The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

Posted Leave a commentPosted in advertising, e-commerce, furniture, marketing, mattresses, Retail, service, Sleep

Want to be a step ahead of the game? Let’s see if we can’t figure out where this business is going and be a part of that change instead of a victim of it. I have speculated in the past about certain aspects of our future state but never like I am going to attempt to do in this post so take a look and push back where it makes sense.  So what does a mattress store or department look like in the future?

Less is more: I think we’re learning some lessons from the guys online like you don’t need 50 beds to drive sales. Is choice a good thing? You bet it is, but how much choice do you really need? If you have ever been a part of any consumer research projects you will know that shoppers freak out when they first see all of the beds they have to choose from. “Where do I even begin?” We already know that the process is confusing for her and when you have a sea of beds to pick from you’re not helping matters. What if you were to put every sku through the following filters? Does it feel TOTALLY different than anything else in my line? Is the technology, therefore, the consumer benefit COMPLETELY different than anything else in my line? Is the bed tech legit or just more marketing BS? Does it offer something compelling to the consumer that I don’t have with another product? Does it deliver big tickets and big margins compared to everything else I have? Run with this exercise and see what you come out with. If you reduce sku’s you can shrink your store size/rents and inventory cost. Doing this could allow you to allocate more money for customer acquisition which would drive sales. 

Product shift: The brands in this industry have always blurred together. (See this past post for some more clarity on that subject.) It used to be that the “S” brands created an awareness with the consumer that drove some trust and preference. I’m not saying that brand awareness has no value but I can tell you that it means a lot less than it used to. Brands are not advertising much these days, almost nobody knows what they stand for, (including the people running the companies) and with the consumer ratings and review sites, the trust factor can be satisfied in many other ways. So if you’re a retailer paying a premium for some of those brands, it just doesn’t make sense. There is a move away from brands and into private label and I think that trend only grows.  Companies like Purple, Leesa, and Casper are the guys spending the money these days and should they choose to sell the brick and mortar guys, they are going to be able to make a better case for floor space than most. If you are not spending $50 million a year in building your brand then you had better deliver a product that is unlike anything else out there. It needs to be compelling, profitable, easy to sell and sought after by the consumer. If you are selling foam, latex, or springs without a very unique selling proposition to create some separation, then things are going to become much more difficult. If I just defined your company, you need to make sure that you are the low-cost supplier and have the marketing chops to help your retail partners create their private label programs.

Serve your audience: The consumer is getting smarter every day because they are being armed with more and more information. The review sites arm them with data (not all of which is good), and given the trend to shop online and avoid the mattress shopping experience, retailers are going to have to figure out better ways to create a process that sets them aside from everyone else selling sleep products. It might be the use of technology to fit someone for the right products, or a better way to actually prove that the products that they buy really do work. But that experience is what will draw people in and create the word of mouth marketing necessary to make you the preferred place to buy. If you want to earn the business you’re going to have to serve the consumer in new ways that add value during the shopping process or years later in your post-sale relationship. That’s right. Stop thinking about this as a transaction and more like a relationship and you will get to the good stuff.

Good enough: The growth of e-commerce in our category will be limited only by the percentage of consumers out there that believe a bed purchased online is “good enough” for them. Based on my experience with consumer segmentation research, the groups listed below are most likely the ones that will buy their mattress online.

  • Value shopper: That price sensitive buyer that is only after the best deal.
  • I can sleep anywhere: This is the consumer that isn’t all that worked up over the comfort of the bed and is happy catching Z’s just about anywhere. They want a good bed but would rather spend their money on other things.
  • Short timer: This is the consumer that is shopping for a short-term solution. They could be in transition from their parent’s house to a dorm or apartment or buying a bed for a guest room or second home. These guys aren’t going to keep the bed for long or sleep on it all that often so what they buy isn’t that big of a deal.

The consumer groups likely to buy at their local store:

  • Refuge seeker: This person looks at the master suite as their ultimate getaway at the end of the day and their mattress is a very important part of that special place they can go to unwind.
  • Luxury lover: Some people just want the best and they are going to want to see that mattress for themselves, touch it, feel it, and know that it’s something special before they write that big check. (I mean swipe that card, does anyone write checks anymore?)
  • Healthy sleeper: For the consumer that really understands that sleep is a health issue or for someone that might have a health problem. These guys want to test these products out to make sure that they find the solution they are looking for.

All of this to say, it’s possible that the brick and mortar store really becomes the place that consumers go in search of a special service that can only be delivered by a human, and to see a product that is higher in price and not likely to be sold sight unseen. The average unit selling price in stores will likely push higher, as e-commerce guys grow their business at $1,200 price points and below taking that market share from traditional channels.

