Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Start With A Pillow

I sold Thom McAn shoes through high school and in college sold shoes at Nordstrom's. After the sale I tried to sell a pair of sneakers with the dress shoes, or a purse with pumps or polish. With men I tried for shoe laces and polish. 

What fascinates me about the selling process is the point where you try to add bedding  to the mattress sale. Is the customer upgrading from full mattress to Queen or Queen to King sized mattress, then they need mattress covers and sheets and pillows and blankets. Then where do you bring up the health issues of bed bugs and dust mites and how to protect the sleep environment from these pests, and also the air in the room. If you wait until the end to discuss add-ons the customer is going to start screaming, "Get me out of here!"

In the latest issue of "Furniture World" there's a fascinating article titled Sleep Essentials about the sleep industry and bedding.
We know from a recent study that 60 percent of consumers within two to three weeks of buying a new mattress end up purchasing new pillows, a mattress protector, sheets and other top of bed items. It’s just natural for them to want to start with a cleaner, healthier environment.
 “We’ve found that about 28 percent of customers, when they buy a new mattress, also end buying a whole bunch of new stuff that day...Once they’ve purchased the mattress, this group is going to buy a pillow and a new set of sheets somewhere. That’s just what they do anyway. They would never dream of putting old stuff on their new bed.”

The author Russell Bienenstock says retailers have had great success starting with the pillow. Give the customers a choice of pillows at the start. In fact the pillow they choose gives a good indication of what kind of bed they will choose. Provide freshly laundered pillow covers for the pillows, then let the customers carry the pillow around as they try different beds.

Some retailers throw in pillows for free.  The study says watch how your customer holds the pillow.  If the customer holds it by the top, then not much value is placed on the pillow. However, if the customer cuddles the pillow or carries it like a baby, then you have a pillow sale.

Now it feels like you are a professional, selling a healthy sleep system rather than just a mattress. I know the successful Bedroom furniture retailers sell that way.
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