While I’m not really about to lose control, Like the Pointer Sisters, I’m pretty dang excited! (Texan for “very”). But, I don’t think we’re worked up about the same thing. I found no mention of “retail mattress sales” in their lyrics.
So, what’s stirring up my innards? (Texan again, sorry) If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a change taking place in retail mattress sales in the last few years and I believe we are on the cutting edge of tremendous growth! And if you haven’t noticed, it’s time to get with it, because there is tangible evidence to support my optimism.
What’s behind this evolution! Well, there is an intangible force that is the catalyst driving the change and it may surprise you. We’ll get to that in a moment. First, lets see what’s new.
These Times They Are a Changin!
Bob Dylan is right. Not too many years ago, the standard was for mattress departments to be laid out like army barracks, with “Fifty Shades of Beige” upholstered rectangles. Remove the brand labels, and people would be hard pressed to differentiate one from another.
We languished in safety mode for over a decade. David Perry with Furniture Today wrote a column asking, “Why are all mattresses white?” It was because we feared that color and strong patterns could possibly evoke a negative response, “I like the mattress OK, but I don’t care for this color or that.” Also, women were concerned about them showing through the sheets. Mattress protectors have gone a long way to rectify that.
But “It’s a new day, a new dawn” and in an effort to differentiate, brave manufacturers have found how to do it with beautiful and exciting border treatments, fabric colors, patterns,textures, and quilt patterns. That along with bold end of bed and pillow adornments have helped brands claim distinctive identities and entice shoppers to indulge.
Within home furnishings stores, as one would leave a beautifully decorated case good or living room vignette and enter the mattress department, it was like walking out of a lush forest into the dessert, save for a matching silk plants and end tables by each model. (Obviously I’m painting with a broad brush. No need to call me out)
In the trendy new departments, gone are the prohibitive lucite signage that would stop shoppers in their tracks from attempting to lie down. “No, read me first!” It seemed like a good idea at the time, to try to get the pricing out of the way first, demonstrate value with triple marked up suggested retails, detailed specifications and a few features and benefits. But the net result was more time spent in conversation about the product than actually experiencing it. Now pricing and spec information is being discreetly displayed on end of bed feet protectors.
Once prevalent mini spring units and layer samples are not demanding attention, but are kept available if needed. Appropriately so, the focus is now upon the product, not the tools to sell it. What a concept.
Cutaway schematic type posters have been replaced by lifestyle images. Afterthought accessories are now a part and parcel featured in clever kiosk displays.
Soft soothing lighting, cool serene color schemes, creative layouts and vignette style designs that offer accessibility and privacy are luring shoppers into what formerly has been a destination only department.
But the best trend of all is the evolution of the cumbersome geriatric hospital bed to the sleek new adjustable base. This may be the biggest boost to volume and profits retailers have ever experienced. Anyone interested in four figure average ticket price gain? WOW! I visited a store recently that have well over half their floor models on adjustable bases. The majority of their sales are to people that were not even shopping for them.
What’s Going On!
Well back to my assertion, that there is an intangible force that is driving these tangible changes. What is it! Emotion. That’s it.
There is no doubt that price and value will always be considerations for mattress shoppers, but there is also no doubt that when emotion enters the equation, many are inspired to invest in quality for comfort, health happiness and well being.
Consider the power of emotion in car shopping. Cars being a similar category to mattresses in that they are utilitarian, providing a specific and necessary life function. If people approached car shopping like traditional mattress shopping, they would settle for a safe dependable means of getting from point a to point b as their main determinant. That is hardly the case. When someone test drives a car, they get a glimpse of what life could be. It was just my imagination, Running away with me!” No kidding, running away to the tune of thirty plus thousand dollars. If someone wants something badly enough, they will find a way to get it.
The best news of all.
It doesn’t matter which generational group you are dealing with, feeling good, happiness and comfort, have universal appeal. Emotional attraction, curiosity and the accompanying motivation will transcend age, gender ethnicity and any other category you can think of. At the end of the day, We all want to have a sense of well being, Arguably, no other consumer product can offer that as well as a mattress.
So by engaging the imagination of the mattress shopper using the illustrations above, you can literally change shoppers motivation from need to want!. “I second that emotion.” The action is the same, the motivation is what’s changed. Want is simply a need with an added emotional component. Its as simple as that.
The power of emotion is and will continue to propel retail mattress sales into a whole new realm. Smart retailers are using these tools to lure shoppers into their mattress departments and entice them to test drive top quality models they previously may would have never considered. Harness the power of emotion and boost your mattress sales to new heights.
“You can’t always get what you want, you can’t always...” actually Mick, when it comes to mattresses, you can and should get what you want!