediate gratification” Bush says. “They

are going home to wait for their mattress delivery.” The retailer has a network of regional warehouses and a massive distribution center in Roanoke that support and facilitate same-day and next-day delivery. Same-day delivery and just “being nicer” makes all the difference, Bush says. ●

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer

Leo Burnett survey

Americans wary about economy, hopeful about their own finances

S

even out of 10 Americans believe true economic recovery is still more than two years away, according to a new study released by Chicago-based advertising agency Leo Burnett. The BrandShelter study further reveals that while people are skeptical about the nation’s economic recovery, they’re more optimistic about their personal financial situations and spending habits. “People are ready to escape the depths of a seemingly never-ending recession. They’re ready to start living again,” says Stephen HahnGriffiths, Leo Burnett chief strategy officer. “This transformational shift in the American mind-set provides brands and marketers with a unique opportunity to serve as a bona fide recession cure, offering people a way back, in some respect, to their prerecession life.” The survey of 2,200 U.S. adults was conducted in 2009 and updated in 2011. It focused on how Americans dealt with the recession and examined their attitudes, including how they felt about the economy and their own prospects and how they are likely to behave as consumers as the economy recovers. The study concluded that Americans don’t believe the country is economically strong. And they’re not confident enough in the nation’s situation or their own personal finances to resume robust www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

consumer spending. The Great Recession, which began in December 2007, is technically over, but most Americans believe there’s still a long way to go. “There is a silver lining for brands, in that the trend of setting aside materialism and rediscovering simplicity is slowly disappearing, and recession fatigue among Americans is rising,” Hahn-Griffiths says. The study identified several key findings that brands, marketers and retailers should keep in mind when trying to engage consumers in the aftermath of the Great Recession: A recession state of mind Despite the National Bureau of Economic Research officially declaring the 18-month recession over in June 2009, Americans continue to feel “consumer shock” and talk about the economic downturn in

the present tense, primarily because most indicators still point downward—not upward toward substantive economic growth. More than 60% of Americans continue to worry about economic problems ahead. So long, simple life Americans are tired of living a life of simplicity and are looking for more luxury and sophistication. This shift away from frugality provides an opportunity for retailers to capitalize on consumers’ desire to escape the recession and spend money on

Top 5 worries that keep consumers up at night 1. Gasoline prices will go back up. (64%) 2. Productive, hard-working, tax-paying people will be forced to shoulder most of the burden, including bailing out others who made poor choices or acted irresponsibly. (62%)

3. My town, city or state will raise sales taxes, property taxes, income taxes and other fees that will affect me. (55%)

4. I will be unable to save what I need to be saving for retirement. (52%) 5. Our federal government will make bad decisions that will hurt the economy even more. (51%) Source: Leo Burnett 2011 BrandShelter survey of 2,200 Americans.

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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CONSUMER CHECK

profiling your customer coveted items and experiences—anything from a tropical vacation to a vanilla latte—that they indulged in before the recession. But their attitudes haven’t shifted completely. Half of respondents said, “One of the silver linings in the current recession is that I’ve begun to realize that a simpler, less materialistic life is a better life.” On the bright side While consumers remain skeptical about economic recovery, they are slightly more optimistic about their own financial situation. Nevertheless, they’re reticent to spend like they did before the 2007 downturn. A penny saved With consumer confidence still

low—it dipped to 58% in June— Americans’ shopping strategies have changed to save money. Consumers are using coupons, purchasing less expensive brands and postponing or eliminating purchases altogether. As the nation’s recession hangover lingers, bad economic news still has an impact on the sale of brands, and 57% of respondents said, “I think I’ll continue with more frugal behaviors after the recession is over.” Lend a hand As difficult times continue, 44% of Americans surveyed strongly agree that, “You can only trust yourself and those closest to you—family members, places of worship, local police, etc.” And 67% said, “The recession has taught me you really need to rely on yourself in tough times.”

