From Home Furnishing Business
On Bedding : Just Heavenly
Pennsylvania-based Heavenly Bedrooms Keeps Its Business Simple, Honest
What’s in a name? Sometimes, everything.
That’s what the store now known as Heavenly Bedrooms found out, to its benefit. Previously known as Waterbed Heaven—and later, Waterbed Heaven Bedrooms—the Quakertown, Pa.-based retailer found that, as the bottom dropped out of the waterbed market, the store was probably losing business due to consumer perceptions.
“People didn’t realize we had more than waterbeds, and our conventional (bedding) sales were very slow,” recalled Linda Duell , who co-owns the store with her husband Brian. When the store opened in 1995, it was an all-waterbed business. By around 2005, it was half waterbeds and half conventional mattresses.
“We talked and prayed about what to do, and thought maybe a name change was in order. The very next day, we had 20 clients come in and they said, ‘You need to change your name. I never knew you had all this.’ So in 2007, we changed it to Heavenly Bedrooms. We then added Tempur-Pedic, and a year later, added Serta.”
The rest was history. Heavenly Bedrooms is now a leading bedding retailer in its area—not just because of the new name, but because of the Duells’ philosophy of treating customers right.
Turning Up the ‘HEAT’
“We follow these steps,” Duell said, “We call it HEAT. H is for Hear. E is for Empathize. A is for Apologize. T is for Take Action. … Our big saying for handling customer service is ‘the customer is always right and go from there.’ We always like to ask, ‘What would you like us to do for you?’ We never argue with them, just try and narrow it down to what it is they want to do, and then do it. You’ll find the client is never asking for anything unreasonable—they just want you to sympathize with them and correct it.”
This consideration for customers also impacts the Duells’ sales strategy as well. “We approach everyone with a smile and just a simple greeting,” Duell stated, “telling them our name and then welcoming them to our showroom. We like to tell the client upfront that we don’t work on commission, so we are just here to help select the right product. We are never pushy. It’s all about the client. We don’t follow close behind, but close enough that they know we are here. They really like this approach … they know we are here to help.
“We ask questions pertaining to the bed you have now and why you are replacing it,” she continued. “Is it too soft, too firm or just downright old? This helps us to narrow the search and direct you to a line of mattresses that will work best for your needs. We find most clients shopping today have pre-shopped online and already have an idea what they may be looking for—and now it’s time to try it.”
Show and Explain
Taking care of customers is a top priority for the Duells, and this begins the moment they enter the store. “They are why the sale even exist, so we don’t just talk—we show and explain everything,” Duell said. “We find the more the client is involved with the presentation, the more likely they are to understand the product and make a more-educated purchase. You can talk all you want, but until they see it or touch it, they just don’t get it.
“We feel it is really important to involve the client every step of the way through the purchase,” she continued. “That can be as simple as handing them the remote to a bed and (having) them play around with it (so) they can see how easy it is to use. … Get them involved—get them interested!”
Just Like At Home
While bedding stores often take a simple approach to merchandising, displaying plain mattresses with little else, leave it to Heavenly Bedrooms to do things a little differently.
“We like to display all our sets in an ‘at-home’ atmosphere—tastefully decorated and homey,” Duell said. “We want the client to feel at home and get a true idea on what it can look like at home. Too many stores are so sterile and don’t give the client any idea on what it’ll look like at home. Simple things like accessories, table lamps and pillows can really spruce up a display. We also make sure our store is clean and smells inviting (using a fragrant hot wax burner). We also make certain everything on display is properly set up—we’ve been to so many stores where the display is falling apart or is broken or even set up wrong—not good.”
A Heavenly Future
Looking forward, the Duells are more focused on growing their current location than expanding into new ones. “We don’t want to thin ourselves out, especially in this economy,” Linda Duell said. So to strengthen the Quakertown store, the business is looking to expand its online presence. “We are working on a new Web site—one with more search options, comparison options and product detail,” she stated. “We’re also working with an SEO (specialist) to get our site up to a higher ranking. Even though most of our business is local people, they are searching the Net first for what they are looking to purchase, so we feel it is very important to have a great Web presence.”
Long-term, the Duells, who took over the business from Brian’s parents, have a wish for the future: “We have two older sons—Lake, who is going into collision repair, and hopefully the youngest, Nathan, will want to be the start the third generation of Heavenly Bedrooms.”