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March 2011

The cover story

Shopping goes high-tech at the point of sale

RETAIL ROAD TRIP

Western Canada’s Mattress Mattress wins sales with ‘beducation’ MARKET SCENE

Vegas showrooms busy, upbeat and packed with new products, programs

BE MY GUEST

Seven reasons why leading with price could kill your advertising


IN THIS ISSUE where to find it

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THE COVER STORY Shopping goes high-tech

Big retailers are setting the pace in new types of screen media and mobile web apps to engage tech-savvy consumers and enhance the shopping experience. The speed of technological change is intimidating, but even smaller retailers need to get ready for high-tech tools to play a role at the point of sale.

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WAKE UP CALL

5

SNOOZE NEWS

25

from the editor’s desk

Technology is exciting—and can be an important ally—-but we need to take care not to forget that people are the heart of the retail business.

stuff you can use

Better Sleep Council’s Suite 7 web video series gets major media attention; Americans say the bedroom plays key role in better sleep; 2010 mattress sales end the year on an up note; bedbug remedies that don’t work; sleeping with pets can make you sick; reminders for delivery people; PLUS a new column from Info Retail’s Cindy Williams...and more.

BACK TALK supporting customer dreams

Tips on helping your customers understand why investing in a quality mattress is time and money well spent.

39 43 45

CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer

Market research major Trendwatching.com examines 11 consumer trends retailers should be watching in 2011.

BE MY GUEST by Dan Hill

Retail expert and author Dan Hill spells out seven reasons why leading with low prices is a bad idea.

CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris Gerry Morris takes a look at how human traits can be turned from challenges into tools for success.

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

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MARKET SCENE seen & heard in Vegas

The best and busiest market in two years brought a welcome end to the winter blahs.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Western Canada’s Mattress Mattress chain makes ‘Beducation’ its claim to fame...and success.

SleepSavvy • March 2011

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SleepSavvy The magazine for sleep products professionals

Editor in Chief Nancy Butler 571-482-5441 nbutler@sleepproducts.org Associate Editor Barbara Nelles 336-856-8973 bnelles@sleepproducts.org Contributors Dan Hill Gerry Morris Cindy Williams Creative Director Stephanie Belcher The Jimmydog Design Group stephanie@jimmydog.com Vice President of Advertising Sales Kerri Bellias 571-482-5444 kbellias@sleepproducts.org Advertising Services Manager Debbie Robbins 571-482-5443 drobbins@sleepproducts.org Circulation Manager Mary Rulli 336-491-0443 mrulli@sleepproducts.org Copy Editor Margaret Talley-Seijn Vol. 10, No. 2 ISSN 1538-702X Sleep Savvy is published 8 times a year by the International Sleep Products Association, 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, Virginia 22314-1917. Phone 703-683-8371. Fax 703-683-4503. Website: www.sleepsavvymagazine.com. Sleep Savvy editorial office: 15 E. Hawthorne Dr., Asheville, North Carolina 28805. Phone 571-482-5441. Fax 703-683-4503. Advertising services: 1613 Country Club Dr., Reidsville, North Carolina 27320. Phone 571-482-5443. Fax 703-683-4503. Subscription policy & rates Retailers: All U.S. retailers qualify for free subscriptions, up to 5 per location. In Canada, $10 per year; all other countries, $30. Manufacturers, suppliers and others: Personnel at ISPA member companies qualify for complimentary subscriptions, subject to restrictions. Nonmembers and all others: $30 U.S., $40 non-U.S. Please send subscription orders and changes to: Sleep Savvy, P.O. Box 4678, Archdale, North Carolina 27263 or fax 336-431-0317. ©2011 by the International Sleep Products Association. No portion of the content may be reprinted without permission from Sleep Savvy. Printed in the U.S.A.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

WAKE UP CALL from the editor

New technology is great, but people are the heart of retail

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recent blog by retail consultant Bob Phibbs (www.retaildoc.com) really grabbed my attention. Bob was one of the thousands who attended the National Retail Federation’s BIG Show in New York in January. The hot topic? Technology, especially mobile media—no surprise. There’s no question that the explosive growth in digital communications is something every retailer, no matter how small, needs to pay attention to—read the cover story by Associate Editor Barbara Nelles on page 14. Bob, no slouch in this regard, agreed that what technology can do for retailers can be fabulous. But here’s the sentence that stopped me cold: “There wasn’t an NRF super-session or breakout about the ones who actually work retail—employees.” Now that is scary. Technology is fun and exciting— and we all need help understanding it—but organizers for the BIG Show seem to have forgotten that people are the heart of the retail business. As Bob pointed out, retailers always need more education on “how to uplift, reward, train and create magic on the sales floor.” The ability to establish rapport with customers and deliver exceptional, personalized service will always make (or break) a sale faster than any super-duper discount digital coupon that pops up on a shopper’s smartphone. People aren’t optional Some analysts speculate that consumers are rapidly reaching the point at which they no longer want to deal with some (inept) salesperson—tech-

nology will simply take over all of an RSA’s functions. Call me oldfashioned, but I see this as a recipe for disaster. Remember Circuit City? It fired its long-term (well-paid) employees and tried to be successful with beefed-up POP and a reduced workforce of marginally trained clerks. That turned out to be a monumental misjudgment of the value of its employees…and its customers. Let’s not make that mistake. The last thing the mattress business needs is to begin thinking that we can take well-trained, knowledgable people out of the equation. We might as well cave to full-out commoditization of our products—something we’re already fighting to avoid. But it would also be a mistake to resist the technological revolution that is clearly underway. If you learn how to use it, technology can be a terrific ally in supporting your effectiveness in communicating and educating consumers—before, during and after the sale. For you guys in the trenches, instead of rendering you obsolete, it can make you the smartest, hippest, most helpful RSA in town! Things are changing fast. What’s the best way for you to go? Maybe you can be the one to start that dialog within your company.

nbutler@sleepproducts.org SleepSavvy • March 2011

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SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

Better Sleep Council’s Suite 7 web series gets major attention The New York Times featured an impressive review of Suite 7—the web series sponsored by the International Sleep Products Association’s Better Sleep Council—on Jan. 16: “You might not expect a web series produced as a promotional tool for the Better Sleep Council to be very interesting, but Suite 7 at MyLifetime.com is worth checking out. The freestanding episodes—the sixth of seven goes up on Friday—all revolve around the same bed, situated in the hotel suite of the title. “What the council’s money has bought is the participation of recognizable performers like Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) as a Tara Perry and Tony Janning skeptical best man and Illeana Douglas as an actress on location in “For Richer or Poorer” debating whether to have sex with her co-star. (Mr. Ventimiglia also directed his episode, while Ms. Douglas wrote hers.) Best, so far, is the more sober, 11-minute “Good in Bed,” starring Jaime Murray (Dexter) and Eddie McClintock (Warehouse 13) as a divorcing couple brought together, for a moment at least, by that magical bed.” Since mid-December, Suite 7 has entertained millions across multiple web and social media platforms and pointed consumers to information about the importance of a quality mattress to a great night’s sleep. ● To see episodes of Suite 7, go to http://suite7.tv/ or go to www.facebook.com/Suite7 and click on the Watch tab. ● For tips on how you can tie into Suite 7, visit the Better Sleep Council’s Retailer Toolkit at www.sleepsavvymagazine.com.

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not

mandatory. — W. Edwards Deming

Which would you give up last—bed, TV or computer?

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sizeable number (42%) of electronics-addicted Americans would give up their bed before giving up their computer or TV, according to a study from rental specialist Aaron’s. But fortunately, the majority (58%) of the 1,000 adults surveyed by Ipsos Public Affairs would still choose a good night’s sleep over entertainment. When asked which they would give up last, 28% said they would give up their computer last, while 14% chose their TV. Across all age categories, the majority chose giving up their bed last, but among adults under 35 more than one-third (35%) said they would choose their computer over their TV or bed. Those age 55 and over were least willing to sacrifice their time between the sheets— only 21% preferred their computer. More than one-third (34%) of unmarried men and women would give up their computer last, compared to 23% of married men and women.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • March 2011

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

CINDY’S INSIGHTS

Listening to the consumer

Maybe we could use a ‘relief finder’ too!

Y

ou’ve been there—standing in front of the cold medicine isle in watery confusion, sneezing, coughing, snorting. You know you need one of those nicely packaged bottles on the shelf, but which one? There are too many choices. In between sneezes, you wring your germy hands. It’s all so mysterious! If you’re like me, you generally leave the store before deciding what to buy because the choices are just overwhelming. Questions run wildly through my stuffed-up head: Will it make me jittery? Will I fall asleep driving back to the office? Which one will break up all this congestion? Arrghh!!! Why does this have to be so complicated? I am happy to report that I will no longer be perplexed, at least in the cold medicine isle, and my new brand of choice is Robitussin. Why? Because Robitussin apparently heard from and listened to a whole lot of customers just like me and created the Relief Finder app! Check it out on the website: www.robitussin.com—it’s awesome.

Now when I have a cold I can go to the relief finder, answer a series of simple questions and wah-lah! I am presented with just the right product to treat my symptoms. This really makes me very happy—can you tell? Hmmm. I’m sensing an opportunity here for the mattress industry. Could the solution for the confusing mattress buying process be this simple? Robitussin gets a rating of five open ears for listening and responding to the Voice of the Consumer (VOC). Cindy Williams is vice president of retail strategy for home furnishings at Atlanta-based Info Retail, a strategy and design firm that helps retailers and manufacturers improve customer buying experiences. Contact Cindy by phone at 770-356-1229 or through www.inforetail.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cinwilliams.

NSF Poll

Americans’ bedrooms are key to better sleep

B

edrooms are important to getting a good night’s sleep, according to the first ever Bedroom Poll from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). The telephone survey of 1,500 adults found that Americans love their bedrooms and believe that comfort and cleanliness are fundamental to good sleep. “We’ve looked a lot at how medical and behavioral issues affect sleep, but we really hadn’t looked at the sleep environment in such depth,” NSF CEO David Cloud told WebMD. “Frankly, we were surprised to see that senses like touch, feel and smell were so important.” The vast majority of Americans, more than nine out of 10, say that mattresses and pillows are important to getting a good night’s sleep, and more than three-quarters also believe

6 SleepSavvy • March 2011

that the comfortable feel of sheets and bedding are important. Also high on the list were cool temperature, clean air free of allergens, and a dark, quiet and clean bedroom. At least two-thirds of Americans believe these also play an important role in getting good sleep. “We spend a third of our lives in our bedrooms, so make it a sanctuary for your sleep,” Cloud advised. “Comfort, fresh air, quietness and cool temperature are the basic building blocks for creating the best sleep

environment.” The poll—which was underwritten by Proctor & Gamble, makers of Downy scented fabric softeners*— also showed that simple things like freshly scented sheets or making your bed each day can impact how you feel about going to bed or even how you sleep. About seven in 10 Americans say they get a more comfortable night’s sleep on sheets with a fresh scent. Those who make their bed every day are 19% more likely to get a good night’s sleep every night than those who don’t. *P&G offered Downy as a sleep aid with a 7-day live window display at Macy’s Herald Square in New York at the end of January. The event featured comedian Mike Birbiglia, known for making light of his sleepwalking problem. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

‘Beauty sleep’ is real

Sleep Shorts

The idea of getting “beauty sleep” now has scientific backing. Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden studied 23 people, age 18 to 31. Each was photographed twice—once after getting a normal night’s sleep (about eight hours) and once after being kept awake for 31 hours. Then a panel of 65 people—who knew nothing about how rested the subjects were— judged the photos on attractiveness, health and whether or not they looked tired. The observers judged the sleep-deprived subjects to be less attractive, less healthy and more tired, according to the study, which was published in December in the British Medical Journal. “Sleep is the body’s natural beauty treatment,” said researcher John Axelsson. “It’s probably more effective than any other treatment you could buy.”