On the other hand, only 23% agree that government action is needed to help people through the economic hardship. Diminished trust in institutions, agencies and organizations—not to mention in the overall economy—has increased the likelihood of consumers relying on themselves. Given this dynamic, brands have an opportunity to become a welcome extension of people’s daily lives and go beyond current product offerings. Companies can foster this newfound sense of self-reliance by helping people successfully assume more control over their lives, promoting a can-do attitude and bolstering confidence. Can’t live without it Since the recession began, consumers

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CONSUMER CHECK

profiling your customer have been forced to choose between the products and experiences they consider essential and those they deem nonessential. According to the BrandShelter study, Americans still think gas, smart phones, cable television and candy are essential. Nonessential items include snack foods, shoes and magazines. To help consumers see their products as a need, retailers can try to inspire a sense of happiness, encourage life enrichment or growth, connect products to a higher quality of life and position products as something that makes life run more smoothly: “A good night’s sleep on a new mattress makes you ready to face the day.”

the American Dream and their ability to obtain it, particularly through hard work. When asked which of 21 characteristics best illustrated the idea of the American Dream, respondents most frequently chose living a happy and fulfilled life, owning a home, educating their children and having a rewarding job. Interestingly, about 64% of respondents said they wouldn’t change any aspect of the current economic situation, suggesting they have an optimistic view of the recovery over the long term. But 53% agreed with the statement, “I really miss the way things were in America before the recession.”

The dream isn’t deferred Despite the economic downturn, the majority of Americans still believe in

Generation gap For the generation known as Millennials or Gen Y, the American

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Dream is more elusive. Leo Burnett’s research indicates that 36% of Americans ages 18 to 34 believe this shared ideal doesn’t exist anymore— a surprising number given that members of this generation are just beginning their adult lives. Millennials view their parents’ American Dream as an unattainable goal. This generation doesn’t consider owning a home—one of the foundations of the traditional ideal of the American Dream—a priority. This mind-set and pessimism could trigger a permanent “more with less” lifestyle and stifle marketers. To read the complete findings from the study, visit http:// leolens.leoburnett.com/index. php/2011/08/brandshelter-a-2011update and click on “Download the Whitepaper.” ●

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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HER BED POST by Delia Passi

Making the right impression Greetings! There’s a double meaning to my welcome. First, I’d like to say welcome to my first column in Sleep Savvy. I hope you’ll find fresh thoughts and valuable advice about selling to women and couples. Second, I want to make this inaugural column about greeting women customers. It sets the tone for their entire experience with you. Women will begin to judge your service and products even before they enter your door, so give some thought to what kind of impression the exterior of your store gives. Is it welcoming? Is it appealing and clean? Is it safe? Once she gets inside, consider that all-important first impression—of the store and of the sales associate who greets her. Again, visual appeal and cleanliness are very important. Everything impacts her opinion of the products and services she will receive. Make certain she gets a positive impression. When you greet her personally, look her in the eye, smile, shake her hand and ask her name. Younger women generally are indifferent to the use of their first names when addressing them, but ask older women for permission to use their first names. And then be sure you use her name occasionally. When you shake her hand, it’s important to give a firm but not hurtful handshake, and most assuredly not a wimpy handshake. Your handshake should tell her you respect her and want to earn her business. I advise men to never squeeze a woman’s hand as much as it would take to bruise a banana. And a golden rule is that if she comes in with her spouse or companion, never reach past her to shake the man’s hand first. Shake the closer person’s hand first.

Brought to you by restonic® Delia Passi, the nation’s leading expert on selling to women, is president and chief executive officer of Medelia Inc. She’s also founder of WomenCertified, which awards businesses and brands the Women’s Choice Award for meeting a higher standard of customer experience among women. Restonic is proud to have been awarded the Women’s Choice Award by WomenCertified. Sign up for Twitter and follow Restonic at www.twitter.com/restonicbeds#. See how Restonic is helping you to reach your retail sales dreams!

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BE MY GUEST

by Jerry Epperson Jr.

For mattress industry, 2012 doesn’t look too bad Certainly in 2011, mattress sales were much stronger.

