With online mattress sales soaring, mattress stores must update their websites and technology to compete, which will require some spending from the marketing budget. Rest assured, the investment is worth it. Millennial Molly Zentz prefers to shop online for furniture. Recently, she purchased a mattress for her guest room. “We purchased the mattress online after visiting a few mattress stores and comparing those to websites,” Zentz says. “Really, we do most of our shopping online, but sometimes visit stores to see things in person.”
While research shows that furniture and mattress shoppers prefer to touch and try products in person, those shoppers have increasingly started to go home and compare prices and shipping options online before making a purchase decision. Delivering customer service and innovative technology to these informed buyers makes the difference for successful mattress stores.
“Your customer experience has to match the convenience of shopping online.”
-Justin Vandagriff, Vice President of Client Services at R&A Marketing.
Vandagriff says the mattress market is certainly one place online retailers are winning the battle against traditional furniture stores. To succeed, retailers must help customers find the right mattress for them and deliver great service, and that begins with the mattress store website where most customers start their research. To do that, mattress stores need to make room in their marketing budgets for results-driven solutions to compete in the online marketplace and against big box retailers.
“Over the last year, companies that offer mattresses shipped to your door in a box-type solution are reaching and exceeding the $100 million sales mark,” Vandagriff says. “The easy process of purchasing a mattress online — the convenience, perceived value savings — has put pressure on our retailers to start thinking outside of the box when promoting mattresses.”
Mattress Shoppers Seek Information First
“As a household item used daily but bought infrequently, mattresses are quite the investment for many furniture shoppers”, says Ben McClure, co-owner of Gardner’s Mattress & More in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
“Subsequently, mattress shoppers seek education and information before even visiting a store,” McClure says. “Those who find the info they’re looking for understand the importance of sleep, are more informed shoppers and invest more in a great mattress.”
McClure says the PERQ offerings featured on his website are an opportunity to communicate with these information-seekers and start the sales process prior to a visit, such as a mattress assessment that helps online visitors narrow down the best mattress type to improve their sleep.
“The information from the mattress assessment is important to understand the consumer mindset and the leads it generates are an open door to start a conversation before a consumer visits,” McClure says.
Mattress Stores Must Focus on Service
McClure knows all about converting sales as the co-founder of Automatic Mattress Profits, a coaching and consulting service to help independent mattress retailers create a better buying experience.
He teamed up with AMP co-founder Jeff Giagnocavo when Gardner’s original owner was struggling amid the recession. Giagnocavo invested in Gardner’s and the two turned around the store’s future by focusing on educational, information-first selling and creating an excellent customer service experience. They’ve since teamed up with international marketing expert Mike Capuzzi to form AMP’s parent company, Infotail Systems, with a goal to assist other independent mattress retailers to achieve similar success.
Giagnocavo advises mattress retailers to stop focusing solely on price and product promotions, and instead invest in marketing strategies that give measurable results and offer a unique service. “Deliver an experience unlike any other,” he says. “Focus on the experience of buying a new mattress and what a custom-fit sleep solution can do for your customer, and you will win the battle against any online or local competitor.”
Consumer Berneda Horan recently filled out a mattress assessment on a local retailer’s website and says websites with online research tools like the mattress assessment make her more inclined to buy from that store. “Because I’m a single, handicapped woman, my main purchase point is service,” she says.
Invest in Results-Driven Solutions in Your Marketing Budget
“Most think that a new product or service will be their solution to increasing sales,” Giagnocavo says.
“The reality is the best product mix in the world means nothing if you can’t get people into the store.”
He suggests mattress retailers start with an effective marketing message, driven by advertising that moves the consumer to action, preferably with a direct visit or call to the store. Because most shoppers prefer to do research online, that approach often results in more consumers visiting a store’s website. Make the most of those visitors by implementing useful technology on your mattress retail website.
“Having a solution to convert visitor count, page views, time on site, etc., into real people interested in your products is very valuable,” Giagnocavo says. “When we saw the PERQ solution, we knew right away it could help us create a better user experience on our site and convert more shoppers.”
Online Presence is Everything for Mattress Retailers
Mattress shopper Molly Zentz says customer reviews and a presence on social media is important to her, something that’s often missing on local retailer websites but prominent on online shopping websites like Amazon. “Reviews are a big thing for me,” Zentz says. “I like to see that other people liked the product.”
Gardner’s Mattress invests in both, with customer reviews visible on the store’s home page. “We’re ever so connected to our phones and devices and there’s no shortage of information to find,” McClure says. “Social media outlets and review pages are key to building trust, and websites are a crucial component of telling the business’ story. The online presence is everything.”