Turn off that light! Scientists at Ohio State University say that too much light at night may be a key factor in our epidemic increase in obesity— adding more weight to growing research showing a correlation between our nighttime habits and putting on pounds. Laboratory mice were first exposed to 16 hours of light and eight hours of either total darkness, dim light—of the type you get if the TV is on—or full bright light. Not only did the mice exposed to bright light gain weight, so did the mice that “watched TV” all night. By the end of the eight-week study, the mice in the light cycle had about a 50% increase in weight compared to the mice in the dark. There was no significant difference in total food intake and activity, but the mice with light at night were eating about 55% of their total food during their rest phase. Apparently, the light disrupted their metabolism, said neuroscientist Laura Fonken, lead author of the study. Recent human research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School show that the body produces less of the sleep hormone melatonin when exposed to light. For the study, 116 people spent five days in room where they were awake for 16 hours and asleep for eight hours a day.

8 SleepSavvy • March 2011

Exposure to full light during the waking hours strongly suppressed melatonin levels. When exposed to full light for eight hours in the morning and dim light for eight hours later in the day, melatonin was produced for 90 minutes more a day. Dr Joshua Gooley, lead author, said that electric light until bed could “have effects on sleep quality and the body’s ability to regulate body temperature, blood pressure and glucose levels.” So douse the lights, turn off the TV, put up the blackout curtains and forget those late-night snacks.

Sleeping with pets can make you sick Nasty diseases that can be transmitted from pets to people include worms, Chagas disease, cat scratch fever and even bubonic plague, says Bruno Chomel, professor of veterinary medicine at the University of California-Davis. “I think our pets should not go beyond (being) next to the bed. Having a stuffed animal in your bed is fine, not a real one.” Nearly two-thirds (60%) of U.S. households have a pet and, depending on which survey you consult, between 14% and 62% of people let their dogs and cats hop into bed with them. “The risk (of disease) is rare, but when it occurs it can be very nasty, especially in immuno-compromised people and the very young,” Chomel says. Sleep Savvy thinks this might be a good promotional opportunity for retailers: “Buy a new mattress and get a free pet bed for Fido.” USA Weekend

Effective diet includes good sleep The USA Weekend magazine supplement to Gannett newspapers on Sunday, Nov. 28, included this tip for successful dieting: “Get good sleep. Too little sleep may actually keep body fat in place, according to research from the University of Chicago. The small study showed dieters who slept 8.5 hours during one period and 5.5 during another lost about the same amount of weight (just under 7 pounds), but

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

the composition was different: When they slept more, they took off body fat; when they slept less, they lost more muscle mass (which lowers metabolism). During less-sleep time, participants also felt hungrier and had higher levels of gherlin in their blood, an appetiteboosting hormone. Sleep experts say most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night.” National Geographic

Sleep selects important memories, boosts cleverness Scientists already know that sleep helps consolidate memories, but a new study—based on an analysis of recent and past research—suggests that the sleeping brain doesn’t just store everything. Instead, it calculates what to remember and what to forget, according to a story in National Geographic. Emotional memories are often retained the best. When shown a scene with an emotional element, such as a wrecked car, people in one study were more likely to remember that object than other details in the scene, especially after a night of sleep. So the brain selects the most emotional—perhaps most important—elements and lets the others go. This type of selective memory was vital to survival in human evolution, the story said. But the downsides in modern society may include remembering negative experiences to the exclusion of others, which happens in depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it also appears that sleep-enabled memories may help people “produce insights, draw inferences and foster abstract thought during waking hours.” “Sleep is doing much more complicated stuff than just stabilizing or strengthening memories,” Robert Stickgold, a cognitive neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, told National Geographic. “We’re seeing the sorts of memory processing in sleep that we usually attribute to cleverness.” To read the full story, go to http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ news/2010/12/101201-sleep-memories-healthbrain-science/.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Highlights from the NRF’s 2011 retail outlook

I

n the December issue of STORES, the magazine of the National Retail Federation, Editor Susan Reda shared NRF’s retail outlook for this year. Here are 10 predictions Sleep Savvy thought especially interesting and relevant: Don’t expect to put one over on shoppers. People do their homework and may know more about your products than your RSAs (a recent survey by Motorola showed that 55% of surveyed retailers say shoppers are better connected to store information than sales associates). To earn their business, be transparent, consistent and authentic.

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The need to improve the in-store experience looms large. Make shopping memorable, reward them with outstanding service and give them something they can only get by being in the store.

3 4 5 6 7 8

Look for tablets and handheld electronics to become standard for sales associates. If they can’t give all of the answers on the spot, customers will walk. Smaller store formats will increasingly appeal to shoppers’ desire to get in, get out and get on with their lives. Expect social marketing to ramp up with more Facebook promotions, more mobile coupons and more offers sent to shoppers’ smartphones. Be sure to tell consumers about your sustainability efforts and make sure it’s reflected in the way you do business. Ads screaming low prices alone won’t cut it. Define value. Understand what consumers think your store/ brands stand for and play to those strengths. This will be the year of “searchandising”—the convergence of search technologies and merchandising capabilities. Savvy retailers are already using improved product recommendations engines; expect searchandising to be the next step.

9

Give consumers a lot of customer-generated content. Shoppers want input from other people with information to share. Consumers trust other consumers a lot more than they trust you.

10

Personalization is becoming more important. Shoppers want to have their say and something uniquely theirs. Invite them into the conversation and then find ways to deliver personalized products.

For more trends and predictions for 2011, see Consumer Check on page 39. SleepSavvy • March 2011

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use Bedbug Bytes

10 remedies that don’t work

I

tchy and frustrated, people dealing with a bedbug infestation are willing to try just about anything to get rid of the insects. At best, most of these remedies are ineffective—some are downright dangerous. Brian Hirsch, director of Protect-A-Bed’s Pest Control Division, has compiled a list of the 10 least effective home remedies he’s heard of people using: 1. Gasoline or kerosene—dousing the bed and other home furnishings in diesel fuel or kerosene 2. Sulfur—burning sulfur inside the home 3. Bug bombs—setting off multiple bug bombs and creating a risk of explosion 4. Fire extinguishers—using fire extinguishers to “freeze” the bugs 5. Lights—sleeping with the lights on to trick the bedbugs into not biting 6. Exterior pesticides—using pesticides that aren’t effective against bedbugs 7. Olive oil—covering your body in olive oil so the bugs can’t climb on you 8. WD-40—spraying the bugs directly with a lubricant 9. Cold—turning off the heat in the winter to freeze the bugs out 10. Baking soda and rubbing alcohol—applying this combination to a mattress or upholstered furniture. “Bedbugs and their aftermath have caused many rational people to lose the ability to reason,” Hirsch says. Hirsch tells people to remain calm and to contact a reputable pest control expert to help resolve the problem. A mix of chemical and nonchemical methods is usually required to eliminate bedbugs, and infestations often require several treatments. Protect-A-Bed is a leading supplier of mattress and pillow encasement products that can be used as part of a bedbug prevention and containment process.

Majority of workers need more sleep

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ight in 10 American workers (85%) say they’d be more productive on the job if they got more sleep, according to a survey from Philips Consumer Lifestyle, a maker of wellness products. Other findings: ● 56% of workers say they don’t consistently get a good night’s sleep ● 64% say a lack of sleep starts their workday off badly ● 37% aren’t ready to get up when their alarm goes off ● 32% admit to oversleeping and waking up after they were supposed to be at work ● 23% say they’ve taken a nap at work. The phone survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 white-collar workers was fielded by Braun Research Inc. in November.

Quotable “Your number one goal isn’t to sell a mattress— it’s to establish a connection with customers and gain their trust.” Chuck Kill, CEO of Bed Mart in Tucson, AZ, speaking during a panel session at the January Las Vegas Market. During training, BedMart RSAs are asked, “What is your number one goal?” The answer is usually, “To sell a mattress.” That’s the perfect opportunity to let trainees know their real goal.

NRF Survey

Great service top strategy for success The National Retail Federation recently asked its members, “What is your strategy for success in 2011?” Here’s how they answered: 65.36%

The emphasis will be on customer service and experience. 17.32%

We will play up our “value” messaging and offer promotions. The plan is to incorporate more social media into our marketing. We will cut operational costs and overhead as much as possible. We will focus on reducing shrink (loss due to theft).

10 SleepSavvy • March 2011

8.94% 5.03% 3.35% www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use Dear delivery people...

I

Shoppers attracted to faces in ads

A

multicultural study from EYE, a mall media specialist, suggests that human faces are the key to capturing people’s attention in advertising displays. Even the second time mall shoppers passed a display with faces, nearly half (47.8) took a second look. Both men and women were more likely to focus on ads with faces, and both genders looked longest at ads showing women. The study also noted that people’s gaze tends to go to the eyes first. Done with Access Testing, the study observed people in malls, airports and universities in Singapore, New Zealand and the U.K., and in malls in New York, California and Georgia. Viewing engagement was measured when shoppers’ eyes fixated on an ad panel for at least a fifth of a second.

f you are responsible for delivering new sleep sets to customers’ homes, here are a few things we’d like you to remember: ● You are a moving billboard and an ambassador representing your store. ● You are part of the customer’s shopping experience. ● Every move you make is under scrutiny by customers and potential customers. When delivering, please: ● Specify a delivery window and stick to it. If you’ll be delayed, let the customer know right away. ● Be sure your shoes are clean before you step into the home, or wear shoe guards. ● Be polite and willing to go the extra mile to accommodate the customer. Smile. She’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness. . .and tell others about it.

