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SleepSavvy

November/December 2011

The magazine for sleep products professionals

The cover story

Creating compelling content for your website How to pre-sell your customers before they walk through the door

RETAIL ROAD TRIP

Upscale experience, value spell success for Northwest Sleep Solutions BE MY GUEST

RSA silence is deadly WHAT’S NEW

Anti-bedbug products for mattress customers


IN THIS ISSUE where to find it

14

THE COVER STORY

creating compelling content for your website A compelling website that engages and educates can pre-sell your customers before they walk though the door. Web design and video production pro Ted Page offers a dozen proven tips on making your site a standout.

3

WAKE UP CALL

5

SNOOZE NEWS

25

from the editor’s desk

Sleep Savvy’s Nancy Butler is retiring as editor in chief, but leaving the magazine in capable, creative hands. Meet the new team.

stuff you can use

U.K. study eyes the future of the sleep environment; results of bedbug poll among RSAs; the seven laws of social media; putting customers on hold doesn’t have to put them to sleep; 12 top lessons from Steve Jobs; sales rose 12.3% in August; ISPA releases revised sales forecast; sleep a major victim of data overload; undisturbed sleep vital for memory...and more.

BACK TALK supporting customer dreams

Holiday guest bed buyers not your most profitable? Here’s some advice on stepping them up to better bedding.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

27 31 33

WHAT’S NEW for stores like yours

A special spotlight on anti-bedbug products that can help your mattress customers establish an important line of defense.

BE MY GUEST by Bob Phibbs

This retailing specialist shares his latest personal experience with RSAs that don’t even bother to greet customers, much less serve them.

CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris The three basic pieces of information you’ll need to know to match your customers with the right mattress.

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene Northwest Sleep Solutions in Bellingham, WA, combines a boutique-like environment with “straight up” pricing to score success in a competitive market.

SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

1


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SleepSavvy The magazine for sleep products professionals

Editor in Chief Nancy Butler 828-299-7420 nbutler@sleepproducts.org Associate Editor Barbara Nelles 336-856-8973 bnelles@sleepproducts.org Contributors Gerry Morris Tom Harnish Ted Page Bob Phibbs Creative Director Stephanie Belcher The Jimmydog Design Group Vice President of Advertising Sales Kerri Bellias 336-945-0265 kbellias@sleepproducts.org Advertising Production Manager Debbie Robbins 571-482-5443 drobbins@sleepproducts.org Circulation Manager Mary Rulli 336-491-0443 mrulli@sleepproducts.org Copy Editor Margaret Talley-Seijn

WAKE UP CALL from the editor

I’m leaving the best job I’ve ever had

T

en years ago, I was offered the chance to create the business plan and become the editor for a retailertargeted magazine to be published by the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) and its Better Sleep Council (BSC) consumer awareness program. I jumped at it! There could not have been a better job for me—or one that would be more fun. I’d spent the first 20 years of my communications career with ISPA and had put in six years with Furniture/Today and Home Accents Today. Being editor in chief of Sleep Savvy was my dream job, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. But now I’ve decided it’s the right time for me to follow another dream. In October, I turned 65 and, at the end of the year, I am retiring. It’s hard to believe I’m writing this, but this issue of Sleep Savvy is my last.

Vol. 10, No. 8 ISSN 1538-702X Sleep Savvy is published 8 times a year by the International Sleep Products Association, 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, Virginia 22314-1917. Phone 703-683-8371. Fax 703-683-4503. Website: www.sleepsavvymagazine.com. Advertising services: 1613 Country Club Dr., Reidsville, North Carolina 27320. Phone 571-482-5443. Fax 703-683-4503. Please send subscription orders and changes to: Sleep Savvy, P.O. Box 4678, Archdale, North Carolina 27263 or fax 703-683-4503. Subscription policy & rates Retailers: All U.S. retailers qualify for free subscriptions, up to 5 per location. In Canada, $10 per year; all other countries, $30. Manufacturers, suppliers and others: ISPA member company personnel qualify for complimentary subscriptions, subject to restrictions. Nonmembers and others: $30 U.S., $40 non-U.S. ©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

Two pros taking the helm I’m tempted to tell you it’ll take two people to fill my size 6 shoes, but in reality, the publications team at ISPA is being restructured, putting two real pros in charge of both Sleep Savvy and BedTimes, its sister publication for mattress manufacturing. Julie Palm, BedTimes’ editor in chief, is assuming the top position for both. Mary Best, a magazine publishing veteran, has been hired as the managing editor for both magazines, a new position. I’m really tickled pink about the new team. Julie has been in charge of BedTimes for the past seven years and has made it the best bedding industry magazine ever. Packed with information to engage and educate manufacturers and their suppliers, BedTimes lives up to its 95-year-old reputation

as the “bible of the bedding industry” more than ever. Julie’s 20-year career has also included directing the publications program for Wake Forest University’s Badcock Graduate School of Management, as well as a stint as product editor for Home Accents Today. Mary Best was editor of special supplements for Furniture/Today in the mid-1990s. While there, she launched a lively and popular monthly tabloid called Retail Ideas, which I had the privilege of contributing to. Retail Ideas, which no longer exists, ultimately became my inspiration for Sleep Savvy—which makes Mary uniquely qualified for this team. Mary has a total of 25 years of publishing experience, including editor in chief of Our State, the premier travel and culture magazine in North Carolina. In addition, Barbara Nelles continues in her critical role as Sleep Savvy associate editor, a title she also holds for BedTimes. Among her many talents, Barbara is an exceptional writer and researcher, with a strong background in marketing and a real love for the complex world of digital and social media. It’ll be hard for me to leave my dream job—and the industry I’ve worked with for 35 years—but I could not be leaving Sleep Savvy in better, more capable, more creative hands. So, you’ll excuse me while I go take a nice, long…zzzzzzzzz.

nbutler@sleepproducts.org SleepSavvy •November/December 2011

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SNOOZE NEWS stuff you can use

The future of sleep:

Intelligent PJs & interactive dreams? Two decades from now, we’ll still need eight hours of sleep a night, but our sleep environments will be decidedly high tech, according to British futurologist Ian Pearson, who spent six months thinking about the impact of technology on sleep and how that might reshape bedrooms and hotel rooms of the future for U.K. hotel chain Travelodge. “On average, we spend a third of our lives asleep and this will still be the case in 2030,” Pearson says. “Technology will not change our basic need to slumber but it will certainly enhance the experience, enabling sleep to have much greater value than merely rest and recuperation.” Among Pearson’s predictions from the “Travelodge Future of Sleep” study: ● Dream management systems will allow sleepers to replay favorite dreams, just like choosing a movie. We’ll also be able to link to dreams of our friends and family to enjoy a shared experience. ● Intelligent sleepwear and bed linens will be able to produce smells or gently massage sleepers, playing a role in making dreams seem real. By 2030, sleepwear also will feature electro-responsive fabrics to measure stress and relaxation rates, pulse, blood pressure and heart signals. (Maybe mattresses, too?) ● “Active” contact lenses will allow sleepers to watch TV or movies or check emails as they fall asleep. The lenses will deliver high-quality 3D images directly to the retina. ● Sleep-cycle alarms will monitor the electrical activity in the brain and identify the best time for a sleeper to wake up, ensuring her sleep cycle is complete. Read more about the study at www.travelodge.co.uk.