Ticket growth: I think that we’re just now beginning to see the possibilities of top and bottom line growth that come from products like pillows, protectors, sheets, and other items connected to the mattress purchase. Developing great selling process, compelling displays and merchandising assortments aren’t just for the cutting edge retailer, they are going to be mandatory programs if you really want to thrive in the category. Let’s not stop with the typical products however, when you consider the entire eco-system of sleep think about your possibilities. Food, drinks, music, meditation, chairs, books, candles, apps etc. There are so many items in the market that can help consumers get better sleep and they could all be supplied by a mattress store in the future. Afterall, think of the money you’re going to be able to spend on new items after you move into smaller stores and reduce your mattress sku’s. 🙂 If your intention really is to help your customer sleep better, can you really do that by just selling them a mattress and pillow?

Sorry for the long post this week but there was a lot to say on this topic. So what am I missing? Tell me in the comments section. Serve this one up in your weekly meeting and see where it goes; it may surprise you.

 

 

 

 

 

Because Reality Is Real

Posted Leave a commentPosted in culture, fun, marketing, mattresses

I bought a movie for family movie night this weekend that really forced a guys movie night because as soon as the girls found out it was about gaming, they took off. Sorry girls, we’re up for the chic flick next time.

The movie was called Ready Player One and it’s about this guy who creates an incredible virtual world called The Oasis. In the Oasis you can be who or what you want, dress how you want, all just to escape your reality and have a little fun. Harmless right? Not really because in this movie, Virtual Reality (VR), is a little too good and people become totally lost in the game. They go to their job every day, but come home and live a different life as someone else in VR giving all of their time and attention to what’s happening online and less to what’s around them in real life. Thank goodness this is just a movie right?

You have dinner in a restaurant and as you look around everybody has their phone out barely engaged with the people at their table. My daughter and her friends sit in the pit group NEXT TO EACH OTHER, and are staring at their phones talking about friends who just posted to their “story”. My son’s body and mind have officially been taken over by Fortnite. For those of you who don’t have teenage kids this is the latest gaming sensation that is sort of like a cross between Hunger Games, Minecraft, and a first-person shooter game. He puts on his headset, connects with his buddies, and loses himself for hours in search of that big win. Let’s not take aim solely at the younger generation, how are you when it comes to your own digital diversions? How much time are you spending on your social media platforms? How about shopping on your favorite retail app? My point here is that people today have so many things fighting for their time and attention that if you want to break through all of this noise you need to really think about your approach.

Are you meeting people where they are? Is your message strong enough to capture the hearts and minds of your audience? As a follow-up comment to my post last week, do you think for a second that ads screaming promotion are going to break through? It’s all just a bunch of noise unless you hit people with things that genuinely impact their lives and the great news is, we have products that can do that. Technology is only going to get better, games more interesting, and apps more engaging, so the need to figure this space out only grows by the day.

This research says that we spend 90 minutes a day or 23 days a year on our mobile devices. What could you do with an additional 23 days a year? Do you have phone rules at home during dinner time, or when you go on vacation as a family? Do you make people shut off phones in your meetings? Tell us in the comments section!

Ever get tripped up because you were on your phone? These people did.  🙂

 

 

Does “Over Promotion” De-Value Your Company?

Posted 1 CommentPosted in advertising, creativity, furniture, Leadership, Management, marketing, mattresses, Retail

I know that I am a broken record on this but given the approach many people are taking when it comes to their advertising, it’s clear that we still have some opportunities out there.

Purple has been running a new ad lately, or at least it’s new to me. They start with some bedroom talk to get your attention. Then they immediately begin building value in the science of Purple as it relates to delivering comfort and pressure relief. They are fun, easy to listen to, and even incorporate a call to action asking you to text them for more information. Yes, they hit you with a promotion at the end but it’s a small part of their message.

Contrast that to what we see out there with most retailers today. How much of the marketing message these days is product/price/promotion vs. building value with in-store experience or products? Who do you think is getting the best results and growing the fastest? Sleep Number just posted an 11% growth in revenue and their marketing message is all about building value in their products and the connection they have to living a better life. How many retailers do you know of running ahead 11%?

 

If you don’t believe that the products you sell can deliver better sleep, therefore a better quality of life, then start reading up on the subject. If you don’t believe that building value in what you do is better than de-valuing what you do by a focus on cutting the price, then do a deep dive on the companies enjoying the most growth in the category. And if you don’t have products worth talking about, then come see me in Vegas this next week at space C1595. I have something special for you to see. 🙂 People have money right now. Are YOU fishing with the right bait?

 

 

 

 

 

#Whywait?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in charity, faith, Leadership, purpose

Have you ever heard the saying, “Be kind, always, because you have no idea what others are going through.” Empathy for others is important.

As you may have heard in a Dos Marcos podcast, Roger Magowitz has asked me to be the Honorary Chairman of the Seena Magowitz Charity Golf Classic this year in Boston. I wasn’t sure that Roger was making the best choice, however, because I didn’t have the big company resources behind me like previous Chairman Karl Glassman- CEO of Leggett and Platt, Gary Fazio-CEO Serta/Simmons Bedding, and Steve Stagner-CEO of Mattress Firm. Roger didn’t care about that because he knew I had a passion for his organization given my past involvement, and he thought I could bring something different to the event. That much I thought I could do, so here we are.