BEDDING BIZ BEAT After a soft October, sales registered a nice pick-up in November, with unit sales of mattresses and foundations up 8.5% and wholesale dollars up 6% compared to November 2009. Dollars rose nearly 3% in December compared to December 2009, while units were up 3.6%. For the full year, units shipped by manufacturers participating in the International Sleep Products Association’s monthly sample rose 7.3% and dollars were up 6.6% compared to 2009.

Mattresses & Foundations in Millions of Wholesale Dollars $389 $381

$387

$417

Sample of Leading Producers

$370

$389 $335 $325

$316

$335

$334

$344

Percent change -2.2%

Percent change +7.9%

Percent change +4.7%

Percent change -2.8%

Percent change +6.0%

Percent change +2.9%

July

August

September

October

November

December

■ 2009 ■ 2010

12 SleepSavvy • March 2011

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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The cover story

Shopping go

Using digital POP to educate, ente

14 SleepSavvy • March 2011

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


oes high-tech

ertain and inspire today’s shoppers

F

By Barbara Nelles Photography by Scott Nelles

or today’s tech-savvy consumer, the ideal shopping experience incorporates all that is good about a bricks-and-mortar store —ability to touch, feel and test products, as well as speak to an informed salesperson—with the digital tools they are accustomed to accessing at home— product reviews, peer advice and the ability to comparison shop. As a result, new types of screen media, or DOOH (“digital-out-of-home”) and tools for the mobile web are play a bigger role in successful retailing. New retail technologies are emerging—or should we say “converging”— www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

at such a dizzying pace, it’s practically impossible to keep up. Key takeaway for your store? Keep trying. “Remember that today’s consumer has become trained to digital selfservice,” says Laura Davis-Taylor, vice president of global retail strategy at Retail Media Consulting Inc. “According to Forrester Technographics, when consumers can’t find the tech tools they need, they get frustrated. Shoppers have come to expect it and are often disappointed to be confronted at retail with just the sales associate!” 15

SleepSavvy • March 2011


THE COVER STORY

shopping goes high-tech More than half of the 1,000 participants in a recent study by Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group said they want more digital tools at the point-of-purchase. The study said that providing access to interactive displays, digital signage and social networking apps will likely increase sales. And, yes, implementing a cool digital POP technology can change your store’s image. “We live in a world of technology and screens and we’ve found that the presence of digital tools can subconsciously influence consumers’ attitudes toward you,” says Emily Miller, the director of strategy and insight for brand experience design

16 SleepSavvy • March 2011

firm Big Red Rooster. “It communicates that your store is more current and cutting edge.” Digital screens star When it comes to digital signage, your mattress department can’t and shouldn’t look like screenfilled Best Buy. But you, too, may want to add a digital signage network to your store and a few thoughtfully placed plasma screens. You can “narrowcast” to more than one store location with digital signage software you purchase and host on your own server or with easy-to-use “in the cloud” software (SaaS, software-as-a-service) that you access via the Internet. Create

your own in-store network, a mini version of what mega-retailers Best Buy, Target and Walmart have already implemented. Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn told STORES magazine in January that one goal of the chain’s digital network is to “inspire customers to the art of what’s possible—we need to replace confusion with excitement.” It’s a fitting challenge for mattress retailers, too. An investment in digital signage breaks down into three components: hardware, software and content. Begin your research online at digital signage software providers such as CoolSign (www.cool-sign.com) or BroadSign (www.broadsign.com), just to name two. You’ll get a good idea of the scope of an installation. Prime real estate for a large LCD screen is at the store or department entrance. Let’s face it, most consumers find mattress shopping daunting and unfamiliar. Video content can create a good transition into your store when shoppers are allowed to pause and get their bearings. Offer information about how your store is laid out, how to test mattresses and, of course, special promotions. Before making a hardware decision, you’ll need to factor in your existing store conditions, lighting, Wi-Fi capabilities and traffic flow. Take time to observe how shoppers tend to move through your store. What makes the most sense for how people navigate the space and where they linger? Talk to customers to find out how they are researching their purchase and what steps they go through, so that you can find new ways to assist them in the store and online. There are many suppliers of enterprise-grade display hardware: HP, IBM, Intel, LG, NEC, Samsung and Sony, to name a few. HP and others sell softwarewww.sleepsavvymagazine.com


THE COVER STORY

shopping goes high-tech enabled LCD display units with plug-and-play capabilities. You pay a premium of about 20% for commercial-grade displays, but it’s worth it, experts say. They come with service contracts and, unlike hardware for the consumer market, are designed to run 24/7 without overheating and breaking down. Before proceeding with a digital signage installation, retailers need to define the focus and purpose of the project. “Are you trying to upsell additional services?”, asks Brian Ardinger, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Nanonation, a provider of digital signage software. “Is it your whiteglove delivery or a new line of sleep accessories? Once you have your content management infrastructure in place, you can change that content based on your current focus, current promotions, even the time of day or the seasons.” Screens can be strategically placed near the sales desk, in the accessories display or next to beds, depending on your program’s focus. Talk to your RSAs to find out what types of help they need. Consider how digital signage can empower them, too. “Definitely leverage your investment so it’s also an employeefacing device,” Ardinger says. “Business-grade equipment can be multi-purposed so that if an associate enters a code or swipes a card, he can access product information, sales training and more.” “Today at retail, the typical associate is only there for about seven months,” Davis-Taylor adds. “We have one retailer who installed multi-purposed screens that are consumer-facing, but also provide access to sales training and other information.” www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Digital do’s ● Do seek to delight and surprise consumers with your digital POP. ● Do create content that isn’t noisy, repetitive and disruptive to shoppers and sales associates. ● Do budget for and commit to ongoing content creation. ● Do integrate digital POP into the way shoppers interact with your space. ● Do incorporate your overall brand message. ● Do monitor ROI and put feedback mechanisms in place.

Digital signage is a great way for retailers to keep their staff and the public current on the latest information about sleep and health, says Don Wright, chairman and chief marketing officer of Wright of Thomasville, a branding, label and signage company. “Help everyone make the sleep, health and quality-of-life connection. And keep all of your content updated and fresh. There are all different types of resources for content creation and management. You can talk to a company like ours—we offer templates that allow you to update content yourself—or contract with an outside agency for content management and creation.” Digital signage may or may not be a smart option for your store. Always think of who you’re targeting and what motivates that shopper. If possible, test your new tool before committing to it. “Testing is vital to see if it makes sense for your store,” Miller explains. “For instance, we’ve found that in grocery store settings, putting screens at the checkout doesn’t work—shoppers are hurried, tired and just not interested. Also, in high-touch, high-service environ-

ments—for instance at a Neiman Marcus or a boutique sleep shop— tech tools may not be appropriate if the customer is paying a premium because they value personal service and they may not want to use selfservice tools.” Content is king “Plan on making a continuous investment in new content for your digital installation,” Miller says. “There is much you can repurpose— websites and brochures can all be recreated for the medium—but they need reworking. You can’t transfer verbatim and it’s best to use a thirdparty content vendor to assist in creation and management.” “Leverage your assets,” Ardinger agrees. “If your store has an indepth website with lots of product information—perhaps even consumer reviews—and it’s e-commerce enabled, you can make it an in-store experience, too. I call it a ‘website on a stick’.” Consider creating bilingual content. Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the U.S. But it’s best to use captioning and avoid audio altogether, many experts advise. “I definitely wouldn’t recommend audio in a bedding department— even in Best Buy it’s a bad idea,” Ardinger says. “It’s distracting and noisy and employees get burnt out listening to the same loops over and over. If store employees regularly switch off the store’s digital displays, your investment is wasted.” The most mesmerizing in-store content is customer-generated. Screening your TV commercials in store is so yesterday. If you have an active Facebook page, post screenshots of your wall. Management software can allow you to stream RSS feeds of Twitter conversations and blogs. Invite customers to send in photos of their new beds and SleepSavvy • March 2011

17


THE COVER STORY

shopping goes high-tech

create a constantly updated slide show. Create your own videos. A $159 Flip camera is simple to use and comes with its own editing software. You may even want to send a “camera crew” out with your delivery team to film happy customers receiving their new beds. Get employees involved in content creation. Stage a video contest with prizes for the best video about your store or a related topic. “Since mattresses are an infrequent purchase, there is plenty of need to educate, inform and tell a story within the space,” Ardinger says. “Consumers are making a complex decision and they need your help.” Go for interactive Interactive touchscreens are no stranger to mattress retailing, and digital retail consultants Sleep Savvy spoke with think they make a lot of sense. “Mattresses are such a highengagement, complex sell that static digital signage may not be the

18 SleepSavvy • March 2011

eral manufacturers, including Sleep to Live’s bedMATCH diagnostic system, Comfort Solutions’ Sleep iD collection with the BodyMatch evaluation system, Spring Air’s Comfort Silhouette Imaging (CSI) system and Boyd Specialty Sleep’s Sleep Metrics collection and diagnostic system. These interactive tools help consumers find the right mattress fit based on personal preference, body type and other factors. Three of the four have a pressure-mapping component. Comfort Solutions’ is a Q&A-based system that can be hosted on a retailer’s website, as well as used in-store. Sleep to Live’s and Spring Air’s diagnostic systems offer the capability to make product recommendations across brands. Other options include a simple touchscreen or kiosk that allows shoppers to print out coupons, view Since mattresses are an your special promoinfrequent purchase, there tions or sign up for the store newsletis plenty of need to educate, ter—which also helps you build an inform and tell a story— email database. At retailer consumers are making a JCPenney, shoppers complex decision and can browse the store’s merchandise line using they need your help. the “Find More” kiosk. It’s a doorway-sized touchanswer,” screen that allows shoppers to explains check out the store’s entire prodDavis-Taylor. uct catalog. They can scan product “First answer these questions: What barcodes to learn more or find coorpain points can you solve with your dinating items and email informadigital POP? What does the shoption to themselves or friends. Some ping process need? What experience kiosks have printing capabilities so might customers really love? An consumers can take product inforinteractive tool that helps shoppers mation with them. determine what their needs are, If kiosks and digital screen netwhich product is right for them and works are not in your budget, think even offers customer reviews of difsmaller. Much smaller. ferent beds could be helpful.” The newest digital picture frames Retailers can check out the intercost between $100 and $200 apiece. active mattress selection systems They come with their own softalready available to stores from sevware and some are Wi-Fi enabled www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


THE COVER STORY

shopping goes high-tech touchscreens. Store owners can send images to the frames—which can be placed throughout the store on nightstands—and manage them from a remote computer. Synch the frames with Facebook and other online applications. Shoppers can gaze at slide shows or customer comments as they test your beds. Mobility plays a key role “Retailers are looking for complete solutions that will help them wrap their arms around the digital world,” says Keith Kelsen, CEO of 5th Screen in a story about “Top Trends in Digital Signage for 2011” at Digital Signage Today. “Look for them to implement inclusive, integrated digital signage solutions that include social, desktop, in-store and interactive that will help you buy something today. Whether it starts online or in-store with digital signage, mobile will be part of it all.” Some of the most exciting new digital retail technologies are incorporating mobile devices. And by year-end, it is expected that half of all Americans will own a smartphone, which they’ll use to conduct online research as they shop your store. STORES magazine has labeled 2011 the year of “searchandizing” because consumers bring technology into the store with them and continue their research on a store’s products, doing price comparisons from store to store on the spot. What that might mean for the way mattresses have been merchandised for decades remains to be seen. Will consumers demand price transparency? Will the difficulty of comparing models escalate into crisis? The mobile web—which includes smartphones, tablets and other handhelds—is adding new convenience, a sense of fun and a mandate for a seamless shopping experience from home to store to mobile device.