What do you think when you hear “the year 2012”? Some cite fears stemming from Nostradamus’ predictions. The Mayans believed the world would end this year. Personally, I see some far scarier things, like the U.S. presidential election, which already has gotten nasty, full of lies and exaggeration from both parties. Even more frightening is the consensus among U.S. economists that 2012 will bring decent, though unexciting, economic growth. The sad reality is that our economy is dammed up. U.S. corporations now have more than $1.5 trillion in cash and our banks have $3 trillion ready to lend. Together, these could fuel one of the greatest economic recoveries ever seen—except U.S. politicians, regulations and pending legislation are discouraging both lending and spending. Fortunately, almost every demographic, cultural and societal change in our nation is good for the mattress industry. An aging population has health issues and lots of back pain. Obesity is a national tragedy, but the mattress sector benefits. After all, you can’t get two people my size on a full-size bed. Scared of war, disease, violence and politicians? Go home, climb in bed and pull the covers over your head. Even modern medications are helping the mattress sector. Heard of Viagra? About this, I joke. But today, we are selling larger mattresses at prices unheard of a mere decade ago. And these beds offer greater features and benefits to a better-educated consumer. We have more consumer-recognized brands than ever to help retailers sell, and we have the logistics and technology available to deliver merchandise faster.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

We think all of this will encourage consumers to replace their mattresses more often. Certainly in 2011, mattress sales were much stronger—much, much stronger than furniture sales and many other consumer goods. What should the mattress industry expect from the economy in 2012? Consider: ● Apartment construction in 2011 grew 50%, and home-remodeling expenditures reached record levels. New single-family home construction is expected to grow 30% in 2012. ● Home prices have fallen to such a degree that, when combined with near-record low mortgage rates, housing is more affordable than it has been in decades. ● New home construction can be a huge stimulant to employment. Two million unemployed Americans used to work in the home-building sector. ● Some sectors of the economy and some regions already have seen a brisk recovery. ● Recently, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other financial advisers raised growth expectations for 2011 and for 2012. Our Mann, Armistead & Epperson economic forecast calls for mattress sales to have increased at least 7% in 2011, with 6.6% growth expected in 2012. After deep declines in 2007, 2008 and 2009, that is good news. ● Jerry Epperson Jr., a chartered financial analyst, is a founder and managing director of Mann, Armistead & Epperson Ltd., an investment banking and advisory firm in Richmond, Va. Jerry’s research into the home furnishings and mattress industries is recognized worldwide for its in-depth coverage of suppliers, manufacturers and retailers. Contact Jerry at wwe@maeltd.com or 804-644-1200. SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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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 new, exciting or successful. Showcase appears in Sleep Savvy’s January/ February and July/August issues. Here are the contributors featured in this section:

America’s Mattress Arason Enterprises Comfortaire Englander Ergomotion Fabrictech International Hickory Springs InnoMax Leggett & Platt Lotus Mattress Protect-A-Bed

Pure LatexBLISS South Bay International Spring Air STORIS Management Systems Tempur-Pedic Therapedic International Vivon Life XSENSOR

Comfortaire® has been delivering individualized sleep experiences™ for more than 30 years. The airbed we introduced in 1981 remains the industry standard, but Comfortaire has never stopped innovating. 2012 brings a three-tier lineup of all-new Comfortaire beds, crowned by luxurious Elite Comfort mattresses. Patented, low-profile air chambers enable Edge-to-Edge™ air support— moving air to the top of the mattress—for complete dynamic support. New Serafoam™, gel-infused topper foam works in concert with the air chamber to provide durable and incredibly plush support. True individual comfort is delivered by a new aircontrol system with state-of-the-art pump and electronics. See every mattress and get all the details in Las Vegas showroom C-1536. Comfortaire 6801 Augusta Road Greenville, SC 29605 Phone: 800-759-0594 www.comfortaire.com

