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Monthly Issue

From Home Furnishing Business

Editor's Note: Selling Sleep

  By Shiela Long O’Mara

   Whether we care to admit it or not, mattress shopping is unbelievably confusing and challenging for consumers. An unlimited number of choices exist; the rectangular cubes look the same; the endless ads can be overwhelming; the different construction options are mind-boggling; and typically, the mattresses are all lined up like little soldiers on parade. No wonder normal, everyday folks become so overwhelmed when shopping for the perfect night’s sleep. Add to that list that most consumers are sleep deprived, and we’ve got some serious issues. Statistics say the average adult needs between seven and nine hours a night of sleep. Of course, that can vary slightly depending on the person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, more than a third of U.S. adults sleep less than seven hours a night, and many report problems concentrating, remembering and yes, driving. Let’s face it folks, we’re tired, and we crave sleep! Americans filled about 60 million prescriptions for sleep pills last year—all in the endless quest for that elusive night’s sleep. That’s up from 47 million prescriptions in 2006, according to IMS Health, a health care services company that tracks such things. Everybody loves to get their fill of a good night’s sleep, but apparently from the stats, too few people are managing it. I’m not sure meds are the correct way to go about it. How about we as an industry get engaged in a comprehensive campaign to educate consumers about sleep, what it means to get a solid night’s rest and how to go about capturing that through the RIGHT sleep surface for each individual? Oh sure, we’ve talked about it, and some companies have even tried it. But the industry in total—as one combined entity—hasn’t pulled together to undertake a major collaborative marketing effort promoting the need for sleep and the importance of uncovering the perfect bed for each person. It’s the mattress category’s version of the dairy industry’s “Got Milk “campaign. Or, comparing apples to apples—the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing initiative to promote sleep through medication. Apparently, that approach is working seeing as they sold 60 million prescriptions for those sleep aids and the number continues to climb. Speaking of sleep woes.

 Have you looked down the street from your furniture store lately? Chances are there’s a dedicated mattress store within a stone’s throw. Chances are it just may be your target consumer’s first choice when she ventures out in search of a new place to rest her head. This month’s issue delves into the bedding category and where consumers tend to gravitate when they’re looking for a new mattress. The proliferation of bedding-only stores tells us there’s money to be made in the specialty shops, and those retailers are taking business away from the traditional furniture stores, who also happen to sell beds. Inside, you can explore a number of strategies from retailers when it comes to selling our industry’s most profitable category. Some are headed into dedicated stores; others have a store-within-a-store approach; while others are sticking to the tried and true. We’ve captured an abundance of information to help you rest a bit easier when it comes to selling mattresses. Read on and enjoy a good long nap upon completion.

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