20 SleepSavvy • March 2011

Mobility also is adding convecart” they take with them wherever nience to the many stages of shopthey go; help improve the in-store ping. And we do mean “stages.” In experience by providing additional the “old days,” consumers researched information, product location and a product online then went to a product reviews; provide more CRM bricks-and-mortar store to make a insights and give new tools to sales purchase. “Today’s path to purchase associates. is no longer centered on the store,” It’s all very complicated—and getDavis-Taylor says. “If you look ting more so by the day. But conat how people shop now, there’s sumers don’t seem to mind. In fact, pre-shopping—online research and 56% of smartphone owners said consulting your network; there’s the these devices make shopping more in-store experience where you test enjoyable, reports a 2010 study by the product; there’s the purchase, Accenture. So enjoyable, in fact, a whether it’s in-store or online; and whopping 73% of smartphone ownthen there’s post-shopping—you get ers would rather use their phone to the product home, use it, reflect on handle simple tasks in a store than it and share your impressions with your friends and network.” In a panel discussion at the National Retail Consumers bring Federation (NRF) “Big technology into the store Show” in January, retail consultant with them and continue Pratik Pal of Tata Associates explained their research on a store’s how mobile apps will allow consumers to products, doing price merge their in-store comparisons from store to and out-of-store shopping with a “universal

store on the spot.

interact with an employee. Most major U.S. retailers have created their own smartphone apps and sites. They are feeding shoppers coupons, recommendations and advice personalized to the shopper’s preferences as they walk through a store. What is a small retailer to do? Consider arming your employees with handheld devices, tablets or smartphones that will enable them to be as knowledgeable and helpful as possible. In Disney Stores, associates are equipped with a specially modified iPod Touch allowing them www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


Š 2010 Simmons Bedding Company. All rights reserved. POCKETED COIL is a registered trademark of Dreamwell, Ltd. a wholly owned subsidiary of Simmons Bedding Company.


GEORGE VIVANCO, Sit‘n Sleep

A 9-million-pocketed-coil-man... and counting. ®

For decades, Simmons® Beautyrest® has had strong sales, a higher average retail ticket and created an army of loyal customers. And, while getting results like these takes expertise and experience on our part, we couldn’t have done it without the help of George and so many other dedicated sales associates. Thanks to their efforts, Simmons has sold an astonishing 37 billion Pocketed Coil® springs. Making Beautyrest® far and away the bestselling mattress with Pocketed Coil® technology.

IT’S NOT

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THE COVER STORY

shopping goes high-tech to complete transactions on the spot and assist shoppers with the store’s entire 5,000 SKU inventory. At Home Depot, associates now have handhelds that act as smartphone, walkie talkie, inventory management tool and mobile credit card reader. At the winter Las Vegas Market, iPads and smartphones were just beginning to make supporting-role appearances in a handful of mattress showrooms, with prototype apps for product education and brand messaging. Retailers can anticipate rapid growth in mobile support apps from vendors as time goes on. (For more on digital tools and other news from the Las Vegas Market, see page 32). Retailers can employ QR or “quick response” codes in your store. These 2D barcodes are beginning to play an immense role in retailing—Best Buy has now added them to every shelf-edge label. Simmons claims to be the first mattress major in the U.S. to use QR tags on beds; others now using them include such companies as Englander, Therapedic, Carolina Mattress Guild and Natura World. The tool is becoming as ubiquitous in the U.S. as it is in Europe and Asia, and can be deployed almost anywhere—on print materials as well as in screen media.   Once the shopper scans a QR code with her smartphone, she is “taken to a website or some other mobile-enabled content and provided with information the retailer controls,” explains Jeff Weidauer, senior vice president of digital shelfedge services provider Vestcom International, in a blog post at www.retailcustomerexperience.com. “At the same time, a retailer can collect information on the shopper, such as where and when she scanned the code, how many codes she scanned and what actions she may have taken afterward. Interface this

24 SleepSavvy • March 2011

with a retailer’s loyalty database, and the possibilities for connecting in a meaningful manner with the best shoppers become clear.” Retailers can now enbed QR codes that will allow shoppers to automatically “like” them on Facebook. QR codes can take smartphone users to anywhere on the web you’d like them to go—to a great customer review of your store or an article about it in the local paper. QR code scavenger hunts are a popular promotional tool. Retailers hide codes throughout a store and offer shoppers prizes or coupons. Now…and next “Right now we are taking technology that consumers have available in their homes and elsewhere and putting it in stores,” Ardinger says. “In the future, we can expect digital tools to become integral to the retail experience. You won’t even call it ‘digital’ anymore. Retailers will be able to change messaging and content on a dime, and most importantly, with all the instant metrics and tracking we now have at our fingertips, they can engage consumers at the right time with just the right information.” Cool new retail technologies and promotions make headlines every

day. In January, Starbucks launched a service allowing customers to pay for their coffee with a swipe of their smartphone. In an Esquire magazine promotion, a GPS-enabled app for the iPhone allows Barnes & Noble shoppers to snap virtual photos of themselves with the magazine’s “sexiest woman alive” nominee, Brooklyn Decker. Where will it all end? It probably won’t. The store of the future will be the perfect “mashop”—a buzzword coined by networking and communications provider Cisco Systems—of e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar shopping, served with an extra-large helping of mobility and social media. “The next generation of smartphones will be equipped with NFC chips that have the potential of storing loyalty data, coupons and payment information so we’ll probably stop carrying around wallets,” predicted David Dorf, director of technology for hardware and software giant Oracle in a speech at the NRF Big Show. “The mobile phone will probably replace our house and car keys as well. In the distant future, mobile phones will morph into wearable computers and augmented reality will be the norm. We’re already seeing bits and pieces of this now.” ●

Where to learn more ● The Digital Screen Media Association website: www.digitalscreenmedia.org. ● “ How to Create and Deploy Your Own QR Codes,” Mashable.com: http://mashable.com/2010/08/23/how-to-create-qr-codes. ● “ Ensuring Success in Self-Service and Digital,” Kioskmarketplace.com free whitepaper: http://bit.ly/fqBxFa. ●L  ighting Up the Aisle by Laura Davis-Taylor and Adrian Weidmann, www.lightinguptheaisle.com. ● “ Make your brick-and-mortar store more like your e-commerce site,” by Sam Decker, ClickZ.com: http://bit.ly/idCKhA. ●U  nleashing the Power of Digital Signage by Keith Kelsen; an overview of the book is available at http://5thscreen.info/index2.htm.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


BACK TALK

supporting customer dreams Time (and money) well spent

W

hen was the last time you greeted a customer who wasn’t thinking about the money a new mattress might cost? That’s pretty much everybody in this tight economy. So, in addition to making sure to engage your customer in a conversation about her sleep needs and back health, you need to help her understand why a quality bed is such an important investment. Here are some thoughts to share with your customers: Buying a comfortable mattress is essential, especially when you recognize that, at an average of 7.5 hours a night, you’re spending more than 50 hours a week on your mattress. That’s more than two days in bed! That’s also likely to be more time than you spend doing any other activity: working, watching TV, driving, using a computer, talking on the phone, texting (unless you’re under 18). You use your bed more than any other piece of furniture or equipment in your home or workplace. And because you spend so much time in bed, the right mattress makes the single biggest contribution to your overall health and well-being! You expect a lot from the mattress and foundation you sleep on night after night—it only makes sense to invest in the best your budget can afford. A quality mattress and foundation are among the most cost-effective investments you can make, even when you spend more than you’d planned to get the comfort you really want and need. Here’s an idea of the cost over time: The real cost of a good night’s sleep Mattress set price Cost per night Cost per hour $799 .30 .04 $999 .39 .05 $1299 .50 .06 $1599 .62 .08 $1999 .78 .10 $2499 .98 .13 *7 years or approx. 2,555 nights @ approx. 7.5 hours per night.

We’re dreaming your dreams.

Ask customers how much they paid the last time they bought a cup of coffee to get going in the morning. Then compare that to the cost of sleeping on a great mattress!

Brought to you by

restonic

Talk back...

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Life is full of new additions, at Restonic we pride ourselves on being with you through every stage of life. Restonic is the go-to brand that provides a relationshipbased business for all our retailers. We are proud to support your dreams, both big and small, while providing your customers with high-quality, luxurious bundles of joy. restonic.com

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

SleepSavvy • March 2011

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com 9024 Dream 34375x10_SS.indd 1

25

4/13/10 7:42:34 AM


Day of Sale:

Too Soon:

It Didn’t Work:

Time-Sapper:

Brace Yourself:

You sell a mattress barely 30 minutes after you open your doors on a beautiful Saturday. The birds are singing. The customer calls to complain about “mattress divots.” You tell her they are “body contour adaptations.” She calls again. And again. You miss making a sale while you explain to her that body contour adaptations are normal, acceptable, and within the warranty. You’re forced to leave your brother-in-law manning the store while you act as mattress technician and drive across town to the customer’s house to inspect. With your high-tech “adaptation assessor kit” (No. 2 pencil, ruler, string), you determine the divot…er, adaptation…isn’t covered by warranty. You break the bad news to the customer. She reveals that she’s a world-famous social media expert and vows revenge. Tweet, tweet.

Rollator tests simulate extended mattress use. 0.0%

Don’t leave this kind of impression on your customers. Mattress breakdown has become a destructive problem in the sleep industry, and customers left in the hole may try to get their money back. But mattresses topped with Softech’s fabric-encased coils maintain their structural integrity and are far less susceptible to breakdown due to extended use. Nearly three times less than Visco foam and nearly ten times less than polyurethane. Check out BeddingComponents.com/Softech to learn how Softech can provide years of pampering comfort and lasting quality. And top your mattresses with Softech, which will leave your customers with a good impression.