Zits

Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all,

is a form of planning.

— Gloria Steinem

“Zits” used with the permission of the Zits Partnership, King Features and the Cartoonist Group. All rights reserved.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

How to Sleep So Deep

7 laws of social media Daniel Morell, managing director of InSync Market­ing, a social media firm in Andover, England, has compiled this list of social media laws to share with his clients:

1 2

The law of listening. Social media is a twoway conver­sation. Listen first; speak second. Companies increase profits and productivity by listening to what people have to say and responding based on customer wants. It’s an outside-in, rather than inside-out, approach.

3 4 5

 he law of talent. “All talk and no walk” fails T in the world of social media. You can’t rely on clever marketing. Your product has to be good and your service has to be great.  he law of action. To borrow from Nike, “Just T do it!” Busi­nesses that do best in social media are the ones that are constantly getting involved, responding quickly and implementing changes based on customer feedback.

Reader reminder:

FREE videos for retailers

The law of candor. Honesty is the best policy. Trying to be a perfectionist will do you more harm than good. No company is perfect. Admit your faults, be honest when things go wrong and allow negative feedback about the company to stay up on social media sites.

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 he law of giving. The businesses that do T best in the world of social media are ones that give useful, valuable things—not pushy sales messages—to people.

A

new online book, written by lifestyle consultants Lou and Bruce Stewart, offers a wealth of natural, drugfree approaches to getting a good night’s sleep. Simple relaxation techniques and behavioral changes are the focus of Sleep So Deep: A Guide to Creating the Best Rest of Your Life—and buying a new mattress is on the list. The industry-sponsored Better Sleep Council and Sleep Savvy Editor in Chief Nancy Butler—contributed to Chapter 8: Creating a Restful Bedroom. Learn more at www.sleepsodeep.com.

 he law of unity. Unite and conquer. Social T media is about connections and groups. Your focus should be on developing a culture and community around your company and products.

The law of greater purpose. Businesses that are purely driven by the bottom line can’t survive in the social me­dia realm. Making money is always a primary objective, but it’s important that your company convey a greater purpose, cause and culture.

6 SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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etter Sleep Council (BSC) spokeswoman Lissa Coffey stars in three videos now available for free download on the Sleep Savvy site, www.sleepsavvymagazine.com. Designed to support mattress sales regardless of brand, the videos can be linked to or embedded in retailers’ own websites or downloaded for in-store use. For more information on using the videos, contact BSC Communications Director Karin Mahoney at kmahoney@sleepproducts.org.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

CDC/EPA promote safe bedbug control

T

he U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 111 people in seven states became ill from insecticides used to combat bedbugs from 2003-2011.One woman died in North Carolina after setting off 18 cans of chemical fogger. Most of the illnesses occurred in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and more than half (58%) happened in New York City, which has seen a dramatic rise in bedbug infestations. The Environmental Protection Agency has joined with the CDC to promote integrated pest management to control bedbugs, including “encasing mattresses and box springs with bedbugexcluding covers,” using extreme heat or cold in infested rooms or homes, and vacuuming, steaming, laundering and disposing of infested items. The CDC is calling for public health campaigns to educate consumers about safely controlling bedbugs and preventing infestations. Among those recommendations is “avoiding the purchase of used mattresses and box springs.”

Bedbugs vs. comfort guarantees

R

etail sales associates responding to a recent Bedbugs Poll on the Sleep Geek website sponsored by Leggett & Platt (www.sleep-geek.com) have varying experiences to share about how often this icky topic comes up with their customers: ● Every day or often 28% ● Occasionally 43% ● Rarely or never 37% But some savvy retailers are using the stillgrowing bedbug epidemic to explain to customers why mattress comfort guarantees are not such a hot idea. Here are comments from two RSAs about practices at their sleep specialty stores:

➤ “As a company that no longer offers comfort exchanges, we bring up bedbugs as one of several good reasons to want to buy a mattress that hasn’t been slept on in someone’s house. We also sell high-quality zippered mattress protectors to protect customers’ investments.” ➤ “I bring the subject up myself whenever I have a conversation about comfort guarantees. We don’t offer comfort guarantees because it’s a bogus business model. Those used mattresses are going somewhere and being sold to someone, which is definitely a bedbug transfer risk. We keep our new-from-factory mattresses in one warehouse and we warehouse old mattresses that we pick up from the customers’ homes in a separate warehouse several miles away.” Thanks to Leggett for polling retailers on Sleep Savvy’s behalf.

For special coverage of anti-bedbug products for mattress customers, see “What’s New” on page 27.

248

The average number of extra calories consumed each day by night owls who habitually turned in late (after 3:00 a.m.) compared to those who turned in earlier (lights out before 12:30)—even though both groups got roughly 7 hours of total sleep. Source: Northwestern University study

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

Your call is very important...Zzzzzz

M

aking the customer experience fun—including the time they may have to spend on hold when you can’t answer the phone—can go a long way toward establishing a great relationship, according to Tom Harnish, in an article posted on the Open Forum website Oct. 5. Entertaining customers and treating them like people helped Harnish build Aerodite, a vintage airplane ride company, into the largest such company in the U.S. Whenever a customer called Aerodite and the line was busy, a perky voice would say, “All our lines are busy, but your call is very important to us. Blah, blah, blah.” Yes, that is exactly what the caller heard. Then the voice (his wife’s) would say, “Why is it companies say your call is important but then don’t answer the darned phone? Well, we tried to find a better solution, but we’re a small company and sometimes we just can’t do everything at once. Right now we’re busier than a onearmed wing-walker with a wedgie, but we’ll be with you just as soon as we get our feet on the ground.” The waiting customer was treated to ragtime piano music and after 15 seconds was invited to listen to recorded information about the rides and a promise to answer shortly…really. Callers were also encouraged to vent: “If you’re feeling frustrated, press 6 a few times.” That resulted in a series of sounds

effects—“Pow!” “Ooomph!” “Whack!” When Sleep Savvy contacted Harnish about recounting his story, he came up with the following phone scenario for sleep shops. Sounds of snoring, then a startled wake up. “Hi, you’ve reached Sleepyhead Mattress Company. We can’t come to the phone right now, but it’s not because we’ve jumped into our jammies and snuggled up in bed. No. Really, we aren’t....” Drifts off. More snoring. “Oh, sorry, I drifted off there. But don’t worry, the rest of the folks here are working hard to get to your call as quick as they can. And they probably should, too, because I’m just sooooo comfy here...” Drifts off again. More snores and snorts. “You still there? Good grief! Your call is important to us—no, really! You might actually buy something and then we’d both be happy. You’ll have a nice comfy bed and they won’t fire me for sleeping on the job.” You get the idea. The bottom line, says Harnish: “Don’t take yourself so damn seriously. People are sick of the same old corporate BS and they’re sick of being treated like (gasp) customers. Hey, customers are people too, you know.” Tom Harnish, a lifelong entrepreneur, has since left Aerodite to research and write about telework. Visit him at http://undress4success.com.

