I want to share with you my recipe for elevating your mattress buying experience, so you can compete on a higher, more profitable ground with online sellers, chains, clubs, big boxes, home improvement and department stores. (That competition list keeps getting longer, doesn’t it?)
There’s a lot of talk today about the “buying experience” and most of that talk is focused on the in-store shopping experience. While an elevated in-store experience is needed and important, it’s only one of eight pillars that supports succeeding and selling the mattress buying experience and cultivating a steady flow of customers.
For the mattress buying experience to matter and be enjoyed, there’s a lot of work that must be done up front. Google refers to this as the zero moment of truth; I liken it to the movie Inception. How soon, and subsequently how deep, will you implant your value experience in a customer’s mind when they embark on their mattress buying journey?
How well does the typical, seen everywhere, product/price/promotion advertising work for you? Does this create an Inception-like moment in which your potential customer makes a true connection or are you just one of many?
Advertising that stands out while garnering serious attention. Here’s a test. Gather all your advertisements and your competitors’, cut off the logos and store info. Can you tell them apart? Can your customers? Are your ads focused on actual sleep benefits or are they all pictures, pricing and deadlines? How well does your advertising convey your in-store experience?
Market and advertise to cultivate the right customer for your store. Are you tired of only price shoppers and cheap mattress buyers coming into your store? It’s likely a result of your advertising. Want more people buying premium sleep systems? Check your marketing message and advertising. How good of a job are you doing communicating to the buyers you want in your store? It’s smart, to market to the exact audience you want to work with in your store.
Transform old advertising into information-first marketing. The reality is that information-first marketing has stood the test of time for more than 100 years. No other advertising media I know of, besides direct mail, has stood the test of time like this and offered predictable and profitable results. Ostermoor Mattress first offered a helpful buying guide to elevate the mattress buying experience in 1903 and today in our stores we do the same with our three mattress buyers’ guides. All three are properly pointed at the right market.
Plant and nurture leads until they swing through your front door. Businesses that make the most offers win. And businesses that make offers congruent with where the lead is in the mattress buying journey often cultivate and nurture that lead into a paying customer at faster rates with higher profits. Those who use effective email marketing, employ a proper digital strategy and combine offline efforts with online efforts will see their traffic counts remain steady with leads who become great mattress buyers.
Offer an incredible in-store experience. This is more than just the basic comfort test, “It’s great! I sleep on that mattress” statement, and “I’ll take $100 off if you buy it today” gyrations. An in-store experience encompasses these precise and proven systems:
- A scripted sales greeting that properly engages and welcomes customers to your store, comfortably.
- A customer lounge so you have a place to have a focused dialogue on how your solutions fit their needs. Take the focus off the white rectangle and direct it back to their needs and how you can meet and exceed their expectations.
- A choreographed sleep assessment so you and your staff are presenting your solutions the same way every time so your customer experiences the very best you have for them to purchase.
- Be able to have the customer affirm you are right for them and the mattress set you propose is a fit. In other words, affirm and not hard sell. No one likes to be sold, they like to discover, connect with and affirm that you are right for their needs.
Stop burning the “be-back” bridge. If your best attempts to connect, diagnose and prescribe a proper fit don’t turn into a sale, stop burning bridges. You can still profit from be backs (yes, they exist and they are profitable) but you simply must have a well thought out, proper follow-up system in place to convert be backs into sales.
WOW your customers. Gone are the days of transactional success. No longer is it good enough to simply exchange the white rectangle for the green cash. That’s done all day every day at the big box, club and department stores and often those types of stores have a far better level of affinity than we have.
If you seek to wow customers with special unannounced gifts on delivery, personal and relevant special offers, properly communicated expectations and next steps and a high level of customer care along the way (e.g. delivery drivers proactively call ahead with an updated ETA, wear shoe protection in the home, etc.) they will rave about your business.
Curate social proof. An abundance of social proof and positive online reviews helps support Pillar #1 and closes the loop on properly selling the mattress buying experience in your store. Since most all customers begin their shopping journey online, having many online reviews is a critical key for success today.
Curate reviews and testimonials from your customers by having a system at the point of sale to ask for a review with every sale. We offer our customers the opportunity to review us and be part of a monthly review contest in which they are entered when they review our store.
The more focus you put on gathering reviews the more you will get. Of all the pillars, this is the simplest, easiest path to quick success and helps support the others.
If you commit to these eight pillars when it comes to selling the mattress buying experience you will see your sales grow and profits skyrocket.