© 2010 Leggett & Platt, Incorporated

-10.0% -20.0%

Softech® Visco Latex Poly

-30.0% -40.0% -50.0%

Percent of firmness breakdown on commonly used mattress toppers.

softech THE ELEMENT OF COMFORT

®


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Mattress Mattress

Chad Buchfink and Lori Fecho

‘Beducation’ is key to success for Canadian chain By Nancy Butler Photography by Tim Girard

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

W

estern Canada’s largest regional specialty chain, Mattress Mattress, doesn’t spend a lot of time embellishing its 15 corporately owned stores, which are very simple. But its partners pride themselves on “providing our customers with an exceptional shopping experience,” says Lori Fecho, vice president and director of retail operations. What’s the secret? Education— or, as they call it, “Beducation,” a term the company has trademarked in Canada. “People come into our stores looking for our ‘Beducation’—our claim to fame—and are blown away by how much our RSAs know about the

differences between products,” says Fecho. “We know how to help them choose the right mattress at the right price. It’s one of the reasons our referral and repeat business is so terrific.”  Fecho’s brother Eric Buchfink, CEO and president, founded the business in 1994. Family and friends have helped him make it successful. His wife Bozena, son Chad, as well as partners Ed Zajac and Randy Cholette are store operations directors. Other family members—including Fecho’s son, a student who works part-time—are active. “And even those who aren’t in the family are family,” she says of the close-knit workforce. SleepSavvy • March 2011

27


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

it our ‘$5 million bed’.” “That has a lot to do with educating customers and knowing how to make them comfortable,” she says. “We call our RSAs ‘Beducators’—they have this on their name badges by request.”

Store interior at the Camrose, Alberta, location

Growth has been gradual and strategic for the Red Deer, Alberta-based Mattress Mattress. “We always have to be sure we have the right locations and the right people,” Fecho says. As testimony to the management’s success in running a tight ship financially, they were able to open three new stores in 2009—a great year for the company, despite the Great Recession. Today, there are14 locations in Alberta and one in British Columbia (there’s also a licensed store in BC). Each store is about 4,000 square feet, including 1,500 of warehouse space. “We make a point of telling people that we don’t have fancy showrooms so we can keep our prices low,” says Fecho. “But we keep our stores extremely clean. Signs of wear and dirt? Gone immediately.” The decor is very simple. “We use the latest paint colors—warm ones,” Fecho notes. “Stores are fully carpeted

28 SleepSavvy • March 2011

and there’s plenty of space between the beds—30 to 36 on display, with headboards. We avoid lots of tags and banners—the circus look.” An accessory wall features basic shelving to show pillows, pads, protectors, a few blankets and duvets in a limited good/better/best selection. “Our focus is on mattresses,” she says. “Our slogan is ‘We know mattresses’—that’s what we do best.” The brand selection is large, including Sealy, Serta, Spring Air/Restwell, King Koil/Regal, Kingsdown, Springwall and Sova—all made in Canadian factories. Queen prices open at $299 (a price point that isn’t advertised) and top out at $3,199. The lowest advertised price is $488 and the bread-and-butter price range is $488 to $999, Fecho says. “But our people are really good at the upsell, so we do well with the top of the line, a solid latex from Kingsdown—we call

Let’s get ‘Beducated’ Mattress Mattress RSAs must acknowledge a customer within 10 seconds of arrival (yes, seconds). For the first 5 to 10 minutes, they ask customers about how they sleep, their spine and other health issues, as well as what they sleep on and what they’re looking for. “People are typically very open about their sleep issues,” Fecho adds. “You just have to ask.” Then they move on to a 3-minute Beducation about different product types. Spring demonstrators illustrate the basic coils: bonnell, offset, continuous and pocket. The company has also created demonstrators with samples of visco-elastic, latex and gel to show the different responses and pressure-relieving characteristics. “That helps to narrow down what the customer is interested in and where to take them,” Fecho says. Before moving on to mattress tests, they match the customer to

Beducation brochure

E

very customer leaves Mattress Mattress with a copy of the company’s 16-page, illustrated consumer brochure that includes product education, shopping how-to’s, sleep and health tips, mattress care tips and warranty details (which help reduce claims) and much more. The back cover includes a slot for the RSAs business cards and lines for notes.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Customers Heather and Brock Cunningham get their foam ‘Beducation’ from Debbie Girard (left), Camrose store co-manager.

a pillow and stress its importance. The assortment is a simple one— latex or fiberfill at $25 to $180. “We always start with the ‘$5 million bed’ and make sure they try visco, gel and coil models so that every customer experiences the feel of each one,” Fecho says. “We encourage them to spend plenty of time, especially when they find something they like—at least 15 minutes.” “Every mattress has a spec sheet attached so shoppers know exactly what’s inside—it also outlines the benefits. But our salespeople know all of this information as well,”

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

she says. The level of interest in specs depends on the customer— “The engineer wants to know everything. But we say that coil count is only important if you’re counting coils—it’s the benefits that matter!” During the testing, RSAs check spinal alignment and offer other guidance. “But at the end of the day, it’s personal comfort that makes the difference,” Fecho says. Customers are invited to take as much time as they like. “We’d rather people stay two hours or even come back several times and be satisfied with their purchase.”

Hired for attitude Mattress Mattress hires RSAs based on personality—“Hire for attitude, train for skills,” Fecho says. “We look for very energetic people and most are not from the retail sales field. We’ve hired school principals, social workers, ex-military and an ex-photographer.” (That’s Tim Girard, who took the photos for this story). Fecho herself was a registered nurse before joining the company in 2006. “We’d love to see more young people attracted to this business,” she says, “so when we find a young person with a strong work ethic and the distinct personality we’re looking for—energy, compassion, sense of humor, confidence—we encourage them as much as we can, even if it means working around college schedules.” New RSAs are given 80 hours of initial training and are doing everything the company expects of them within 90 days. Half of the RSAs are women. “Over the years, we’ve noticed that women tend to be very successful and they have higher earnings than men,” Fecho says. “Our average 2-year employee (no shareholders, management or family members included) earned $66,680 in 2009. Our average 2-year female employee earned $73,815 in 2009.”  

SleepSavvy • March 2011

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

A couple of the women from the frontlines serve on a six-person buying committee that makes collective decisions for the company. “They have a stronger fashion sense,” Fecho says. The only disadvantage for women is the “lugging and slugging that everybody has to do.” At Mattress

Mattress, everybody pitches in for loading, cleaning, paperwork...whatever needs doing. Fecho and Chad Buchfink visit the stores on a regular basis—“management by walking around,” as Tom Peters calls it. They keep their sessions with RSAs very positive—concentrating on ways to work with people, for example—and offer good bonuses, including an “idea bonus” for any cost-saving or profit-increasing idea. They make the environment very competitive for the RSAs, comparing weekly results and staging monthly contests called “The Race”—it might be the highest AUSP on queen, most pillows or pads sold, highest hourly

rate of sales, etc. The reward is usually a gift card. An RSA will also get a gift card, plus a letter from management (delivered in person), when a customer sends a compliment. Mattress Mattress uses mystery shoppers to help evaluate their own stores, and “Everybody in our company has to shop the competition to see what they’re doing with customers,” Fecho says. Advertising, mainly on radio and TV, talks about good values but emphasizes what Mattress Mattress does differently. In addition to its thorough Beducation, great locations make the stores convenient, and having the products in inventory lets customers “take it away today”—there are lots of pickup trucks in Alberta, Fecho notes.

Experience 20 minutes that can change Creating experiences your customers your feel compelled to share is what Mike does best... on purpose and business. Your Customer Experience. Let’s face it. In today’s world, a bad customer experience spreads at internet speeds while a great one can dramatically improve your bottom line.

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Whether you’re a newbie or an old pro, this could be the best 20 minutes of “free time” you’ve ever spent. Interested? 770.425.9830 mike@MikeWittenstein.com

30 SleepSavvy • March 2011

Your Authority on Customer Experience

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Mattress Mattress doesn’t do many special sales, but one that works really well is “Bigger is Better”—king size for the price of a queen. “The bigger the bed, the better you sleep” runs for two weeks four times a year. “Our vendors love it because it does great things for our sales,” Fecho says. The company’s corporate website (www.mattressmattress.com) is educational rather than promotional in tone. “Like most retailers, we’re still struggling with the Internet,” Fecho says. “It’s hard to tell what works and what doesn’t. But we don’t put any prices on our site—that’s counter to our whole philosophy. We don’t sell by price, we sell by feel. And no matter how good you are online, most mattress shoppers still need to come into your store to get the right bed.” ●

High Point Furniture Market April 2 - 7, 2011 Pavilions on Main 3 Space M-335 Las Vegas World Market August 1-5, 2011 Building C - 1350 Specialty Sleep Association

Bye-bye comfort exchange

I

n November, Mattress Mattress discontinued its comfort exchange program. “Selling exchanged mattresses has become increasingly difficult,” says Vice President Lori Fecho. “Consumers are spooked by the spread of bedbugs—a mattress that looks clean may still house bugs. Returned mattresses can also harbor allergens such as smoke or pet dander.” But the change hasn’t had any significant effect on sales, she reports. Why? “Since 2007, our return rate is less than one in 300 mattresses—that’s a remarkable number. The reason is that we sell it right in the first place.” Of course, she says, there’s always a time when the only right thing to do is to exchange a mattress. “We’ll always look at it on a case-by-case basis,” says Fecho. “We won’t have a customer stuck with something that’s not right.” Mattress Mattress stopped donating used beds to charities for hygienic reasons several years ago. To offset the loss to organizations in need, the company started a program called “Matts for Kids.” Since 2004, it has donated up to 200 mattresses per year to different groups. “There are no used mattresses ever in our stores or warehouses,” Fecho says, adding that consumer response is positive.”Our customers really appreciate knowing their ‘new’ mattress is definitely new.”

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SleepSavvy • March 2011

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MARKET SCENE

seen & heard in Vegas Upbeat market abounds in new products, programs By Barbara Nelles he bedding industry shook off the winter blahs during the Las Vegas Market in January— showrooms were bustling and a bevy of new product introductions tempted buyers. The World Market Center reported a 7% spike in attendance from a year ago and spirits were high. “This is a very busy market— there’s a real resurgence of demand,” Gold Bond President Bob Naboicheck told Sleep Savvy on day two. “All the majors are here, as well as retailers from up and down the entire East Coast. Retailers are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” There was plenty of news in both innersprings and specialty sleep. New collections and existing lines were beefed up with encased-coil models, new spring unit designs, more and more memory foam and ever “greener” latex. There were some spectacular fabrics in applications and colors not previously seen. Constructions to minimize body impressions and twosided beds got new attention, as did kids’ bedding, adjustable foundations and accessories offering a little something extra. Mattress makers also unveiled some impressive promotions and training tools that make more use of digital technology.