Steve Jobs’ top 12 lessons

F

ollowing the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs in October, many people around the globe wrote about his contributions to technology, business and society. Sleep Savvy thinks that Guy Kawasaki, who had worked with Jobs, wrote an exceptional summary of the lessons Jobs’ unique success imparted: 1. Experts are clueless. 2. Customers cannot tell you what they need. 3. Jump to the next curve.

8 SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

4. T  he biggest challenges beget the best work. 5. Design counts. 6. You can’t go wrong with big graphics and big fonts. 7. Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence. 8. “Value” is different from “price.” 9. “A” players hire “A+” players. 10. Real CEOs demo. 11. Real CEOs ship. 12. Marketing boils down to providing unique value.

For the details on Kawasaki’s list, go to http://holykaw.alltop.com/ what-i-learned-from-steve-jobs. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

Moderate growth forecast through 2013

A sleeper hit?

T

B

he latest business forecast from the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) predicts that the U.S. mattress market will continue to experience moderate growth through 2013. Through the end of 2011, mattress and foundation unit shipments are expected to increase by 1.7% and wholesale dollar value by 6.2%, compared to 2010. Sales in 2012 should show a 1% increase in units shipped and a 4% increase in wholesale dollars. For 2013, ISPA says sales will continue to improve, with a unit increase of 2.5% and dollar gain of 5.5%. The ISPA Statistics Committee revised its forecast this fall based on updated economic analysis prepared by the University of Michigan, recent shipments data and input from committee members. The predictions reflect concern over the stagnating recovery and a consensus that robust growth across the U.S. economy is unlikely to return within the three-year period.

ritish newspapers have reported that a musical trio from Manchester has created the world’s most relaxing song. “Weightless” is an 8-minute composition that mixes pianos, guitars, atmospheric sounds, chimes and even Buddhist chants. Marconi Union, a group known for its chill, ambient tunes, worked with sound therapists and scientists to create the song in a project funded by Radox, a U.K. bath gel brand. Scientists say that the sustaining rhythm, the harmonic intervals, the absence of a repeated melody and the use of ‘whooshing sounds and hums’ combine to make the perfect soporific. In testing, women’s stress levels were elevated using a series of timed puzzles, then listening to “Weightless” reduced their anxiety levels by 65%. Worked for us! Want to have a listen? Go to http://soundcloud.com/justmusiclabel/ marconi-union-weightless/s-kttxT.

BEDDING BIZ BEAT Wholesale dollar sales of mattresses and foundations rose by 12.3% in August compared to August 2010, while unit sales among ISPA monthly survey participants increased by just 3.1%. Continuing wholesale price increases were responsible for the gap, with the average unit price up by 8.9% over the previous August.

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

$462

$448 $381

$350 $363

$364

$382

$407 $372

$376

$398

$411

Percent change +17.6%

Percent change +3.8%

Percent change +5.0%

Percent change +9.5%

Percent change +6.0%

Percent change +12.3%

March

April

May

June

July

August

■ 2010 ■ 2011

10 SleepSavvy • November/December

2011

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


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Call today to learn more about CKI Solutions and our popular products. Call 888.222.2217 or visit www.CKISolutions.US Cadence Keen Innovations

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SNOOZE NEWS

stuff you can use

Your money or your sleep

Sleep Shorts

Which would you prefer: An $80,000 job with reasonable work hours and 7.5 hours of sleep every night or a $140,000 job with long work hours and six hours of nightly sleep? Researchers at Cornell University asked 2,500 people which would make them happier. More respondents chose better pay and less sleep—despite the fact they believed it would make them less happy.

Sleep a major victim of data overload Magnify.net, a video curation platform, surveyed 200 people about how they receive, manage and organize online information—and how it’s impacting their lives. Nearly two-thirds (65%) said that the information coming at them has increased at least 50% from the previous year. A whopping 72.7% described their data stream as “a roaring river”, “a flood” or “a massive tidal wave.” Nearly half (48.5%) said they are connected to the web “from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed.” Worse still, 33% said they check emails in the middle of the night and 33.8% “try and sleep less” to cope with the overload.

Give us more chocolate, more sleep According to the “More or Less” survey of 1,040 adult Americans, sponsored by candy bar 3 Musketeers, some 90% of us want more chocolate, more vacation and more sleep. On the other hand, Americans would prefer less reality TV, less political bickering and fewer new technologies. Two thumbs up from Sleep Savvy.

Skip that nightcap A quick alcoholic drink just before bed came to be called a nightcap because people believed it would help them relax into a better night’s sleep. But researchers

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

at Stanford University School of Medicine confirm that alcohol before bed has the exact opposite effect. Because it disrupts the body’s parasympathetic nervous system—which takes charge when we’re asleep—alcohol keeps your body from getting into a fully restorative mode. You’re likely to experience fragmented sleep and wake up too early, heart pounding. And you’re almost certain to feel tired—if not hung over.

Sleep continuity vital for memory Fragmented sleep may be partly to blame for memory loss associated with aging, Alzheimer’s and alcoholism, a recent study at Stanford University revealed. Scientists used a technique that controls brain cells with light to demonstrate the link between sleep and memory in mice. They showed that when sleep is interrupted—even if the total number of sleep hours does not change—memory is impaired. Fragmented sleep made it harder for the mice to remember familiar objects, suggesting that a minimum amount of continuous sleep is crucial for memory consolidation.

Prescription for nightmares? A recent story in The Wall Street Journal was an eyeopener for anyone taking medications. A long list of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause nightmares, largely because they interfere with normal sleep architecture. The list includes some antidepressants, antibiotics, beta-blockers, bloodpressure medications, statins for lowering cholesterol, antihistamines, some dietary supplements, and drugs for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Some cause disturbing dreams when taken, others when they’re discontinued, especially if stopped abruptly. Though the reasons aren’t fully understood, sleep experts believe that disrupted REM sleep—the stages during which the most vivid dreams occur—is the most likely cause. The Oct. 4 article, “The Next Nightmare May Lurk in the Medicine Cabinet,” can be found at http://online.wsj.com.

SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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14 SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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The cover story

Creating compelling content for your website How to pre-sell your customers before they walk through the door By Ted Page

M

ad Men-style advertising—based on interrupting the audience’s entertainment or news gathering experience—is still with us, but most marketers these days recognize that it’s increasingly unsteady on its feet (maybe because of all those martinis). The reality is that people are tired of being “targeted” with ads and are inclined to take evasive action. Where do they go? The first place a mattress shopper goes is the web—especially the female shopper who’s usually the one driving the mattress shopping process. They log on to Google, enter their search term and click. If your shop appears on the first page of Google in your area, you’ve passed the first hurdle to success. This article is all about how you can get your shop on that first page and—just as important—how you can create a website that really engages people and educates them about what you have to offer, so by the time they walk through the door they are already inclined to buy from you, not the other guy. On the following pages, you’ll find a series of proven tips— not necessarily in order of importance.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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THE COVER STORY

creating compelling content

Having a really great website can help you eat your competitors’ lunch.

Your website is a TV channel—make sure it’s something people want to watch. The fact

is that YouTube is one of the top search engines, right after Google. And when people go on a website these days, they expect to find some decent video. NOT having video makes you look bad. Now, I’m not suggesting you put a commercial on your website. What you need is video that educates customers about your products. People who go on the web to pre-shop want to learn. They are going to mattress school.

Job one: Think about Quality matters—and what makes your store can help you beat much different. What do you have to bigger companies. As I

offer your customers that’s unique? To start, take a look at the websites of competitors in your area. What are they saying about themselves? How is your store different? Is your selection better? Do you offer better prices or values? Do you have an Imax movie theater (that’s one of the attractions at Jordan’s Furniture in Natick, MA)? Or perhaps you simply know more about mattresses than anyone else. If you’re fortunate enough to really be an expert with all your years of experience, then you’re in luck, because my guess is that being knowledgeable and helpful ranks very high with customers. But here’s the trick: Nobody is going to know you are the world’s greatest expert on mattresses unless you convey that first on your website. Your website is you. It’s the first thing people see, and it’s true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So, if you’re the expert, your website needs to show people your knowledge and make it really easy for them to learn a lot.

16 SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

said, your website is you. What do you wear when you’re in the store selling to customers? Chances are you wear nice clothes, perhaps even a tie. The same level of quality and professionalism needs to be reflected in your website design. Because it’s quite possible that a bigger competitor also has a website, and if you don’t look as good or better online, you’re at a disadvantage. In fact, having a really great website can help you eat your competitors’ lunch.

Focus. Focus. Focus.

The biggest mistake most web designers make is that their sites have no focus. For example, here’s a mattress company website to look at that has no focus: www.gomattress.com. When you look at the homepage, your eye wanders all over the place. You need to ask yourself, what’s the number one thing I want people to click on? Make that the central focus of the site, with a larger photo and words that guide the visitor to take the action you want them to take.

And you need to be Harvard—or at least a great state school like UMass (not so subtle plug for my alma mater). If your site has useful information that’s not an overt sales plug, you’ll be ahead of the game. Remember, your website is on 24/7. And the best part is, since you’re not paying a network to air your spot or a newspaper to insert your ad, your media costs are zero. This is a golden opportunity to share what you know about mattresses.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


THE COVER STORY

creating compelling content

Tell a story and educate.

If video isn’t in your budget, start with writing some good content that helps educate your customers. Here’s a website that I wouldn’t call great, www.mattressmanstores. com, but if you explore their Buyer’s Guide section, they have a helpful and well-written page that’s all about different types of mattresses. Whether you agree with everything they say or not, the point is that they’re not shouting at you to hurry up and buy something. They’re just explaining options—just as any good mattress sales associate would do. Written content for your website needs to be honest, accurate, engaging—and mistake-free. Typos on your website aren’t just embarrassing, they might actually hurt your bottom line. They make a bad impression. Worse than that, they can make people question your business’ legitimacy. Every word needs to be spell-checked and third-party proofread.

Use social media.

There are many companies that specialize in social media marketing. In my opinion, a lot of them make it seem much more complicated than it really is—maybe because they want you to hire them! Think of social media as a big party where all your friends are. They have Facebook pages, some of them use Twitter and some use LinkedIn—some use all three and more.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Don’t treat your Facebook page like it’s just another website.

I suggest starting with a Facebook page. It’s easy to set up and it’s free. But don’t treat your Facebook page like it’s just another website. Use it as a place to share the personality of your helpful staff and let people know about upcoming events at your store. Just like any party you go to, you’d never hand someone a business card right away. Take time to get to know people and for them to know you. Once you’ve known each other for a while, and they’ve shown interest in what you do, let them know about stuff happening at your store, whether that’s an informational seminar on mattresses and sleep, or an upcoming sale. Once you have a Facebook page, add a Facebook icon and link to your new website so people can easily find it.

Think of your videos or other content as cups of delicious Starbucks coffee at Barnes & Noble. The longer people hang around, the more likely they are to buy or choose to visit your store. Just make it easy for them to take action when they’re done sipping or you’ll lose them.

Optimize your content for search. Do some research

to see what search terms your target audience is using to find stores like yours. If your store is in Miami, for example, enter “Mattress stores Miami.” See what comes up. Those stores are your main competitors, and the name of the game is not only to be on that first page, but as

Guide viewers into your online sales funnel.

Imagine people at their computers, watching your videos or reading your articles. Now they’re ready to take the next step. The layout of your web page that’s displaying the content should clearly show your offers, engage viewers and encourage them to click.

SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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THE COVER STORY

creating compelling content search for text, so simply having those words as text will help you. The other thing you should do on a regular basis is add more content, such as news articles and videos. The search engine algorithms like this, since it’s a sign your website is active and robust. Another trick is to encourage other websites to link to yours. This is called “back linking.” If another site, such as a chamber of commerce website, links to yours, Google assumes your site has more relevance with the audience, so they put you higher in their their rankings.

Videos of satisfied customers are mustsee TV for today’s websites. high up on that page as possible. A web design firm that offers search engine optimization (SEO) can place tags and key words onto your website that make it easier for Google and other search engines to find you. There are also simple things you can do when you create and maintain the site that will make it easier for you to be seen. If you know, for example, that “Mattress stores Miami” is a term that people are searching for, make those words part of the headline on your website, i.e., “Miami’s Number One Mattress Store.” Google and other search engines primarily

Safe Storage

Use video testimonials.

Video testimonials from satisfied customers are must-see TV for today’s websites. Your customers can be your very best salespeople. They’re ultra-credible, and it’s easy to get them on camera talking about what a great experience they had shopping at your store. People trust other people. It’s that simple. You don’t need people who look like supermodels. In fact, that can backfire. Site visitors want to get a feeling that they’re seeing people just like them, so keep it real. And keep

each video “snackable”—less than four minutes (1-2 minutes is ideal). People on the hunt for information prefer to nibble short videos. As for the customers you’ve put on video, this becomes a source of pride for them and they tell their friends about it. They become, in effect, ambassadors for your store.

Use good photography.

