Last week I talked about the advantages that the brick and mortar, (B&M) guys have over e-commerce companies selling sleep products primarily online. Today, I want to flip that over and share some thoughts on why the digital approach to this category is capturing most of the growth in the market. As a reminder to everyone, this is just one guy’s opinion so be sure to share thoughts wherever you might be reading this.
- Giving consumers a choice on what to buy is a good thing, HOWEVER, you know what they say about too much of a good thing. E-commerce companies have really done a great job of simplifying the purchase of a bed. I am not of the mind that there is one bed for everyone, but to not have to decide against 50 different products feels a little less intimidating to the consumer; especially if there is no one there to facilitate the sale. Bed in a box company’s (BIB) are starting to expand their offering so we will see how far they take it.
- Not only have BIB companies made the decision-making process easy, they have taken the pushy retail sales associate out of the picture. This isn’t a fair thing to point out for all of the retailers that have created good buying experiences for the consumer, but there are plenty of stores out there with the “used car” mentality. That and many people today prefer to buy things online because they are just used to it now and when you consider the 10’s of thousands of positive reviews from consumers buying a bed from a website, they make a pretty good case for purchasing this way. If your in-store experience isn’t good enough for her to tell a friend about when she leaves, why should she even come in?
- When you consider which bedding brands are spending the marketing money at the national level, the advantage definitely goes to the BIB guys. If they own the share of voice the way that they do, they are going to get the attention, click, view, share, and eventually the sale.
- It’s not just that they are advertising more, take a look at the message the BIB guys are delivering. I visited some of the top retail B&M websites against the top BIB websites and you know what one of the biggest differences was aside from design? Message. If all you do in your marketing is pimp the sale, then you are building no value with the consumer. Don’t stop at retail, it’s the same for many of the manufacturer’s websites. If you have products that deliver a wonderful night of sleep, fix her problems, and help her achieve a better quality of life, don’t you think this is something we should share? Of course you need to tell them that you have products cheaper than anyone else, and make sure they know about your financing options, but if you don’t BUILD VALUE in the products that you sell, you are missing out in a big way. (That financing plug is a shout out to my good buddy and loyal Q’s View’s reader Dan White at West Creek Financial . 🙂 Don’t take my word for it, visit some of these sites for yourself and see who builds value and who doesn’t. If you’re buying a new pair of dress shoes and the guy selling you spends 98% of his time on how cheap his stuff is instead of how great his products are, what kind of impression does it give you?
- Since we’re on the marketing message, what group does a better job actually connecting to the consumer these days and by connecting I mean making the consumer actually FEEL SOMETHING? (Consumers make buying decisions based on emotion right?) Who has the more creative approach to telling their story? Who makes it more fun to shop for a bed? If you insist on looking at this category through the same old lens, then you are going to suffer the fate of the buggy whip. Many of the BIB guys were never mattress people to begin with so their comfort zone is much larger than many of the long-time industry people and it shows in what is being said to the consumer.
Here’s the good news for both sides, there’s plenty of business out there for the people that are willing to grow with the market, build solid strategy based on what’s going on around them, and form strong relationships with other companies that can help them achieve the end goal of profitability. I don’t care if you’re ringing people up with a brick or a click, my question to you is simple; are you skating to where the puck is or to where the puck is going?