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porting role. Simmons showcased its new Beautyrest Smart Response Pocketed Coil in Beautyrest NXG and the new Beautyrest Elite line—replacing last year’s Bedding was center stage at the opening night party, where exuberant dancers showed their skills on mattresses and the Better Council’s Suite 7 web episodes were screened.

one-sided LFK innerspring with a “live wire” on top for a more flexible, conforming feel to its Kathy Ireland Home by Therapedic beds. It also added a tweaked HourGlass Back Support posture pad to the beds. The collection retails for $599 to $1,999. Serta touted the patented FlexZone premium innerspring system in the Springs are here top beds of the relaunched Perfect Innerspring introductions were stars Sleeper line, providing flexible support this market, many with newly engiwhere the body needs it most. The neered coils. Box springs with coils new Perfect Sleeper line is branded inside and traditional eight-way, the “official mattress of the National hand-tied box springs played a supSleep Foundation” and was designed with input from that organization. It All prices are suggested retails for queen size, unless otherwise noted. features 13 beds priced from $599 to

32 SleepSavvy • March 2011

Anniversary collection. The hybrid NXG line retails for $1,799 to $3,499. The new Elite line has suggested retails of $1,099 to $1,999. Plush mauve and eggplant-hued borders and trim complement white stretch-knit panels with striking patterns. The new Smart Response Pocketed Coil has “dual-action design that functions like two coils to deliver improved motion separation and individualized back support,” said Simmons Brand Director Rolf Sannes. Therapedic added a proprietary

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


$1,299. International Bedding unveiled IB Airsprung, a collection of foamencased innerspring beds licensed by a major British manufacturer. Some beds feature the exclusive Airsprung open-offset innerspring called Duraspring, others feature wrapped coils; the top bed has coil-on-coil construction. The line is manufactured and marketed in the U.S. using “the same unique brand attributes and valued heritage that have made Airsprung one of the most successful bedding producers in the U.K.,” said Dan Hige, IB president and COO. The collection, in an elegant silver and white palette, retails for $499 to $2,999. Sealy rolled out the next-generation Posturepedic, boasting a host of new features including a new titaniumalloy innerspring unit. The bed’s quilt pattern highlights the center third of the mattress, which has proprietary CoreSupport, a reinforced zone to support the heaviest part of the body. Other features include wrap-around LiftRight handles and a no-slip foundation fabric with raised grid to hold the mattress in place. Special display pillows have flap pockets to hold disposable pillow covers. Suggested retails are $599 to $1,499. The new Posturepedic is backed by an “It’s Better on Springs” advertising campaign that includes three light-hearted TV spots. The most risqué shows a succession of reclining, smiling couples exchanging knowing looks and satisfied sighs. “We wanted to make innersprings

International Bedding’s Scott O’Bryant (above) on one of the new Airsprung luxury beds. Simmons’ Rolf Sannes (left) with the new spring in the Smart Response Pocketed Coil system.

relevant again,” said Martha Bass, assistant marketing communications manager, “because there is much going on in those beds…” Restonic extended its ComfortCare line with ComfortCare Select, which has Marshall coils and the group’s zoned, patented “Marvelous Middle.” Rich fabrics, specialty foams and micro-coils in the upper price points combine to make these a special value for retailers, with suggested retails from $699 to $1,999. Mattress Development Co., owner of the Eclipse and Eastman House brands, added two new innerspring beds to fill top slots in the Ernest Hemingway Collection. At retails of $3,500 and $3,999, the beds are hand-tufted and packed with premium components such as Talalay latex, Englander’s Kevin Toman with the HealthWedge foundation that elevates the head of the bed.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

organic wool and pima cotton, highcoil-count encased coils and a tri-level steel edge support. Eastman House focused on its new Burgundy collection, which features coil-on-coil construction with encased coils, a coil box spring and linen upholstery fabrics. It retails for $999 to $2,999. Licensing group Englander introduced a new, national Tension Ease collection, a three-bed line with wrapped coils, foam encasement and comfort layers of visco-elastic or latex. Prices are $799, $899 and $999. Englander also showed the new HealthWedge foundation, an angled box spring that slightly elevates the head and trunk to provide relief to acid-reflux sufferers. The foundation is sold separately for $150.

Surface interest Body impressions were tackled headon with new product engineering and messaging. And some companies rolled out mattress collections with more than one sleep surface. Comfort Solutions revamped and created a new tag line for its sturdy Extended Life brand of mattresses: “The No Sag Mattress.” The collection retails for $1,099 to $2,999. SleepSavvy • March 2011

33


MARKET SCENE

seen & heard in Vegas

Serta’s Kelly Ellis with the new iComfort line, featuring an unusual gel-infused foam.

“What we’re saying with Extended Life is ‘this is a bed that won’t leave a bad impression’,” said Owen Shoemaker, senior vice president. “Too many consumers have had bad experiences—it’s to the point they come into stores saying, ‘I don’t want a pillow-top’.” Comfort Solutions also rolled out a two-sided design, the Advantage. The three-model innerspring line retails for $799 to $1,499. “Our research showed that 46% of mattress shoppers think they’ve pur-

chased a two-sided bed, but haven’t,” Shoemaker said. “When shown a one-sided and a two-sided model, 74% say they would prefer to own a two-sided bed. We think the public likes the idea of the ‘fresh side’ of the bed, and with our Dual Seasons cover option, you can sleep on a cozier fabric in winter.” Diamond Mattress declared war on body impressions, building beds with a surface that survives extended wear intact—guaranteed—said Vice President Sean Pennington. The West Coast-based, fourth-generation family business made its Vegas market debut, claiming it’s primed for growth and moving beyond its roots as a regional manufacturer. Diamond’s two new specialty sleep collections offer “Direct Contact” technology, which puts stretch knit covers directly over high-performance foams—no pillowtops. Cool Touch retails for $799 to $1,899 and has layers of open-cell memory foam over Certi-PUR-UScertified base foam; hybrid beds have encased-coils and foam. New Ethos beds have a Talalay latex core or a combination of Talalay over polyurethane foam, or are hybrids

One of the new beds in Comfort Solutions’ Laura Ashley collection, in a popular plum color palette.

with encased coils. They retail for $999 to $2,999. Park Place spotlighted the new two-sided Legacy program. The rich-looking beds retail for $399 to $899. Top beds feature visco-elastic comfort layers. At Gold Bond, two Sacro-Support Encased Coil beds joined the company’s two-sided collection. The new beds retail for $799 and $899 and offer edge-to-edge support, with a border rod affixed to each encased coil. They sit on coil box spring units.

Digital marketing tools for fun, education

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n marketing promotions and sales training, mattress makers are beginning to work the mobile web, social media and other digital tools like pros. There are also signs of a new marketing transparency to accommodate today’s always-online, comparison-shopping consumer. Incentives, information sharing, education and trivia questions are all part of Simmons’ playful, online “Beautyrest Pocketed Coil Club” for retail sales associates. It’s a social network with tiered membership based on the total number of pocketed coils in the mattresses a sales associate sells. Sealy looked for ways to promote the launch of its new Posturepedic line and new tag, “Whatever you do in bed, Sealy supports it.” As part of the fun, a new application for Android and iPhone allows users to photograph and frame anything and add the words “in bed.” Restonic rolled out web-based programs target-

34 SleepSavvy • March 2011

ing specific audiences—from licensees to consumers. It enhanced a LinkedIn group for licensees, built new content into its Restonic4Retail Twitter account and launched a “Supporting Your Dreams” contest for consumers. “We are inviting consumers to submit their dreams in written or video format,” said President Ron Passaglia. “The grand prize winner will have the opportunity to build the mattress of their dreams at one of our plants.” Therapedic added QR codes to Kathy Ireland Home mattress labels. “When you swipe the code it takes you to a welcome video with Kathy Ireland,” said Gerry Borreggine, president and CEO. “It’s as though our products can talk. We’re doing things to catch consumers’ attention and help retailers distinguish our products on their floor.” As part of its “Incredible Support” initiative for dealers,

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


MARKET SCENE

seen & heard in Vegas Foam…naturally As always, memory-foam collections and formulations made news. On the latex front, more makers added beds with 100% natural latex cores. Foam beds sported an array of new cuts, contours and customization options. Serta introduced the iComfort Sleep System, an unusual “gel-infused memory foam” series designed to give retailers a fresh story on foam. The four beds feature textural knit fabrics with angled cut-and-sewn corner treatments for tailored visual appeal. Suggested retails are $1,299 to $2,499. Tempur-Pedic introduced the Contour Collection, which replaces three firm- to medium-firm beds in its previous line-up. The beds have new fabrics with greater stretch and new border styling. They retail for $1,799, $2,399 and $2999. MEGA Group USA added specialty beds to its exclusive Paula Deen Home by Serta collection, successfully launched in 2010. The new beds have three core styles—memory foam, latex and a combination of the two, and retail for $799 to $1,499. Luxury foam bed maker Magniflex redesigned its Naturally Magniflex

line to make it more appealing to North American consumers, said Stefano Marescotti, chain development manager. The beds have zippered knit covers and provide “the supportive feel of latex” via the zoned, visco-elastic Geofoam core made with soy-based content. The mattresses offer “duo-core technology”—they are two-sided with a softer and a firmer side, and retail for $1,100 to $3,400. EcoSleep concentrated on filling in upper price points with three new beds—Plus, Luxe and Slumber— with 13-, 10-, and 8-inch profiles, respectively. Retail pricing is $999 to $1,499. The ticking is a four-way stretch knit containing Lenzing’s Tencel yarns. Boyd Specialty Sleep added four beds to the Natural Flex collection. Natural Flex Ultra has a higher profile with more luxurious fabrics and foams. The dramatically quilted covers have cashmere, natural cotton and Lyocell by Lenzing yarns. The bed’s foam layers, which include Talalay latex, engineered latex and a tri-zoned “FoamSpring” base, all have extra breathabil-

Anatomic Global previewed an app for tablet computers that puts support materials for its Comfort by Design product line right at RSAs’ fingertips. Kingsdown showcased an iPad app and other interactive tools to assist at retail—in addition to its bedMATCH in-store diagnostic technology, which can now be enabled to make recommendations across a retailer’s entire product line, regardless of brand. “We are finding ways to improve sleep by making the diagnostic system available to all manufacturers,” said Frank Hood, president of Kingsdown’s Sleep to Live Institute. “Our research shows that lying down on multiple beds is about as helpful as a coin toss when it comes to choosing the correct comfort level.” Spring Air enhanced access to training information and its Passport mattress selection tool by adding an iPad app and hosting all resources online. “This is cool stuff designed to educate people,” said

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

ity due to special “channel venting” contours. They retail for $1,499 to $2,999. Natura World added Natura Organics, a group of seven mattresses made with organic cotton and wool, coconut coir, all-natural Talalay latex and certified organic Dunlop latex cores with seven zones. Two top beds have seven pounds of organic wool, silk and cashmere plus the company’s dual-comfort technology. The top mattress also has Natura’s signature wooden-slat core system. Retails are $1,999 to $5,350. “These beds feel awesome—and oh, by the way, they’re organic,” said President Ralph Rossdeutscher. Italy’s Sleep On Green made its Las Vegas debut with an all-natural mattress constructed of zoned layers of 100% natural latex, coconut coir, and natural wool and organic cotton fiber. The bed retails for $5,800 with a slatted wood base. Pure LatexBliss added the “World’s Best Bed” to the top of its line. The initial offering features more latex than any other model and retails for Rick Robinson shows off Spring Air’s new iPad apps.