Many companies make the mistake of grabbing any low-quality camera or smartphone and shooting some photos of their own store. When you’re up against bigger competitors, you run the risk of making your store look small and low quality. Hiring a professional photographer for a one-day or half-day photo shoot can deliver excellent return on your investment. Good visuals are critical. People process information visually as well as through the written word. If your website is too word-heavy, it makes it difficult for visitors to quickly get a sense of what you have to offer. Good photos are fast and effective.

Include interactive elements. In the early days of

website development, sites were basically online brochures—static pages that were really no different than print. That is changing very rapidly.

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18 SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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THE COVER STORY

creating compelling content

The right site content adds up to trust. Done right,

the first thing a shopper feels when they come to your website is a sense that they can trust you. There’s no one thing that makes that feeling come about. It’s a combination of things—from good design to an intuitive interface to photos that convey your quality to content that educates instead of sells. And when customers Today, the best sites offer you fun ways to actively engage your visitors and invite them to participate in learning new things. For example, the website for Michigan’s Art Van Furniture, www.artvan.com, includes an interactive quiz designed to help you determine which mattress is right for you. It’s simple, but effective.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

come through your door after spending time online, chances are they are much more likely to know what they want and be ready to make a purchase. With a shorter in-store sales cycle, your business can sell more and become more profitable. That’s the beauty of a website that pre-sells your customer. And as an added benefit, you’ll sleep better knowing your website is always working for you. ●

Ted Page is co-founder and creative director of Captains of Industry, a web design, video production and marketing agency with experience working with leading brands. Ted oversees the creative development of websites, logos, videos and interactive web marketing campaigns. He is a frequent contributor to MarketingProfs.com and other publications. Ted is also an avid sleeper. To learn more, visit www.captainsofindustry.com. To contact Ted, email tpage@captainsofindustry.com.

SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

19


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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

Northwest Sleep Solutions

Scott and LeAnn Caseria

An upscale shopping experience + real value is the winning formula for Bellingham, WA store By Nancy Butler Photography by Peggy Herrmann

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

C

ustomers coming through the door at Northwest Sleep Solutions in Bellingham, WA, often have one of two reactions: “Wow, this store is really beautiful!” —usually women—or “Wow, this has got to be expensive!”—usually men. Owners Scott and LeAnn Caseria revel in the “ooohs and aaahs” of firsttime visitors and can quickly dispel shoppers’ financial fears. The store’s everyday prices are often better than competitors’ sale prices, Scott says. Despite the fact that they opened the store just four months before the market collapse in 2008, the Caserias have successfully combined an upscale, gift shop-style setting with competitive, “straight up” pricing, enhanced by a no-pressure selling

approach that puts customers at ease. The results are impressive: Sales are expected to be up by 25% this year. The business model was largely shaped by Scott’s 16 years with two other mattress retailers in the Bellingham area, about 90 miles north of Seattle. “I learned some good things—and some things I knew I didn’t want to do,” he says. “I found myself defending the advertising with customers.” The couple’s decision to open their own store was a matter of carving out the right niche—one that would satisfy Scott’s commitment to being “a long-term kind of guy,” he says. “If you’re worried about this weekend’s ad, you’re not thinking long term.” SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

“I love the mattress business, but I don’t want to be in the mattress rat race,” Scott says, citing this example: “If your competition is running a 75%-off sale then you have to run a 75%-off sale even though none of it is really 75% off.” It’s a way of doing business that has no appeal for him. A different environment Scott and LeAnn decided to do things differently right from the start. Rather than opening in the vicinity of Bellingham’s “mattress row,” they chose a 2,600-square-foot location in Fairview, an historic district—the last place anyone expected to see a mattress store. “It raised a lot of eyebrows in Fairview,” Scott says. “But it ended up bringing a lot of new visitors and business to the area.” Far from looking out of place, Northwest Sleep Solutions fits right into this “very gift-y shopping area,” Scott says. “The interior is gorgeous. You can tell by just looking in the windows. LeAnn has done a beautiful job with the aesthetic aspects of the store.” The environment is designed to appeal to all of the senses. Complementing the mattress displays are beautiful linens and decorative

The unusual accessories displays really connect with women.

22 SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

A glance in the windows shows shoppers the unique interior.

accessories. Customers hear relaxing music and nature sounds, smell the aroma of scented candles and soaps. “People walk in and say, ‘Wow! It smells great in here.’ We get that all the time,” Scott says. The Caserias carry three mattress lines: Simmons, Tempur-Pedic and Englander—the latter with an emphasis on “eco-friendly” products. They show 35 models, all handpicked for quality. Queen prices open at $399 and top out at $4,000. No $199 or $299 queen—ever. “If you carry the $299 crud and that’s the first thing the customer sees, you’re going to be faced with disappointment right away,” says Scott. “That’s not starting off on the right foot.” His commitment to staying away from the lowest price points is one of the reasons why the store’s average queen sale is upwards of $1,000, Scott claims. Staying out of the rat race “Buy cheap” is not the message in Northwest Sleep Solutions advertising. “I’ve found that even in a

recession, people really don’t want cheap,” Scott says. “Mattresses are all about comfort and health. People want value; they want good sleep.” But make no mistake—a best pricing promise plays a key role in the store’s regular four-page newspaper inserts and radio spots. “Have you found mattress shopping confusing, stressful, even misleading?” asks one current 60-second spot. “What if there were a mattress store where you could get the straight scoop on the best products at the best prices, all in a relaxing, stress-free environment? Well there is! And you’ll never have to wait for a so-called sale. Our prices are less than the other stores’ sale prices all the time.” “I never advertise a percentage off because I can’t win at that game, even though my prices are just as low or lower,” Scott says. “Some stores actually raise prices for Memorial Day or Labor Day, but promote a sale. We shoot straight and back it up.” Scott works hard to keep his mattress prices affordable and competitive. “Over the years, we’ve absorbed almost all of the wholesale cost increases so that we could keep our prices the same, even when it means less profit. This is not the time to raise prices,” he says. “We’re not getting rich,” Scott admits, “but we are paying down our debt.” He expects to own everything outright within the next year. Building rapport Personal selling and service are a big part of the winning equation for Northwest Sleep Solutions. A handson owner, Scott helps most customers himself, assisted by part-time “friends” and family members. Vince Fusco, 70, is a veteran mattress RSA that Scott worked with in the past. JoAnn Padgett has more than a decade of experience “and www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

With beds in the spotlight, it’s clear this is a mattress store...but so much more.