Spring Air has enhanced its Back Supporter Perfect Balance collection for products ranging from $599 to $999 at retail. Encased in a new cover, the revamped collection touts a new proprietary zoned LFK spring unit that utilizes multiple gauge wires and offers factories upholstery options of memory, latex and Conforma convoluted foam.  This introduction comes on the heels of the successful and recently revised pocketed coil Back Supporter Perfect Balance collection, which offers products ranging from $699 to $1,199 queen size. The entire Perfect Balance collection is foam encased, uses Spring Air’s patented sustainable wood foundation and carries a full 10-year warranty. Visit us in our Las Vegas Market showroom, B-1126. Spring Air 70 Everett Ave., Suite 507 Chelsea, MA 02150 Phone: 617-884-2300 www.springair.com

Customized and personalized at your fingertips, the iCare 6 Adjustable Motion Power Base by Hickory Springs enhances every sleep experience, improves mattress performance, positions to your personal comfort and support preference, and adjusts to every body shape and size. Features include: ● modern modular (cushion/comfort) deck support ● an accessory utility pocket ● therapeutic dual-body massage to relieve tension, stress and muscle aches ● steel leg supports with locking rolling casters ● a “gravity-release” safety ● an exclusive headrest adjustment that gently bolsters your head and neck to reduce stress and tension ● optional adjustable headboard brackets ETL-certified and approved, the base also includes a wallglide design that keeps you within easy reach. As a bonus, it has a foot-lowering function for full lounge positioning and relaxation. Hickory Springs • P.O. Box 128 • 235 Second Ave. N.W. • Hickory, NC 28603 Phone: 828-328-2201• www.hickorysprings.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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S howcase Vivon Life continues to bring new technology and innovation for improved comfort in 2012! In partnership with Brookstone, Vivon has fully integrated a massage system into the Vivon Prestige mattress line powered by Brookstone® Massage. Like other Vivon mattresses, the functionality is built into the mattress, which looks like a regular mattress but has an enclosed massage unit. The core is made with proprietary Brookstone® BioSense® foam that has part bio-based content, as well as green tea and charcoal, which act as natural deodorizers. There are five massage modes in the new sleep set, which utilizes six motors in both the queen and king sizes. The Brookstone massage system provides a gentle vibration, a rolling wave and three styles of pulse massage, simulating shiatsu massage. The massage covers the shoulders, back and legs. This brings a whole new level of comfort and luxury to innovation-seeking customers. The mattress is available in two models, priced from $1,149 to $1,299. The refined Vivon Prestige massage mattress collection, along with Vivon’s other new collections, are being introduced at the Las Vegas Market.

Want customers to buy? Use pressure imaging to help your customers find their ideal mattress.

Come visit us in showroom C-1538.

Clinically accepted ● Same technology is used to help prevent pressure wounds

Vivon Life 30799 Wiegman Road Hayward, CA 94544 Phone: 877-361-7263 sales@vivon.com www.vivon.com

42 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

Unbiased ● Measures any mattress ● Instantly builds trust between the RSA and customers ● Gives customers the confidence that they’ve found the perfect mattress Shows pressure points ● Quick ● Measures real body pressures ● Customers understand the importance of finding a pressure-relieving mattress ● Educates customers about proper mattress support

Visit us at the Las Vegas Market in the Specialty Sleep Association showroom, C-1350. XSENSOR Technology Corp. Phone: 866-927-5222 (North America) 800-5913-4444 (international) Email: sales@xsensor.com • www.xsensor.com

Owners of successful sleep innovation for 128 years, Leggett & Platt is the industry’s leading producer of fabric-encased innersprings. Comfort Core™, the family name of Leggett & Platt’s fabric-encased line of products, offers a diverse selection of fabric-encased innersprings: Body Print®, Body Print® Advanced, Bolsa™, Hi-Low™, Joey Coil™ and Softech™. Leggett & Platt’s proprietary science behind Comfort Core allows each coil to flex independently of the other, limiting motion disturbance so partners can sleep sideby-side without interruption. That same science results in a best-of-both-worlds sleep experience in which the top of the coil creates immediate comfort and softness. This provides firm and responsive support from the coil unit’s bottom section. Comfort Core brings pampering conformability and top-to-bottom softness and support. Leggett & Platt P.O. Box 757 Carthage, MO 64836 Phone: 417-358-8131 www.beddingcomponents.com

XSENSOR offers pressure imagingsolutions to help mattress retailers and manufacturers find the ideal mattress for consumers.

