It always blows me away to think that one of the most technologically advanced products in the market comes with little to no direction on how to use it. Remember that moment when you opened your first box from Apple? Did you look for the instructions? If you are a guy you likely did not, but if you had, you would know that there isn’t much to read. If you can make something that complex, that simple, don’t you think we should be able to make things a little easier in the mattress industry?
Why is it that we have 40 or sometimes 50 beds on retail floors for consumers to shop? I understand a consumer wants choice, but seriously?!? I’m not saying that we open stores with one mattress on the floor but would 10 work? How about 15? My question to you is do you think that all of those beds staring your customer in the face is a little intimidating? Of course it is. As a matter of fact they tell us that it is and we keep things the same in spite of the negative feedback.
Going back to my days at Serta when I was selling to Sam’s Club, Sam’s had just two to three sku’s to sell from and we grew that business into one of the five largest mattress retailers in the country. QVC, HSN, and Shop NBC sell one bed at a time, not to mention all of the e-commerce people out there today. Back of the napkin guess says that collectively, if you stir Costco into this group, these guys are doing $500-750 million in business. Not bad for people that don’t offer up many choices.
Your right if your thinking that these are much different channels of distribution and that in order to prevent paralysis by analysis, you have to limit the offering but there is something to learn here. The consumer likes things simple. If you can take something that is complex and make it very easy to understand/shop for, don’t you think you might gain some benefit from that? Some producers and retailers offer a comfort testing system so that you can answer some questions and the computer can narrow that massive offering down to a handful of beds to look at. Mattress Firm has their approach to simplifying things using Comfort By Color to help organize the shopping experience. Are you doing something unique to help the consumer figure it all out?
Let’s not OVER simplify the very difficult job of the retailer by hitting the “easy button” saying that less sku’s is going to deliver the same sales but is it possible when done the right way? (You can’t just offer less sku’s and leave it at that. The new approach will require a brand new business strategy from top to bottom.)
What do you think, could retailers save some money by cutting back their square footage and offering less choice supported by a selling process customized for such an experience?
Bonus #1: My man Mark Kinsley is at it again with a fun marketing campaign for Leggett and Platt’s Quantum Edge product. Quantum Edge is a terrific steel border that encases your innerspring core so that you don’t have to use foam anymore. Why get rid of foam? Because Quantum performs better says Kinsley which is good enough for me. I am a big believer in the product and actually sleep on my new Spink and Edgar mattress that features….you guessed it, Quantum Edge. No foam in our beds!!! Check out their new web series called “Edge Heads.” Great to see companies out there getting creative in their approach to market. WELL DONE! (You gotta see what happens in the Titanic scene. So sad to know that Quantum Edge could have saved that poor girl.)
Bonus #2: My buddies Tony and Terry Pearce invented a new bed they call Purple. I am sure you have seen some of their very creative marketing with this new e-commerce product. I know these guys well enough to know that getting this creative with their marketing was not easy to agree to so my hat is off to them for busting through the comfort zone bubble. Anyway, check out their very first review from Sleepopolis HERE. Congratulations guys!