lots of integrity.” Erin Shaw, the sole 20-something, helps out on the sales floor and assists with office duties—“She’s not afraid of computers,” says Scott. LeAnn, who also teaches, is in the store Sundays and more often in the summer. The Caserias’ son Cody is the warehouse/delivery manager and drives the company truck. He sometimes helps out on the sales floor, as does son Dusty, a mechanical engineer, if extra bodies are needed. Customers are greeted in a lowkey fashion that invites person-toperson conversation (“Beautiful weather...are you up for a hike today?”). “There’s no shouting at you when you walk in,” Scott says. “We kind of whisper.” “I don’t see myself as a sales guy. It’s more like problem solving,” he says. “Each visit is a scouting mission and we’ll often refer to the first www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

visit, which lets them know there can be a second. We educate people. We don’t pressure them to buy today.” Scott and his staff are often dealing with people who have had negative experiences shopping for mattresses and expect a hard sell. “People get so beat up by the advertising game that they don’t even want to let you help them. They think you’re ‘one of those’,” he says. “Rapport is 90% of our game. That’s our personality and it’s the way the store is set up,” Scott says. “It’s all about making the customer comfortable—and not just on the beds.” Going ‘gift-y’ An important part of the ambiance at Northwest Sleep Solutions is its merchandising of distinctly upscale bed accessories and “gift-y

Luxury top-of-bed and scented candles add to the sensual appeal.

things.” The list includes luxury and organic sheets and duvets, goose down comforters and wool blankets, handmade quilts and throws, and mattress toppers in latex, wool SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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RETAIL ROAD TRIP the selling scene

you’d really like new pillows with a new bed,’” so I’ll offer ‘buy one/ get one free’ with the bed purchase,” he says. “It’s a real value and a nice enhancement.” Interestingly, because of the store’s reputation for quality, “This is becoming an incremental business on its own, too.”

With its boutique-like exterior, the store is a good fit for the historic area.

and down. Smaller items include bath and body products, room and linen sprays, scented candles, French soaps, heated wraps and other relaxation-oriented merchandise. Further heightening the appeal to women are baby blankets and other infant items, plus character pillowcases and matching carry-alongs for children. Scatter rugs add color and fun to the overall display. Upscale accessories are LeAnn’s specialty, Scott says, and she has a knack for “setting up the displays in a way that encourages customers to touch the linens, smell the soaps and candles, and sample the lotions and sprays.” The Caserias carry limited inventory and don’t do a lot of volume in these accessory categories, but they create an inviting atmosphere. And the smaller items are often given to customers after the sale. Scott explains that this is not an advertised gift with purchase and it’s not used as a closing tool. “After the sale closes, I’ll often invite the customer to pick out a favorite candle as our gift,” he says. “It’s amazing what a wonderful impression that makes.” The one drawback to the upscale accessories merchandising is that it “feels expensive,” Scott says. “Customers, especially the men,

24 SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

wonder if we’re affordable. I can see it in their body language.” But the tradeoff is a solid one: “It reflects the fact that we get the female consumer,” he says. “Women just love our store.” “I know it sounds like a cliche, but it really is about the experience.” Add-ons that sell The store’s giftier items may not bring in big profits, but Northwest Sleep Solutions has an excellent attachment rate for pillows, pads and protectors, according to Scott. The store carries a selection of 30 pillows from Tempur-Pedic, Cloud Nine and Natura—latex, memory foam, down and synthetic down—at $30 to $190. Pads and protectors are from Protect-A-Bed, Fabrictech/ OmniGuard, Tempur-Pedic and Natura. Pillows, displayed on beds and wood shelves, are often “gently” incorporated into the presentation: “Would you like a more comfortable pillow? Let’s try this….” The store closes about half of its bed sales with pillows, at an average ticket of $80 to $100, Scott reports. Sometimes pillows are offered “with purchase” at the point of sale. “I might say to a customer, ‘We know

It’s called integrity “People come to Northwest Sleep Solutions because we have a sterling reputation and we live up to it,” Scott says. “It’s something I learned from my parents—it’s called integrity.” “If there’s a problem, we overkill the fix,” he says. “I’ve had people (in the business) ask me why we do that. My answer is always, ‘Because we can!’” Lots of the store’s business comes from referrals. Most of it is local, though they have delivered as far away as Seattle. Services include free delivery, set-up and haul away. All old products are donated or recycled, not landfilled, which earns points in this environmentally conscious part of the country. The store also has the requisite 30-night comfort exchange—which Scott calls “the scourge of the mattress business.” Customers must try the new bed for at least two weeks; they pay no fees and may exchange only once. “But we’ve had maybe three exchanges a year because we really take the time to work with people,” he says. The Caserias’ upscale, integritybased approach appears to be a sound business model. “This does work. Forget fooling people. Help them feel comfortable. Make it relaxing. I’ve even had people fall asleep in the store,” Scott says. “And when I go to bed at night, I know there’s no one that’s unhappy with us.” ● www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


BACK TALK

supporting customer dreams

Holiday guest bed buyers? Step them up to real value! The holidays always bring a rush of last-minute guest bed shoppers, most of them thinking that what they need is something fast and cheap. It’s up to you to convince them otherwise. Don’t just point them to the promotional stuff in the back of the showroom. You’ll miss an opportunity to step them up to a sleep set that offers real comfort and value. Here are some thoughts to share with guest bed shoppers. Holiday visits are stressful enough without asking your friends and family to toss and turn on a bad mattress. They’ll be cranky. They may wake up with aching backs and sore limbs. And you’ll be the one that gets the blame. We all know how hard it can be to get a good night’s sleep in a strange bed, especially one with poor support and comfort. It’s important to make your relatives and guests feel at home by making sure they’re sleeping on a bed that offers the same comforts you’d like to enjoy if you were the visitor. That starts with a quality mattress and matching foundation that’s at least in the mid-price range. And don’t forget the essential accessories: a good, stain-resistant mattress protector and nice, fresh pillows. Attending to details such as making sure guests sleep comfortably and soundly during their stay can go a long way toward ensuring a happy and relaxing visit—for both you and your guests. Invite them to test the best Once you’ve got your guest bed shoppers thinking about a better choice, invite them to lie down on one or two of the very best beds on your floor as a good point of comparison. Watch for the “wow” reaction. It may have been a while since they’ve experienced the best night’s sleep theselves. Who knows? You may turn a guest bed buyer into master bedroom customer, too.

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SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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WHAT’S NEW

for stores like yours Spotlight on anti-bedbug products

T

he intense media focus on the return of bedbugs may have diminished somewhat, but the worldwide bedbug epidemic hasn’t. Infestations have increased more than 500% in the past three years and are projected to double every year for at least the foreseeable future. Getting rid of an entrenched bedbug population is tough and costly. But mattress retailers can help their customers establish an important line of defense by carrying quality mattress encasements and other preventive products. Here are some of those products, submitted by vendors especially for this issue of Sleep Savvy.