The challenge became how do we raise awareness about pancreatic cancer, bring in some money, and welcome new attendees to the Magowitz event if you don’t have a big company supporting you? You reach out to others in the industry and ask them for help. I created a small Advisory Board of friends that are leaders in their companies, and they helped me brainstorm and devise a way to accomplish these goals and I think we have landed on something that can be pretty incredible with your help.

Imagine for a minute that you went to the doctor’s office and got the news that you had pancreatic cancer. The doc proceeds to tell you that this is a pretty nasty disease and chances are you don’t have a lot of time left. It’s this exact scenario that thousands must face every year when they are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I spoke of empathy before…when you put yourself in their shoes, what impact will it have on you? That’s the catalyst behind the movement we’ve created called #whywait. Go to your favorite social media platform and use some of the marketing assets we have produced, download them from THIS LINK, and post an image along with this question, “What 4 things would you do if you only had 6 months left to live?” Tag your friends and make sure to use the hashtag #whywait and the following link so your audience can learn more. http://www.seenamagowitzfoundation.org/whywait/

CLICK HERE

I recently posted this to my personal Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and it’s pretty awesome to see the impact that question is having on people. When you pause and take a minute to consider this question, it will really get you to thinking and when I answered it myself, it was actually a little tough. I came to the realization that I wasn’t spending enough time with my 16-year-old daughter Gabby, and if I didn’t correct it, I was going to regret it later. Good news is, she and  I agreed to fix that.  Here’s my list, what’s yours?

  1. Plan a trip with the family to Europe. (On calendar for 2020.)
  2. Spend more time on dates with my daughter.
  3. Make Friday night date night with my wife.
  4. Write a book. (I’ve already started.)

It will be very easy for you to read this post and quickly move on to e-mail or making calls. Please don’t do that. Take a minute to make your list, even if you don’t share it. When you finish your list, start crossing things off like I have. I plan to post pictures of date night and other things as I LIVE MY LIFE and post them with the hashtag #whywait.

Can you give any of this to your company to get them involved by posting things to your social media accounts? Customers LOVE TO SEE companies that have compassion for things other than selling their own stuff! If you’re interested and want some more information, learn how to donate to the Seena Magowtiz Foundation, or see a list of the companies involved on the Advisory Board, click on THIS LINK.

A big thanks to Dr. Dan Von Hoff and the people at TGen, because they are looking after these pancreatic cancer patients and working hard towards a cure and early detection. I know the TGen group personally and I’m telling you that they are compassionate, caring people that really want to help those suffering. Please help me help them and get involved in the #whywait movement.

I am also very grateful to my friend Karl Glassman at Leggett and Platt. When he found out that Roger was asking me to be this year’s Honorary Chairman he told me that I had full access to Leggett’s resources which has been a HUGE help to me. The video and the graphics were created by them not to mention a host of other things. A special shout-out to my good friend and Dos Marcos co-host Mark Kinsley. Mark oversees the Creative Services group at Leggett and has been a very big part of everything we’re doing. Also to my friends on the Advisory Board…your involvement is HUGE so THANK YOU in advance for what we are about to do.

#WHYWAIT-get involved.

 

 

 

 

Stuck

Posted 5 CommentsPosted in creativity, e-commerce, furniture, Leadership, Management, marketing, mattresses, Retail

Before I get started I wanted to let you know that we just released a really great podcast featuring Alex McArthur, the Chief Marketing Officer at Purple. Drop in and hear the behind the scenes story about their business and their rapid rise to the top of the e-commerce segment. This guy is awesome, and you don’t want to miss his story so check that out HERE.

Things are really tough right now for some in the industry. There are legitimate competitive pressures out there making growth difficult so I feel for them when they say they are struggling.

My problem is I have a hard time being compassionate towards people that want to complain about business when they aren’t doing anything different to drive better results. If your partners aren’t supporting you or if they are not lined up with your best interest, get new ones. Not getting the traffic you used to? Then stop advertising the same way you always have. Closing rates dropping? Then move your people around for a better result. Not capturing any of the online business because your digital strategy isn’t what it should be? Start learning your way into that world because it’s not going away.

I realize that this is me hitting the easy button, but it’s time to get inspired and find your path. Do NOT follow the rest of the industry, carry the same products everyone else has, give away adjustable bases just because everyone else is. There is a big idea waiting for you if you just start opening more doors.

Not sure why it happens but sometimes we just get stuck. We are trapped in this place and just can’t seem to get any traction to improve on where we are. If you look back on your own life think about what happened in the past to get you…un-stuck. Was it an event that took place that rattled your cage? Was it a person that pushed on you to get you to see the light? Was it inspiration from an unlikely source?

There are people having record years in the same economy, with the same competitive pressures so there is no reason that can’t be you. Keep pushing, the answer is there waiting.