Even before the invention of television and the internet, pop culture has played a huge part in influencing consumers’ decisions. It may have even played a part in a purchase you’ve made.
And because it has such influential power, it’s essential that we in the real world remember the difference between reality and fiction.
Though they are not real, TV shows and movies can warp people’s thoughts on all kinds of products — like mattresses, for instance.
Here’s an example I recently came across.
Based on a book by Octavia E. Butler, “Kindred” is a new show on Hulu that focuses on time travel and other supernatural happenings. And there was one scene involving a mattress store that was almost more unrealistic than the premise of the show.
A woman went mattress shopping and after testing the resilience of exactly one mattress, she told the salesperson — who was across the showroom, nowhere near her — that this was the one. He replied that it was $7,000 and the woman carelessly waved a gesture of approval.
There are two things wrong with this scene.
1. A lot of bedding research shows that the average consumer spends between $1,000 and $3,000 on a mattress, so the fact that the show casually acted as if $7,000 was a “regular” price for the average consumer is absurd.
2. If people think basic mattresses are that expensive, they may put off getting a new one even longer than they already have — or worse, look online for a cheap one. That’s why educating the customer right the first time they come in is so critical to making sales — don’t miss that window of opportunity.
This may seem like a small example, but it’s subtle ideas like this that can seep into people’s brains and eventually cause them to change their thinking — even subconsciously.
And let’s not forget, some pop culture references to mattresses are pretty funny — like this clip from “Friends” where the Mattress King delivers Monica a race-car bed. But unfortunately, they can still warp people’s way of thinking about buying a mattress or mattress salespeople.
Regardless of the manner in which the media portrays mattresses, it’s the retailer’s job to make sure the customer knows the reality of mattress shopping and, most importantly, how the mattress is going to help them.
And education goes beyond knowing product specs — it’s actually explaining the benefits of the mattress in a way an average person can understand.
Education is the retailer’s most powerful weapon when it comes to disinformation — whether it’s spread purposely or through pop culture — and the more the industry can educate consumers the more it benefits everyone involved.