In a recent blog post of mine, I pointed out that the industry doesn’t do a very good job of listening to one of its most important audiences – the retail sales associates, or RSAs. This group of people works the most closely with the consumer; understands their wants and needs better than most of us in the industry; and pretty much makes it happen for the other sectors of the bedding world. We don’t sell tick (the fabric the bed is wrapped in), springs, foam, machines, thread or finished product of any kind unless they are doing their job. Why aren’t more companies reaching out to RSAs and tapping into their collective wisdom and experience? How often do finished bed producers utilize this group early in the product development lifecycle to create new sleep solutions? Shouldn’t suppliers make use of RSAs’ knowledge in developing the next best component? Who better to communicate the desires of the consumer than someone who works in that setting every day? Why don’t we take advantage of that data set? Do we really understand the voice of the RSA?
I say we don’t, which is why Leggett & Platt is creating a unique online community designed specifically for the RSA. It is a place where RSAs can go to learn, earn money, share stories about good and bad customer experiences and give each other tips on how to sell products in this industry. Our hope is that this community, and the information that is shared within it, will create a platform for best practices among retailers. Entertainment will be featured in the form of two web series and a comic strip, written specifically for the bedding industry. Additionally, the cornerstone of the community is a very cool trivia game that will launch on May 27. It will give away up to $150 a day for 100 days, with a $10,000 grand prize to be split between the RSA and his or her store.
If we can engage this group of people, think about all of the things we can learn. If we’re going to grow as an industry in the near future, it’s going to be important to bring the opinion of RSAs into the conversation, and then give that opinion serious consideration. This group can network, learn and grow from the shared community, therefore getting better at their craft, and as a result, sell more sleep products. That would be good for everyone in the business.
After talking to a few large producers and retailers, it’s clear to me that many of us out there are NOT doing a good of job listening to this group. There is a lot of knowledge just waiting to be mined.I can’t wait to start asking the the RSA community some of the questions that we ASSUME we know the answers to.
Not to mention that this industry could use a little of the fun factor. This might be just the place to get it.
What am I missing? What are you thinking?
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.