President Rick Robinson. “We’ve taken CSI to a handheld app. Consumers can download apps at home. Trainers can take iPads loaded with our apps on the road. Retailers can drop in their own bed assortment, customize screens and videos to their stores and project them onto digital displays.”

SleepSavvy • March 2011

35


MARKET SCENE

seen & heard in Vegas

Kingsdown’s Bob Hellyer with the revitalized Kingsdown collection, featuring fabrics befitting royalty.

$4,499. The company also added a new line of all-natural latex beds, retailing for $2,599 to $4,299

Fabric ‘wows’ The days of all white-on-white beds seem to be coming to an end. Vegas introductions showed more use of dramatic accent colors, upholstery-grade fabrics, nifty knit patterns and embroidery. The hottest look in specialty sleep is unquilted knits with four-way stretch. At Kingsdown, ladies-in-waiting ushered visitors into a regally appointed new permanent showroom. The company has redefined itself as a “portfolio of brands,” which includes a revitalized Kingsdown, My Side certified by Sleep to Live, Sleeping Beauty and a new-generation diagnostic system called bedMATCH powered by Sleep to Live. Most eye-catching were three new Kingsdown collections— King’s, Crown and Royal—with lush upholstery fabric borders. Some models sport gold embroidery on burgundy velvet borders, coupled with thick quilted panels with large gold medallions and button tufts. Other beds feature heritage-style damask borders in rich colors. The top of the King’s

36 SleepSavvy • March 2011

Collection features coil-on-coil construction, double tufting and quilting. The Crown Collection includes all-foam models and tri-zoned innersprings. Each bed has zoned specialty foams with enhanced lumbar support. The Royal Collection has wrapped coils and Omalon foam comfort layers. The new beds open at $1,299 and top out at $13,999. “We have brought the Kingsdown name back full force,” said President Bob Hellyer. “These are the first new Kingsdown collections in two years.” The redesigned Restonic HealthRest collection is a textural delight. The group of all-foam and hybrid beds, retailing for $799 to $2,499, has quilted and unquilted panels with popcorn texturing and contrasting brown upholstery fabric borders with a nubby honeycomb appearance. Sumptuous fabrics are always part of the story at E.S. Kluft & Co. The ultra-premium mattress manufacturer added a new colorway to the upholstery-grade fabrics adorning the Aireloom Preferred Collection. The Madeleine Bed has a French-country appeal with its gingham check pattern in pastel blue. Inside are 40 pounds of cotton in roll-edged, side-stitched and inner-tufted borders, all atop an eightway, hand-tied box spring. Retails are $4,000, $5,000 and $6,000. At Comfort Solutions, Laura Ashley spotlighted a new brand position, “Beautiful and Smart,” as well as new fabrics in fashion-forward shades of “mimosa, ocean, plum, steel and blush.” The 12-bed collection retails for $699 to $2,199.

Adjustables rising Mattress makers are upping the emphasis on adjustable bases and building more adjustable-compatible mattresses. Vivon Life introduced the Vivon Prestige adjustable bed with all of the moving parts integrated into the mattress itself, plus a fully integrated

massage system in partnership with Brookstone. The core is BioSense foam with part bio-based content as well as green tea and charcoal. The all-in-one adjustable mattress is available in three models priced from $949 to $1,299. There are five Brookstone massage modalities and six motors in the queen size. Serta showed a new Ergomotion adjustable base with its gel-infused iComfort foam beds. The $1,500 base features massage and is attached to the mattress via Serta’s patented zipper system at the foot of the bed, said Johnny Griggs, Ergomotion vice president of sales. “Retailers love walking up and seeing it’s adjustable but there’s no chrome bar, just a hidden zipper.” Reverie introduced the high-end Comfort Sleep System with a core of patented latex cylinders that are colorcoded, zoned and re-arrangeable. It works especially well with any of the company’s adjustable bases and has a long life as both the zippered cover and the core cylinders are replaceable. The bed retails for $4,000. “This is a new and different product for specialty sleep retailers,” said General Manager Patti Ark. “The adjustability (of both core and base) can make it perfect for pregnancy, for those with shoulder, hip or back issues or for post-surgery—for any number of conditions.” At E.S. Kluft & Co., the new Luxury Latex collection, which retails for $3,500 to $5,000, has a “more pliable, conforming European Dunlopprocess latex core” designed to work well with adjustable bases, said President Earl Kluft. “There has been a real outcry for adjustable-friendly mattresses with a clean look that doesn’t buckle as they bend.” Tempur-Pedic rolled out a new ad campaign promoting its Advanced Ergo Adjustable base, which retails for $1,700 in queen, and is designed to handle the heaviest mattresses, said Kaci Prunty, retail marketing manager. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


MARKET SCENE

seen & heard in Vegas

Kids’ stuff gets more play

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South Bay International’s Peter Tarquinio with the charcoal-infused memory foam pillow.

Hollandia and Therapedic continue to partner on the introduction of high-end, designer adjustable bed sets. The new iLight bed adds ambiance to the bedroom with its built-in LED lighting and sits on a Platinum-Luxe adjustable base. It retails for about $18,000.

Accessories with extras Consumers’ growing concerns about bed bugs, allergens and germs are a key inspiration for new accessories with unusual attributes. South Bay International introduced a memory foam pillow in a charcoal color because it contains charcoal from bamboo wood, which helps the pillow absorb moisture, purify the air and prevent bacterial growth. It retails for $130. Leggett & Platt Consumer Products Group addressed germs with its new SilverShell Antimicrobial Mattress Protector. It retails for about $100 and contains safe silver chemistry—MicroSilver BG—which is used in many other consumer goods including skincare. The cover’s antimicrobial technology protects beds from 99.97% of bacterial, mold and mildew growth, even after repeated washings, said Herman Tam, group vice president of sales and marketing. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

roducts for infants and youth continued to get new attention in Las Vegas mattress showrooms. Could there be a correlation with the number of baby boomer grandparents? Ironkids beds debuted at T3 Recovery Products. Priced at $299 and $329, the beds feature layers of latex or viscoelastic and cores of polyurethane with plant-based content. The knit covers have kid-pleasing designs and carbon threads with a “tension relief” promise. Glideaway added vibrant tangerine and lime velour versions to its Sleepharmony Jubilee children’s collection. The mattress retails for $249 in twin and $349 in full and comes with matching pillow. Cores are three-pound memory foam over a high-density foam core. Organic Mattresses Inc. introduced a youth mattress retailing for $995 in Glideaway’s colorful Sleepharmony twin (mattress only). The core is Dunlop- Jubilee collection for kids process latex that meets the agricultural standard of “certified organic latex sap,” said President and CEO Walt Bader. (A new adult-size bed, Cascade, incorporates the same latex core and, at $2,795, represents a new opening price point for OMI.) South Bay International showed a new Viscokidz bed. It’s a memory foam mattress with a zip-off “sleeping bag pillow-top”—washable and portable—in vividly colored velour. A twin mattress retails for $399. Naturepedic launched a line of “allergen-free” youth mattresses with steel innersprings and organic cotton fill and fabric. The natural bedding producer also offers waterproofing that meets “food-contact standards.” Retail pricing opens at $699 in twin. All Naturepedic products are domestically made by Amish craftsmen.

MEGA Group USA has a line of mattress protectors with custom display unit under the private label DreamHaven, manufactured for them by Fabrictech. The line ranges from basic protection to total encasement, priced from $69 to $129 retail. The Fabrictech showroom put the focus on new PureCare Celliant, a mattress- and pillow-protector line containing performance fiber Celliant, which is said to increase oxygen levels and aid rest and recovery. A five-sided protector retails for $119; pillow covers are $29. CKI Solutions offered its Back To School Survival Kit retailing for $149 in twin XL. It includes a pil-

low encasement, quilted mattress topper and choice of a five-sided waterproof topper or total encasement. The ActiveGuard Bed Bug Mattress Liner, formerly sold only through pest exterminators, retails for $114.95 and kills bedbugs and dust mites for 24 months. Natura added a gel pillow under the Sharper Image brand. It features layers of OrthoGel and memory foam and retails for $149. Naturepedic unveiled new pillows and mattress toppers with organic cotton covers and organic cotton fill or washable, biodegradable polyactic acid fiber-fill, derived from corn. The pillow retails for $49, the topper for $159. ● SleepSavvy • March 2011

37


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CONSUMER CHECK profiling your customer

11 consumer trends worth watching in 2011

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hat will consumers be thinking about, doing and buying this year? One of the world’s leading market research firms, London-based Trendwatching.com, points to these 11 hot consumer trends.

1

Random acts of kindness The drawn-out recession has worn people down and they’re looking for anything that makes them feel better, according to Trendwatching.com. Companies that exude thoughtfulness and generosity meet that need for an emotional lift. Consumers’ cravings for realness, for the human touch, ensure that everything from companies randomly picking up the tab to sending a surprise gift will be one of the most effective ways to connect with potential customers in 2011. And social media, which allows companies to follow what’s going on in customers’ lives, makes spreading acts of kindness easier. For example, Dutch airline KLM used Foursquare to give passengers gifts at the airport. As soon as someone checked in at a KLM Foursquare location, a KLM Surprise Team went online to find more background information about the person, decided on a suitable gift and gave it to them before they flew.

out that 3 billion people worldwide live in urban areas and that number is growing. “Urban consumers tend to be more daring, more liberal, more tolerant, more experienced, more prone to trying out new products and services,” according to the report. “In 2011, go for products, services, experiences or campaigns that tailor to the very specific—and often more refined, more experienced—needs of urbanites worldwide, if not city by city.”

3

Pricing pandemonium Consumer demand for good deals, special offers and discounts is still on the rise. And with more consumers constantly con-

nected, they can quickly find deals and compare prices—then spread the news through their social networks. “Always-on connectivity is changing consumer spending habits in myriad ways. For example, coupon clipping required planning and dedication, hence wasn’t that popular with consumers…but now is a near-effortless online activity. Furthermore, whipping out one’s smartphone at the counter, getting the latest deal via GPS or barcode scanning is…a source of status rather than shame,” the report says. Specific sub-trends to watch: the rise of buying groups, frequent ‘member-only’ and ‘flash’ sales, hyper-local discounts and an increase in dynamic pricing.