Fabrictech International is introducing new PureCare™ Plush antibacterial silver pillows at the Las Vegas Market. Redefining comfort and health, the pillows are specially crafted to enhance your sleep environment. The series features natural, 100% Talalay latex pillows; temperature-neutral, memory foam pillows; down pillows with varying comfort fills; and body pillows—all treated with Fabrictech’s signature antibacterial silver protection. Only PureCare™ Plush pillows start with the softest bamboo fiber-based rayon covers before receiving a unique application of silver ions that locate and deactivate bacteria while suppressing the reproduction of dust mites and other allergens. PureCare™ Plush pillows are allergen proof, dust mite proof, bedbug proof and bacteria free. “Take Back Your Bedroom™” with PureCare™ Plush by Fabrictech. For more information, contact Sean Bergman at 973-571-0170. Visit us in showroom C-1532 at the Las Vegas Market. Fabrictech International 218 Little Falls Road, Suite 2 Cedar Grove, NJ 07009 www.fabrictech.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers


S howcase An Ergomotion adjustable is more than just a base— it’s a lifestyle. Our products energize sales and revitalize customers by adjusting to their needs. An Ergomotion base can boost the profit potential of an average sale using the same amount of floor space as a traditional foundation. Our easy ordering, fast delivery, simple set-up and impeccable customer service make Ergomotion bases a smooth, profitable sale. With aesthetics in mind, Ergomotion bases are designed to resemble a modern bed. They have a sleek and contemporary design, can be placed inside any bed frame and have removable leg options. A massage feature has three levels of intensity and a timer. Head and foot sections adjust up to 60 degrees and a zero-gravity position increases circulation and relieves pressure on your shoulders and lower back. Make sure your base is powered by Ergomotion—the best in the industry with superior quality and unsurpassed customer service support. Ergomotion 19 E. Ortega St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101 Phone: 805‑979‑9400 www.ergomotion.us 

Everything changes in 2012. Join us Jan. 30 to Feb. 3 at the Las Vegas World Market Center to learn more about bold ideas to drive growth and profitability for your business in 2012 and beyond. Visit Tempur-Pedic at the Las Vegas Market in showroom C-1512. Tempur-Pedic 1713 Jaggie Fox Way Lexington, KY 40511 www.tempurpedic.com

InnoMax takes a quantum leap forward in digital air-suspension sleep with a never-before combination of nature and innovation to create the all-new Air-Cell™. Environmentally friendly and built to the rigid standards of third-party testing with the SSA Environmental Safety Seal, this powerhouse bed has to be seen to be believed! It features a reversible, wool-encased, two-in-one, dual-firmness support layer and a cotton-and-bamboo rayon cover panel that combines the naturally temperature-neutral benefits of cotton with inherently mildew-proof and dust mite-resistant bamboo. Plus, it complements today’s sexiest bedroom looks. This may be the only digital air offering you’ll ever need! And it’s proudly made in the United States! Visit InnoMax at the Las Vegas Market in the Specialty Sleep Association showroom, C-1350, to rest-test the amazing InnoMax Air-Cell™. InnoMax 530 W. Elk Place • Denver, CO 80216 Phone: 800-466-6629 • www.innomax.com

The new CredenZzZ™—a patented, compact cabinet bed—is the ideal guest bed. The contemporarystyled cabinet is 23.5 inches deep when closed and fits into small spaces, such as studio apartments, resorts or home offices. At 39 inches tall, it’s perfect for a flat-screen TV, buffet or printer. As a bonus, it has a large storage drawer. Stored in the cabinet is a tri-fold memory foam 60-inch by 80-inch mattress. The CredenZzZ provides the most comfortable sleeping platform of any hidea-bed on the market today, competing successfully—in cost and features—with Murphy and wall beds. No installation is required and there’s no need to move it away from the wall or take items off the top—the Creden-ZzZ is freestanding furniture. Arason Enterprises P.O. Box 3274 Annapolis, MD 21403 Phone: 410-703-4412 www.fu-chest.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers

SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

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S howcase For more than 20 years, STORIS Management Systems has been providing leading solutions to bedding retailers of all sizes. STORIS’ latest software suite, Vision9, offers a single-solution view of all Cross Channel Commerce points to enable better order fulfillment and provide the best customer experience. Vision9 covers all aspects of your business, including point of sale, inventory control, accounting, reporting and more. Executive Vision provides 360-degree analytical visibility of your sales data, enabling you to stay focused on improving your business’ bottom-line results. Visit us in our showroom at the Las Vegas Market, WHFA RRC, Bldg. C, 4th floor. STORIS Management Systems 400 Valley Road, Suite 302 Mount Arlington, NJ 07856 Phone: 888-4-STORIS vision9@storis.com www.storis.com

Visit www.protectabed.com to get your Luxury Mattress Protector today! Protect-A-Bed 1500 S. Wolf Road Wheeling, IL 60090 Phone: 866-297-8836 www.protectabed.com

Are you a high-profile salesperson with strong business acumen? Are you currently running a sleep shop for someone else but know you could do it on your own? You can own your own business with the fastest-growing sleep shop chain in the industry! America’s Mattress® is looking for potential candidates to open and run their own sleep shops in select markets nationwide. Our minimum market requirements for one-store operations could provide an aggressive operator as much as $1 million in sales revenue, providing $50,000 to $75,000 in owner’s salary. We provide a complete turnkey operation: • Serta partnership support • Operations set-up • Real estate selection/negotiation • Complete retail support • Advertising campaigns and creative • National network membership and buying support of over 360 locations • Up to $50,000 in capital to get started. Call 888-774-4448 or email kmackey@serta.com today! Visit us in Serta’s Las Vegas showroom, A-710. America’s Mattress 2600 Forbes Ave. Hoffman Estates, IL 60192 Phone: 888-774-4448 www.americasmattress.com/business_opportunities

44 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

As we sleep, our bodies go through various temperature changes. The thermo-regulating properties of Protect-ABed’s Luxury Mattress Protector help even out body temperature and promote more restful sleep. The nanofibrils of the Tencel® fiber act like a microscopic canal system, facilitating the rapid absorption of moisture and then wicking that moisture away from the surface. The result is the cleanest, driest and smoothest sleeping surface possible. Tencel® is 100% natural and chemical free. It reduces bacterial growth by its inherent and natural properties and is luxuriously silky to the touch. Combined with our waterproof Miracle Membrane®, you’ll get ultimate dust mite and stain protection with numerous added benefits for sensitive skin.

Englander is expanding its E-gel CoolBlue Sleep Technology collection at the 2012 Las Vegas Market. Company President Kevin Toman said the initial rollout of gel products last July was well received by retailers, and consumers responded favorably with strong sales in the last four months of 2011. An E-gel mattress provides optimal pressure reduction and immersion qualities during sleep. This encourages unrestricted blood flow and enables a person to sleep more comfortably. Deeper, sounder sleep is achieved through a combination of layered foams and uniquely formulated E-gel, which molds to your body without letting you sink. In essence, you float on E-gel. E-gel comes in six models of firmness, consisting of 1,500 to 4,500 solid gel cylinders combined with memory foam for maximum comfort, spine stability and support. Starting with the 12-inch Azure, E-gel models retail from $1,299 to $2,100. Englander P.O. Box 88
 8300 Industrial Drive Olive Branch, MS 38654 Phone: 800-83-SLEEP www.englander.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers


Put the wind to your

with a brand name your customers know

Brand Recognition Corporate Support World Class P-O-P

High Point Market IHFC Space M-607

World Market Center Las Vegas Building B, Suite 822

www.therapedic.com / 1-800-314-4433

the #1 brand alternative


S howcase The Omazz Zensational™ offers the best of both worlds—experience the perfect sleep hygiene of Talatech™ latex and the new sensation of sleep comfort from a unique, progressive recovery support structure. Like all Omazz mattresses, Zensational™ is upholstered in luxurious cotton-velour fabric in our new color olive-silver and made delicately by the hands of our passionate craftsmen. The topper is made of natural Zensational™ foam to create a unique sensation and redistribute weight balance with an additional layer of Talatech™ latex foam at the bottom of the topper. Moreover, the cover is padded with quiltable latex at the surface for maximum body-pressure reduction. The base core is a combination of Organique® foam and Omazz micro pocket coil to provide ideal firmness for optimal push-back support. To find out more about Natural Therapy for Perfect Sleep, visit us at www.omazz.com or contact us at info@omazz.com for global partner inquiries. Lotus Mattress 90 Moo 10 Budthamonthon 5 Rd Tumbon Raikhing Ampher Sampran 73210 Nakornpathom Thailand www.lotusmattress.com

Pure LatexBLISS 11175 Cicero Drive, Suite 100 Atlanta, GA 30022 Phone: 404-260-7421 www.latexbliss.com

South Bay International’s Black Diamond visco memory foam pillow is the newest innovation in the company’s line of premium pillows. Incorporating bamboo rayon fibers into its premium visco—as well as using a bamboo-blend, fabric pillow cover— creates a luxurious pillow while utilizing renewable resources. South Bay International 2665 Pomona Blvd. Pomona CA 91768 Phone: 800-723-0316 www.southbayinternational.com

46 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

Pure LatexBLISS™ is debuting its fastresponse and slowresponse natural Talalay latex hybrid collections. The company’s new 3.0 Hybrid series combines the luxury of 2 inches to 5 inches of natural Talalay latex rubber with high-density bonded foam to create one of the most durable hybrids in the industry with 20-year warranty.  Fast Response mattresses are made with natural Talalay latex upholstery for a traditional Talalay latex luxury feel. The Slow Response collection mimics a high-quality visco-elastic feel but is made entirely of Talalay latex that incorporates the company’s new ActiveFUSION Talalay latex technology and gel-infused yarns in the fabric. ActiveFUSION technology both cools a warm sleeper and warms a cool sleeper in the same bed—regardless of the season. It uses phase-change material in two places—in the latex and gel-infused yarn on top. Retail pricing ranges from $1,399 to $2,199 in queen.

Therapedic International is introducing its first gel mattress collection, EcoGel™ at the Las Vegas Market. Made using a prepolymer that is added and “swirled” into the compound, it enables the gel to better adhere to the foam, has greater gel coverage, and provides greater cooling and comfort benefits. The open-cell design of the gel memory foam technology supports air and moisture movement while improving blood flow and oxygen exposure to skin cells, allowing for 30% better heat conductivity than any other foam product on the market. The combination of the DynaFlow® Cooling Fabric—designed to increase both the breathability and cooling effect—and the swirl gel memory foam allows EcoGel beds to sleep cooler than traditional foam. Three models—Blue Lagoon, Blue Essence and Blue Heaven—will be displayed in Therapedic’s showroom, B-822. Therapedic International 601 Bound Brook Road Middlesex, NJ 08846 Phone: 800-314-4433 www.therapedic.com

This information was provided to Sleep Savvy by the advertisers


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●R  ead by more than 23,500 mattress and furniture retailers across the U.S. and Canada ●D  esigned to educate retailers on how to maximize the profit opportunities in the sleep products category ●R  ead by the key decision makers— nearly 85% have purchasing responsibility ●W  inner of top marks from retailers for readability, relevance and overall excellence

To reach MANUFACTURERS ●T  he only magazine devoted exclusively to the mattress industry—since 1917 ●W  idely viewed by readers and advertisers as the most comprehensive source of information about the bedding industry ● S trong global reach with readers in more than 100 countries ●R  ead by the key decision makers — nearly 90% have purchasing responsibility

BedTimes

For information, contact Kerri Bellias, sales director kbellias@sleepproducts.org • 336-945-0265


CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris

With advertising, you get what you ask for

L

ow prices, discounts, sales, financing, free services, giveaways and promotions. This is the predominant language of retail mattress advertising today. It’s a bidding war in which the winner really is the loser. “Swing the door” marketing creates traffic and produces unit sales, but there’s a price to pay. Low profits are just part of the cost. Consumers already tend to think of mattresses as utilitarian. Advertising them as a commodity perpetuates that attitude. Is it any wonder that mattress shoppers prioritize getting the most for their dollar? It’s a daunting daily task for retail sales associates to face emboldened shoppers on a mission to find that elusive best deal. Think about the RSA who has to say this to a customer every time his store puts out a high-impact, price-driven ad: “Well, the featured mattress is about 10% of the price of our top-quality mattresses. Would you like to see those?” But the real losers are all the people sleeping on products well below the quality they coulda, shoulda, woulda bought—if only they’d been enticed and motivated to improve the quality of their lives rather than get a bang for their buck. They’ll never know what they’ve missed. What a shame. A vicious cycle Most mattress manufacturers use advertising to create brand awareness, then it’s up to the retailer to create urgency and drive business to their stores. And many manufacturers are putting out uplifting, inspiring quality-of-life messages. The breakdown is at retail, where value,

48 SleepSavvy • January/February 2012

savings and urgency continue to reign supreme. The paradigm that drives mattress retailing is, “If the consumer seeks value, we’ll give it to her.” But it’s a Catch-22. Stores advertise value because shoppers seek value and vice versa. Both retailers and consumers are caught in a loop. Messages that aid everyone But social media is causing some retailers to take a closer look at their messaging. People’s attention might be captured by a retailer’s advertisement, but more and more consumers are seeking validation about what and where to buy and are sharing information within their peer networks. Which of these two messages do you think has the most positive impact on retailers? ● “I just got a steal on a mattress—$499 queen and free delivery.” ● “Like sleeping on a cloud! Just got an awesome mattress and I feel great! Leadership and self-improvement guru Dale Carnegie said that to persuade people to your way of thinking, you should appeal to their more noble instincts. People do respond to a higher calling, but only if they hear it.

How about these messages? (We should be shouting them from the rooftops!) ● The positive impact of increased REM sleep is greatly enhanced by a top-quality mattress. ● Getting deep, restorative sleep may be the best thing we can do for our health, wealth and happiness. ● When it comes to quality-of-life issues, a comfortable, supportive mattress may be the best consumer product of all. Imagine how a woman might respond to a message that sleeping on a top-quality mattress can help her feel and look better, make her more productive, improve her relationships and better prepare her to deal with daily challenges. Want to make your store’s advertising more effective? Giving consumers a glimpse of what life could be like while sleeping on a better mattress is a powerful motivator and a great place to start. Or you can have a clearance sale. Either way, you get what you ask for. ● Gerry Morris is an author, consultant, training coach and member of the National Speakers Association. With more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry, Gerry has helped manufacturers, retailers and retail sales associates around the world increase their sales. To find out what Gerry can do for your company, call 903-456-2015, email gmorris@innerspring.net, visit his website at www.innerspring.net or check out his blog at http://sellmorebeds.wordpress.com. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


Life

Powered by Ergomotion.

An Ergomotion adjustable base is more than just a bed, it’s a lifestyle. Our bases revitalize customers and energize sales by adjusting to their needs. Ergomotion adjustable bases boost the profit potential of your average sale in the same amount of space as a traditional foundation. Our easy ordering, fast delivery, simple set-up, and impeccable customer service make Ergomotion base foundations an easy, profitable sell.

www.ergomotion.us


Make More Money Selling Bliss Mattresses

13-17% Higher Retail Margins than other brands introducing

Hybrid Latex Mattresses Fast response talalay Latex Slow response talalay Latex with gel on top

The profitability of Pure LatexBLISS is unbeatable and I don’t have to worry about someone going down the street and having the price bastardized. Lisa Stansbury, Freds Beds, NC

www.latexbliss.com | www.blissipedia.com | 404.260.7421 See us at Las Vegas Market, showroom B945 & B930

Profile for International Sleep Products Association

Sleep Savvy January/February 2012  

The magazine for sleep products professionals

Sleep Savvy January/February 2012  

The magazine for sleep products professionals