In my house, my wife is the boss of just about everything, but she is NOT THE BOSS OF ME…(yeah right). She keeps the checkbook, manages the social calendar, keeps track of the kids’ activities, and makes almost all the purchasing decisions. By ALL, I mean everything from groceries and home furnishings to the clothes in my closet. However, when it comes to computers or electronics of any kind, I have to draw the line.
There was a recent survey featured in the April edition Sleep Savvy and Bed Times that I thought was really interesting. Fleishman-Hillard, a national public relations firm, partnered with Hearst Magazines to follow up on their 2008 study called “Women, Power & Money.” They updated the survey in September of 2011 and uncovered some really interesting information about shopping for home furnishings that the mattress industry should pay attention to.
Where women go for information
- The top three places women go for information during the learning phase of a purchase are: 1. Friends and family; 2. Spouse or partner; 3. Retail Sales Associates. Word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly important and that means you need to figure out what people are saying about your products and services and determine how to steer that conversation. More importantly, if the feedback is negative and people aren’t happy, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your business. In addition, ask yourself how much time you spend with RSAs doing product training, coaching them on the consumer, and simply learning from their daily experiences. They are very relevant in the sales process and the best team will win.
The factors that influence a purchase
- What information do women use to make a decision? Price leads that list, with quality of craftsmanship and quality of materials following close behind. As a component supplier, I enjoy hearing that craftsmanship and materials matter because it confirms what I have always felt. Since the downturn in the economy, there has been a major shift in the way people shop. Consumers are more discerning about how they spend their money. If you are going to sell them something in the big ticket category, you really need to build value more than ever. Banging the “quality” drum is fine, but if you don’t back it up with some narrative on how you achieve that quality, you will fall flat. What are you doing to highlight the components used in making the mattresses? See how my friend Simon Spinks does it when he talks about the wool his company puts in its products. This is NOT your average approach.
The Joint Decision
- Yes, the woman is powerful when it comes to mattress buying, but for big ticket purchases of $500 or more, about 85% of females say the buying decision should be a joint one. Of course you should consider the female buyer in about everything you do, but as I have said in past blogs, this is NOT a male-versus-female issue — it’s 100% about targeting the segment of the market that values sleep. Men are very much a part of this equation and if we lose sight of that, we will miss opportunities.
Thank you Julie Palm, Sleep Savvy, and Bed Times for printing this article. It is great information that I feel more people should be reading. The question is, what will we do with it?! How well do you focus on the impact of female influence? In the comments section below, share some of your experiences.