2

‘Urbanomics’ “Urbanization remains one of the absolute mega trends for the coming decade,” Trendwatching.com says, pointing

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • March 2011

39


CONSUMER CHECK

profiling your customer

4

Made for China “In 2011, expect an increasing number of Western brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated to consumers in emerging markets,” the report says. “After all, it’s where the money is right now and Western brands are still favored over local ones, so the combination of perceived quality with a bit of local tailoring or exclusivity makes total sense.” For example, GM is among the car companies introducing less expensive brands in China to meet the needs of emerging-market consumers who have well-formed desires but less money to spend.

5

Online status symbols “Online culture still is the culture and thus we’ll see a rise in online status symbols in 2011,” according to Trendwatching.com. “What started with showing off the number of visitors to one’s Flickr pages or blog now encompasses the number of one’s Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Foursquare check-ins and a host of other metrics that indicate one’s ‘wiredness’.” One new extension of the trend—status symbols that straddle the “real”

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and online worlds. For instance, Twournal allows Twitter users to transform their tweets and pictures into a physical, published journal.

6

‘Wellthy’ Here’s a big one for the mattress business: “Growing numbers of consumers will expect health products and services in 2011 to prevent misery—if not improve their quality of life—rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments,” Trendwatching.com says. “The ‘consumerization’ of health means that more consumers will choose products with embedded health benefits.” One example the reports cites is Sleep On It, a mobile app that allows users to track their sleeping patterns. “The free tool can determine what factors may be affecting their sleep and how much sleep they need each night to feel rested and energized.”

7

‘Social-lites’ This trend is “all about discovery, as consumers become curators—actively broadcasting, remixing, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases and experiences to both their friends and

wider audiences,” Trendwatching. com says. In 2011, a social media strategy is critical for companies. Consumers will be talking about brands even more—and you’ll want to make sure your company has something (good!) worth talking about.

8

Emerging generosity “In 2011, brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets will increasingly be expected to ‘give and care’ versus just ‘sell and take.’ And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale,” Trendwatching. com predicts. For instance, the report says, 86% of global consumers believe that businesses need to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business interests. And some eight in 10 consumers in Brazil, China, India and Mexico expect brands to donate a portion of their profits to support good causes.

9

Planned spontaneity “With lifestyles having become fragmented, with dense urban environments offering consumers any number of instantly available options, and with smart phones having created a genera-

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CONSUMER CHECK

profiling your customer tion who have little experience of making (or sticking to) rigid plans, 2011 will see full-on planned spontaneity,” Trendwatching.com predicts. “Expect to see consumers in 2011 rushing to sign up for services—the ‘planned’ part—that allow for endless and almost effortless mass mingling with friends, family, colleagues or strangers-whomay-become-friends-or-dates—the ‘spontaneity’ part.”

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Eco-superior “When it comes to ‘green’ consumption in 2011, expect a rise in products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way,” the

report says. That means products that are eco-friendly but that also offer superior functionality, superior design and superior savings. Why? “The number of consumers actively seeking out green products is reaching a plateau as mainstream consumers start to question the value and efficiency of going green,” according to Trendwatching.com. That means companies need to do more to appeal to eco-skeptical and financially strapped consumers.

Consumer categories getting in on the trend range from cars to clothing to textbooks. “For consumers, the appeal is obvious,” Trendwatching. com says. “Fractional-ownership and leasing-lifestyle businesses offer the possibility of perpetual upgrades to the latest and greatest, the ability to maximize the number and variety of experiences, and allow consumers to access otherwise out-of-reach luxuries.” ●

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Owner-less This could be the year when the concepts of sharing and renting—instead of owning—go mainstream.

To read more about these trends and to sign up for alerts and reports from research group Trendwatching.com, check www.trendwatching.com/briefing.

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SleepSavvy • March 2011

41


H IGH POI NT MARK ET

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BE MY GUEST by Dan Hill

Leading with price will kill your advertising, your branded offers—and maybe your company Nowhere in marketing today do emotions run hotter than in advertising that highlights the role of low prices. One can imagine what’s being said in boardrooms everywhere: “We need to make some money fast, so let’s lower our prices and let everybody know.” But the thing is...it’s a bad idea to lead with price in advertising. Here are seven reasons why it’s the wrong thing to do:

1. Discounting—especially

repeatedly—isn’t sustainable. One of the key advantages of a sale is the element of surprise. How does surprise register on people’s faces? Their eyes go wide and their mouths fall open—it’s nature’s way of saying shut up and notice the world around you. In advertising, surprise aids stopping power. But surprise fades when you use the reduced-price trick repeatedly. Surprise is really a pre-emotion. It’s brief—less than a second long— and it’s followed by a verdict: either a positive “Wow!” or a negative “Yikes!” Repetitive low pricing leads to expectations of future low prices, desensitization and the impossibility of creating a “Wow” response.

2. Shopper research has shown that

seeing any price tag causes disgust. Instinctively, people don’t like giving up their money. So creating more delight and generating allure that exceeds feelings of dis-

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gust about surrendering cash are what make a positive purchasing experience. The problem is that a low-price strategy isn’t about the offer’s intrinsic value. It’s merely a desperate attempt to lower people’s disgust levels. But ultimately, because of desensitization, it’s a losing game.

3. Price ushers people from right-brain emotional involvement to left-brain analysis. Prices are numbers and statistics. Given that everyone feels before they think, that’s a bad tradeoff. Results from management consulting company IPA’s database of 880 marketing campaigns has found that emotion-oriented campaigns generate twice as much profitability as traditional, hard-sell, reason-oriented campaigns. 4. Price-leading advertising creates

quality problems for the offer. Let’s consider the “value=quality/price” equation. Here, price at least gives the illusion of being a benchmark for inferring the quality of the offer. So what will a lower price do? It might shape perceptions that the floating, undetermined quality of the new offer is quite low or that a previous offer was never worth what people had been paying. Put another way, cheap doesn’t feel good.

5. Encouraging a rational approach

to purchasing can have disastrous unintended consequences. That’s because, contrary to popular opinion, our emotions provide valuable insight. Our emotions steer us. A conservative estimate is that SleepSavvy • March 2011

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BE MY GUEST by Dan Hill

company loses twice over. Current customers pay less for goods they were already buying—and may not buy again at full price. As for new customers who bought because of a deal, their loyalty is less real than the profit margin sacrificed.

95% of people’s thought activity isn’t fully conscious and hence is intuitive and operating in the realm of emotion.

6. Brand loyalty is at risk

because pride takes a hit. Loyalty is a feeling. And how are loyal customers supposed to feel when they see the price is lower for everyone, not just for them? Or lower for new customers than for them? The

44 SleepSavvy • March 2011

7. A brand on sale is a brand with an integrity problem. A key way we judge the trustworthiness of others and companies is the degree to which they behave consistently. With price-leading advertising, a company’s identity becomes fuzzy. Suddenly, you are either a discount brand or you’re signaling a lack of confidence—in business as in dating, that is not attractive. Leading with price suggests you have nothing else to say or show in

your advertising. Price as your main attribute doesn’t mean anything. So the marketing battle is fought in terms of price and distribution. Loyalty ceases to be a barrier to entry. Surprise, hope—and every other positive emotional dynamic required to engage the customer— comes crashing down. ● Dan Hill is the founding president of the research firm Sensory Logic Inc. and the author of Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success. The points in this column are drawn from his new book, About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising. You can reach Dan by email at dhill@sensorylogic.com or visit www.sensorylogic.com.

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CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris

Don’t fight human nature—use it! “There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.” —Warren Buffett mmm. I wonder if Warren was referring to selling mattresses? There are few consumer products simpler than mattresses, yet selling and buying them are considered by many to be challenging endeavors. The culprit may just be human nature itself. Let’s take a look at how some traits may be influencing our industry, customers, RSAs and the selling process, along with some suggestions on how we can use human nature to everyone’s benefit. In general, most people tend to: ● Desire association. Good news for retailers. In spite of the growing e-commerce market, people still prefer being with and buying from other people. While defensive at first, most shoppers will open up to RSAs who approach them in a friendly, conversational manner. And for RSAs, this is a trait that makes selling mattresses an enjoyable career. Every day offers new opportunities to meet and interact with others. ● Be skeptical. Deep discounts may swing the door, but most shoppers either don’t believe that retailers ever sell mattresses at the “real” price or, if they do, believe they are taking some customers to the cleaners. Both perpetuate mistrust and do damage to our industry. ● Like recognition. RSAs should always introduce themselves. Then ask for, remember and use shoppers’ names. ● Be family-minded. Mattress shoppers focus on solving the problem at hand and seldom consider other

H

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needs. RSAs should always ask about the condition of other family members’ mattresses. ● Respond to enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious. Being truly excited about the opportunity to help someone only comes from the personal experience of sleeping on a quality bed and wanting others to experience the same benefits. It’s important not to use a canned presentation. ● Want acceptance. People do care what others think, which explains why many customers are self-conscious when they lie down on a mattress. Privacy allows them to focus on how they feel on the mattress rather than how they look. To get acceptance, RSAs often take shoppers to beds they have become most successful in selling, rather than risking rejection by showing expensive mattresses. It’s important to remember that every shopper needs the opportunity to find the bed that best suits her needs. ● Want validation. When people are faced with multiple choices, like deciding which mattress to select, having an expert’s reassurance can give them confidence to buy. RSAs should congratulate their customers for making a wise choice. ● Want control. Unfortunately,

many mattress shoppers tend to be guarded and defensive because they expect RSAs to be pushy and manipulative. Using a rigid selling process comes off as manipulative. Instead, RSAs should use relational selling and “guided discovery.” ● Be curious. Informing people how mattresses can improve almost every aspect of their lives can engage their imagination and switch their motivation for buying from a need to a want. ● Want security. This is why warranties are important to people. Unfortunately, they give a false sense of security that tends to make people keep their mattresses too long. RSAs must explain that warranties only cover defects and not the normal wearing-out process. ● Like simplicity. Shoppers are more interested in what products do for them than how, as this anecdote illustrates: After hearing a detailed explanation of all the inner workings of a stove, a little old lady tells the salesman, “I just wanted to know if it would keep me warm.” Benefits—not features. Take time to look at these and other human characteristics, examine them from the perspective of both buyer and seller, and then use common sense—my favorite human trait. ● Gerry Morris is an author, consultant, training coach and member of the National Speakers Association. With more than 20 years’ experience in the mattress industry, Gerry has helped manufacturers, retailers and RSAs around the world increase their sales. To find out what Gerry can do for your company, call him at 903-456-2015, email gmorris@innerspring.net or visit www.innerspring.net. SleepSavvy • March 2011

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Sleep Savvy March 2011  

The magazine for sleep products professionals

Sleep Savvy March 2011  

The magazine for sleep products professionals