I’m a dual editor. By day, Bedding News Now. And also by day, Casual News Now, a news and intelligence source for the outdoor furnishings industry.
The similarities between the two categories cannot be denied, and I find them intriguing.
- Both mattress retailers and outdoor retailers sell expensive products. Most quality outdoor furniture can be as expensive as a mattress, if not more — and that’s just for a dining set without the chairs.
But the key to selling expensive products is to make the benefits — not features — known. Tell the customer how it’s going to help them sleep or relax by the pool. These products also both have long life spans, so communicating that to the consumer is critical.
- Outdoor retailers run in small but strong packs. Sure, there are behemoths like Chair King or Mattress Firm, but a majority of retailers in the casual industry are smaller one- to three-store mom-and-pop shops, just like a lot of mattress stores.
That means these retailers can share in-store strategies or talk about how to plan in-store events, and they can talk about what’s working and what isn’t. There’s power in numbers, and experimenting with an idea tailored to your store is the only way you’re going to know if something works.
- Both product categories require a lot of intricate product knowledge. And not only do sales associates need to know what they are talking about, but they also need to be able to relay the information back to customers in a way that makes sense.
When you’re selling a mattress — a product some might call a pure commodity — you have to be able to explain the differences in the products. And when you’re selling furniture that is going to be kept outside, you have to explain why it’s going to survive the elements.
I don’t think any mattress retailers are going to start carrying outdoor furniture, or vice versa — though I may have just offered someone a million-dollar idea. But looking at how they are alike, comparing strategies and sharing creative ideas can help both types of retailers succeed.