Protect-A-Bed Protect-A-Bed’s BugLock® Bedbug Protection Pack includes the tools needed to successfully combat and manage bedbug infestations in a convenient pack: one BugLock® waterproof mattress encasement and one bedbug-proof box spring encasement. Encasements make the telltale signs of bedbug infestation visible, as bedbug fecal spotting appears vividly on the white fabric early in the infestation. Encasements eliminate the hiding places bedbugs typically find in the seams of a mattress. Properly installed encasements will also prevent the mattress and foundation from having to be discarded if bedbugs are found. Protect-A-Bed’s products feature the patented BugLock® with Secure Seal® and a three-sided zipper system, which makes them bedbug escape- and entryproof on all sides. The pack also provides a clean, waterproof and healthy sleeping environment. The BugLock® Bed Bug Protection Pack is avail-

able in all bed sizes at retail prices from $89.99 to $149.99. Protect-A-Bed offers a launch pack for retailers to carry multiple product sizes in an educational display module. Contact Alan Eisenberg by email at alan.eisenberg@ protectabed.com.

Fabrictech International The OmniGuard® Ultra Total Encasement mattress protector and pillow protector are allergen-, dust mite- and bedbug-proof, while protecting your customer from moisture build-up in the mattress that can cause the growth of mold and mildew. The mattress protector retails for $129.99 and the pillow protector for $19.99 (queen sizes). The PureCareTM Antibacterial Silver Total Encasement

Information for What’s New is provided by the vendors. It is neither verified nor endorsed by the publisher. www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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WHAT’S NEW

for stores like yours mattress protector and pillow protector feature silver ions that locate and deactivate bacteria and fungi, and neutralize odors. These premium protectors are also waterproof. Retail prices are $149.99 for the mattress protector and $24.99 for the pillow protector. The PureCareTM Celliant® pillow protector, also at $24.99 retail, combines OmniGuard® Ultra fabric with Celliant® fibers that absorb energy from the body and release it into the skin and deep muscle tissue, enhance oxygen levels and help balance body temperature. The waterproof protector is also allergen-, bedbug- and dust mite-proof. All of these protectors are approved for all memory foam and latex mattresses/pillows and will not alter their comfort characteristics. Contact Ruben Loera, director of sales and retail development, at 800-758-8563 or email r.loera@cox.net. Website: www.fabrictech.com.

Even after 60 washes (the rough equivalent of five years of regular washing), the antimicrobial technology continues to work. The product includes a 10-year limited product and mattress warranty for stain protection. The suggested retail price in queen size is $135. Contact Leggett & Platt at 800-876-2641 or email FBGMarketing@leggett.com.

Glideaway The Total Encasement Mattress Protector and Pillow Protector, part of Glideaway’s Sleepharmony line, fully encase the mattress or pillow, providing a barrier from bedbugs. Made of a soft terry material, both are Oeko-Tek® Standard 100 approved, breathable,

Leggett & Platt The Leggett & Platt® SilverShell™ Antimicrobial Mattress Encasement combines the bacteria-inhibiting power of pure elemental silver with the proven stain resistance and bedbug barrier performance of Leggett & Platt’s Invisicase™ products. The SilverShell™ mattress encasement inhibits 99.9% of bacteria on contact while completely covering the mattress to provide a clean and hypoallergenic sleeping environment—free of the bacteria, mold, mildew, dust mites and pet dander that can cause fabric deterioration. The encasement also features Easy Zip™, a zippered top that can be removed for easy cleaning.

waterproof and also offer a barrier from dust mites and other allergens. Suggested retails are $89.99 to $119.99 for a queen mattress protector and $19.99 to $29.99 for a pillow protector. Glideaway plans to expand its bedbug-resistant product line by offering a Total Encasement Foundation Protector and other fabric choices starting in 2012, providing retailers with package plans and/or a more cost-effective alternative. The program will include POP, as well as training on how to best present and sell the products. Glideaway also offers the Hotelier Total Encasement Mattress Protector for the hotel and rental industries. This protector is tailored to encase a rollaway, hideaway, folding or guest bed mattress. Contact Glideaway at 800-428-5222 or email cgriffing@glideaway.com.

Allergy Control Products Allergy Control® Pristine® Complete Encasings are scientifically tested and proven to be an effective barrier against bedbugs and also offer top allergen protection from dust mites and pet dander. The encasements are made from a patented microfiber fabric that offers both advanced protection for the

28 SleepSavvy • November/December 20111

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com


WHAT’S NEW

for stores like yours Stop Bugging Me!™ is EPA FIFRA 25(b) approved and fabric-safe for mattresses, bedding, carpets, upholstered furniture, clothing and luggage. It’s available in a 12-ounce spray bottle, with a suggested retail of $19.99, or 3-ounce travel spray bottle at $9.99 retail. CKI also offers SlumberShield 360°™, an encasement that features a removable, zippered top for easy installation and care. SlumberShield 360° not only prevents bedbugs from colonizing in the bedding, it also offers complete protection against liquids, stains, mildews, molds and other allergens. Replacement zip-off tops can be sold separately so a mattress is never unprotected while a top is in the wash. Suggested retails are $69.95 to $129.95, depending on mattress size and depth. Contact CKI Solutions at 888-222-2217 or email CustomerService@cadencekeen.com. healthiest night’s sleep and a soft, smooth feel for total sleeping comfort. Pillow encasements start at $16.95 retail and mattress encasements at $83.95. Both are covered by a lifetime warranty program. See the full line of encasements for pillows, mattresses, comforters and cribs by visiting the company’s website at www.AllergyControl.com or call 800-255-3749.

Mattress Safe

CKI Solutions Stop Bugging Me!™ is a new, pesticide-free retail product designed to kill and prevent bedbugs on both bedbug-prone and infested areas, including mattresses, bedding, furniture, carpets and clothing. Featuring environmentally friendly active ingredients, Stop Bugging Me!™ is a natural treatment that CKI claims is completely safe for the entire family and emits a pleasant, botanical scent. It’s laboratory-tested to kill 50% of bedbugs immediately and 100% within 15 minutes.

www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

Mattress Safe Inc. offers Plus+ Advantage™ bedbugcertified mattress encasements in sizes that stretch to fit a variety of mattress depths and lengths. The unique feature of the Superior Style Mattress Encasement is that one size stretches to fit a 9-inch to 15-inch depth mattress, as well as regular and long sizes. For example, if a retailer stocks a twin size encasement, that one size would fit a twin or a twin XL up to 15 inches in depth. This makes it more affordable to keep stock supplied during an unpredictable economy. Just one SKU from Mattress Safe replaces six from the leading competitor, the company says. Mattress Safe offers a variety of bedbug-certified mattress and box spring encasements that are waterproof, breathable, fire retardant and non-allergenic to meet the variety of needs for any consumer. Contact Andrea Hancock at 678-525-7682, email Info@mattresssafe.com or visit the website at www.mattresssafe.com. ●

SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

29


BE MY GUEST by Bob Phibbs

In retail customer service, sales associate silence is always deadly I was on a mission. I wanted to shop. Armed with cash and credit cards, I headed out to a town with very upscale, smaller retailers. At the first store I entered, an employee was behind the counter. Another employee entered the store. The first employee looked up and they began to talk about lunch. I continued to browse the high-end knickknacks and considered an object. I picked it up. The first employee walked by me and went to the back room, where I overheard more talk about lunch. Not a word to me—or the other people in the store. The second store had a stream of customers entering and leaving—without bags. I went in, where I discovered a woven basket filled with colorful men’s wool socks from Guatemala for $30 a pair. In looking around, I spotted the owner (or an employee?) sitting down behind a bunch of merchandise. It looked like she had a fort of products set up to protect her. Not a word. She just glared. As I was walking up the street to the next www.sleepsavvymagazine.com www.sleepsavvymagazine.com

retailer, a woman called me over. “Look at this,” she said. “This guy is lying on the couch. Guess he doesn’t want to sell anything.” I looked in. Sure enough, a guy is lying on his stomach on an orange sofa. By now the woman had invited a couple to join us, too. The couch guy waved at us as if he thought that we thought it was funny. The next store was a new, nearly 10,000square-foot home store. I entered and found the owner and an employee behind the counter talking. I walked around. One couple left. The owner disappeared upstairs. I picked up a few objects along the way but remembered my mantra: I refuse to buy anything if the salespeople don’t say a word to me. The woman remained behind the counter, occasionally glancing up. As I left through the front doors, the woman—who was now checking something online—called after me “Goodbye.” That was it. I’d had it. I turned around and said, “It’s interesting that you could say goodbye to me, yet never say a word to me while I was in your store for nearly 10 minutes. I guess business is good.” I headed back out the door—to her stunned face, along with the owner’s. (O.K., at times I can be a jerk in stores that don’t take the customer seriously). That’s when it hit me. Wouldn’t it be great to let stores know when they missed SleepSavvy • November/December 2011

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BE MY GUEST by Bob Phibbs

out on a sale? Perhaps something discreet, yet impossible to miss? That’s when I came up with this little card.

What would you do in response if you saw a woman place this on a display and walk away? Run after her, write her off as a wacko, or fret?

ATTENTION MANAGER OR OWNER Wanted to let you know I am a paying customer who left. Without buying. Because no one in your store said a word to me. Consider this a gift since most people won’t tell you why they don’t buy. But I just did. Hope you do a better job with your next potential customer. How would you feel if you found this lying on a display or counter? Who would you blame—the customer, the employee or the economy?

Good customer service is acknowledging there is a person in front of you who drove or walked past a lot of other businesses to give you the opportunity to get

some of their disposable income. If you don’t treat them with the basic respect of talking to them, they’ll continue to look around. Then they’ll leave. And that’s deadly. We’re not invisible. We’re customers. ● Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor, is a best-selling author and speaker who has helped thousands of independent businesses compete by using his sales approach. His book, You Can Compete: Double Sales Without Discounting, is the backbone of thousands of companies’ training programs. Phibbs teaches his business makeover methods and sales strategies to such top brands as Hunter Douglas, Brother and Yamaha. For more tips, visit his website at www.retaildoc.com.

GET SMART. GET SAVVY! ➤O  ur circulation reaches more sleep products retailers ➤ Our features, tips and ideas make retailers smarter ➤ Our advertising rates represent excellent value ➤ Our retailer readers rave about Sleep Savvy

The smart place to advertise For information and a copy of our new 2012 Media Kit, contact Kerri Bellias, sales director, at (336)945-0265 or email kbellias@sleepproducts.org.

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CLOSING WORDS by Gerry Morris

Getting to the heart of the matter “Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify.” — Henry David Thoreau

I

s there a simple way to more accurately determine which mattress is the best choice for each customer? The conventional thinking is to gather as much information as possible. But author Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, says that may not be the case—“When it comes to important decisions, often less is more.” Gladwell describes a cardiac clinic that discovered three basic indicators could be used to determine which patients who were complaining of chest pain would actually go into cardiac arrest. The accuracy of the predictions far exceeded the cardiologists’ judgments based upon multiple factors and years of experience. Wouldn’t it be something if there was a litmus test to determine which mattress would best fit each customer? Well, there may just be. The best predictor of the future is often the past. These three key indicators reveal the information that can help determine which mattresses customers are more likely to be satisfied with: 1. The type, quality and comfort level of the shopper’s current mattress. 2. The length of time she’s owned it. 3. The quality of her sleeping experience. Here is a qualifying method that will help you discover this information and help your shoppers become satisfied customers. Instead of asking “What feel or comfort level do you like?” simply ask

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“Are you familiar with the three basic comfort levels available?” Almost 100% of shoppers will say, “No.” From there, you can show a representative pillowtop, plush and firm model, asking the shopper to take the time to really get the feel and give each one objective consideration. This approach puts the RSA in the advantageous position—for both parties—of being proactive rather than reactive. That makes it easier to engage shoppers, discover their experience with their current mattress and address their expectations for a new one, using these questions: ● “Which model is most like your current mattress?” ● “How long have you had it?” ● “How much did you pay for it?” ● “Do you sleep well on it?” ● “What do you like and dislike about it?” Once the customer has tried the three comfort levels, the next step is to ask, “Which do you like best now?” RSAs must then evaluate all the information, keeping in mind multiple possibilities. Let’s say, for example, the shopper has a firm mattress and says she now prefers the pillowtop. But if she’s accustomed to a firm set,

selling her a pillowtop may not be the best choice. If her experience on a firm mattress has been positive, it’s safer to suggest sticking with a similar feel or not deviating too far from it. As the old saying goes, don’t fix what’s not broken. The biggest culprit for returns is when the customer makes an extreme switch in comfort levels, like going from a hard mattress to a pillowtop, or vice versa. For those who do elect to switch from firm to soft, it’s especially important to address expectations. Explain that one sleeps on a firm bed and in a soft one, which can result in body impressions, and that it takes at least 30 days to adjust. Taking extra time and care to explain increases the likelihood customers will be happy with their mattress. While there are lots of qualifying issues to consider, it’s advantageous to streamline the process. These three simple indicators get to the heart of the matter, revealing the information necessary to determine which mattress may be the best choice for each and every customer. ● Gerry Morris is an author, consultant, training coach and member of the National Speakers Association. With more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry, Gerry has helped manufacturers, retailers and RSAs around the world increase their sales. To find out what Gerry can do for your company, call him at 903-456-2015, email gmorris@innerspring.net, visit his website at www.innerspring.net or his blog at http://sellmorebeds.wordpress.com.

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Ergomotion is in motion. We would like to give a special thanks to all of our hard working retailers and distributors who have helped us reach a 300% growth in sales revenue over last year. We are excited for our continued partnership and anticipate another year of growth in 2012. Cheers to a great holiday season and a happy new year!

www.ergomotion.us

Profile for International Sleep Products Association

Sleep Savvy Nov/Dec 2011  

The magazine for sleep products professionals

Sleep Savvy Nov/Dec 2011  

The magazine for sleep products professionals