Up Close and Personal

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Selling mattresses isn’t just about business. It’s about making lives better.

Someone recently asked me to name my favorite movies. I had to think about it for a minute. There are the obvious ones that I grew up with – “Star Wars: A New Hope,” “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and Disney movies, such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.” 

But my real favorites are the Nora Ephron movies of the ’80s and ’90s — “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.” I could watch them over and over. And I have. 

Unlike the movie "You've Got Mail," its all about personalized mattress shopping for your customers.

So, when I read back through this issue, it’s little surprise that a scene from “You’ve Got Mail” popped into my head.

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are sitting on their beds in their respective homes, laptops in front of them. He sends her a message: “I can give you advice. I’m great at advice.” 

She is struggling with the potential closing of her small, independent bookshop and she tells him her business is in trouble.

His advice is to fight. “You’re at war. It’s not personal. It’s business.”

That might be great advice for business owners. But if you remove the context, the sentiment “It’s not personal; it’s business,” feels wrong to me.

Many sleep shops succeed because they offer something personal. Our cover story, “A Concrete Tool in Your Advertising Toolbox,” shares a piece that’s often overlooked in marketing efforts — your brick-and-mortar store. While successful retailers have robust websites, they know their storefronts offer something important — an opportunity to touch, feel and rest-test a mattress before it enters someone’s home. Being able to find that just-right bed with the guidance of a knowledgeable retail sales associate and time to lie comfortably makes all the difference in the world. Mattresses are personal. Everyone has their own tastes, sleep issues and comfort preferences. And some extra touches, such as cooling covers and adjustable bases, are best experienced in-person.

Additionally, Julie A. Palm wrote about shoppers’ desire for curated selections and personalized products in this month’s Tip Sheet. The Future of Shopping Report from Synchrony finds that more than half of consumers would use personalization services if retailers offered them. While most mattresses can’t be customized, the growing trend of split head mattresses and adjustable bases make personalizing each side a bit easier. And don’t forget pillows. Fitting consumers for pillows that address their sleep positions and comfort goes a long way.

I also recommend checking out this month’s Retail Road Trip. We take a look back at the retailers we’ve visited over the past few years and see what lessons we can learn from them. Tip No. 1? Offer that personal touch.

Enjoy knowing that what you sell makes a difference in how people live their day-to-day lives. It’s more than business. It’s personal.