Bed frames and platform bases aren’t as sexy as adjustables but still provide value for shoppers
Stationary bed bases don’t have the power to raise heads and feet, massage lower backs or connect to smart devices in the home, but don’t call them basic.
These traditional bed frames and platforms play a key role in the sleep ensemble, chiefly by getting the mattress up off the floor and supporting it so it doesn’t dip or sag.
“I do not think most consumers know what is supporting the bed they have now,” says Brent Polunsky, sales manager for W. Silver Products, a maker of bed frames, platform bases and adjustable bases in El Paso, Texas. “But without the proper support, their new mattress and box spring will fail. A good bed frame or high-rise platform base is essential to the support and life of their mattress.”
Savvy retailers, of course, know this and can help consumers get the most out of their new mattress by offering a solid selection of stationary bases, from traditional steel rails to platforms. Platform bases, a bedding staple in other parts of the world, are increasingly popular in the United States, especially among younger consumers and those who prefer more streamlined bedroom décor or who would rather buy a mattress only and not a complete set.
And while stationary frames aren’t as flashy as their power-fueled cousins, they have their own consumer-enticing features. Here we’ll look at some bestselling frames and offer you ways to boost your sales.
The right fit
Hollywood Bed Frame Co.’s Lev-R-Lock Premium bed frame ($99) addresses many of the “pain points” some consumers have with the traditional steel bed frame, starting with recessing the frame’s legs to prevent stubbed toes. The steel frame features 1 ½-inch by 1 ½-inch side rails for mattress support and comes with heavy-duty headboard attachments, according to the company, which is based in Commerce, California.
It is available with either casters or glides (six legs in queen size and up), allowing it to work well on a variety of bedroom floors. These days, floor glides sell better than casters because of the popularity of hardwood and other smooth flooring, says Jonathan Mullinax, vice president of sales and marketing for the company’s Home Furnishings division. Customers or delivery teams can assemble the Lev-R-Lock Premium base without tools.
The company’s Mega Multi-Fit Universal steel bed frame ($159) has many of those same benefits but adds a double angle center support and a seventh leg, plus 2-inch by 1 ½-inch side rails for what the company describes as “mega support.” The frame can be adjusted to fit any standard bed size, enabling consumers to buy just one frame and use it if they ever purchase a different mattress size. The flexibility also allows retailers to reduce the number of frame SKUs they carry, Mullinax says.
Sitting atop Hollywood Bed Frame’s stationary base line is the EnForce platform base ($399). The company touts the platform’s “strong tubular steel construction,” which can support as much as 3,000 pounds, and its “easy slide lock assembly” — no tools required. For use without a box spring, the platform is perfect for foam mattresses, according to the company, and includes an upholstered cover in a neutral gray.
Designed with online sales in mind
Malouf’s bestselling traditional steel bed frame is its Universal model ($99), says Ashlee Willes, brand manager for the bedding and furniture maker based in Logan, Utah. As the name implies, it fits standard mattresses and foundations from twin through California king sizes. It has longer rails and a single-rail center support, plus as many as nine support legs in the company’s patented Tri-Support design. Consumers can choose locking rollers for carpeted floors or heavy-duty glides for hardwood surfaces.
The company’s newest frame, the DuoSupport ($249), has a sleeker modern design, plus recessed legs. Like the Universal, it adjusts to fit a full range of mattress sizes and comes with built-in headboard brackets that connect to most headboards.
But, overall, Malouf’s most popular stationary base is the HighRise LT platform ($199), Willes says. The base can support as much as 2,000 pounds but is lightweight and folds in half, making it easy to ship, move, set up — and sell online or in-store. “We developed this product with online fulfillment in mind and this is one reason why the HighRise LT frame continues to be our most popular foundation since we launched it six years ago,” Willes says. The HighRise LT also is ideal for smaller bedrooms because it “eliminates the need for an antiquated box spring and gives you 14 inches of extra storage space under the bed.”
A different angle
W. Silver Products is seeing increased interest in its steel IdealFrame ($159), a nine-legged, high-rise platform designed to support mattresses without traditional foundations. Consumers like it because it provides ample storage under the bed — and allows them to forgo purchasing a foundation, Polunsky says. Like the company’s other bed frames, it is tested to hold as much as 1,000 pounds.
The company produces two lines of traditional steel rail bed frames, Standard and Classic. Frames in the Standard line have 1 ½-inch angle side rails; those in the Classic line, which is the company’s bestselling family of bed frames, have 1 ¼-inch angle side rails, Polunsky says. The F55011 model retails for $69. The frames are available in configurations to fit any standard mattress size and come with either rolling feet for use on rugs or glides for use on hardwood and other smooth surfaces.
W. Silver Products has an advantage over competitors, Polunsky says, because its sister company, W. Silver Inc., is a steel mill. “This is where W. Silver Products gets its angle iron for our bed frames,” he says. “Because we manufacture our own angle iron, we can control the cost and quality of our bed frames — from the manufacture of the angle iron all the way to the finished product. We are the only bed frame manufacturer that owns their own steel mill.”
Sales strategies for Stationary Frames
Retailers can increase sales and better serve customers by “making selling the product under the mattress as much a focus as the top of bed,” says Jonathan Mullinax, vice president of sales and marketing for the Home Furnishings division of Hollywood Bed Frame Co. in Commerce, California. “After helping the consumer pick a great mattress, ask ‘What type of system would you like under your mattress? Platform, platform with storage, adjustable base or bed frame?’ ”
Are stationary bed frames an afterthought in your own in-store sales presentations? Here are some other easy ways to introduce them to your customers and elevate sales:
O Ditch the giveaway. Next to a mattress protector, the traditional steel rail bed frame has been the item most frequently given away by bedding retailers. Regular Sleep Savvy readers know we’re not fans of “free with purchase” promotions, which we believe encourage consumers to devalue sleep accessories. Brent Polunsky agrees. “I am not a supporter of a free frame, free adjustable bed or free platform base. Nothing is free in this world, and this cost is added somewhere. Give the consumer an honest price and a good value, and they will purchase it,” says Polunksy, sales manager for W. Silver Products, a producer of bed frames, platform bases and adjustable bases in El Paso, Texas.
O Go “good, better, best.” Offering a step-up, “good, better best” assortment of bed frames is a good alternative to giveaways. During the sales process, retail sales associates can briefly explain the support options you sell and ask, “Which of these would you prefer?” “Most people don’t want the cheapest and some won’t need the most expensive. But if they buy the middle, you most likely doubled your retail ticket on bed frames,” Mullinax says.
O Bundle up. Another way to stop the free giveaways and convey the value of a bed frame or platform base to consumers is to bundle it into an accessories package. Pair a bed frame and mattress protector in a well-priced package that will help extend the life of a customer’s new mattress.
O Sell the space underneath. High-rise platform bases, which offer space to tuck items underneath the bed, are popular with younger consumers and anyone who has a smaller bedroom or a home with limited storage space. “Storage continues to be an important decision-making factor, especially for entry-level purchasers and younger consumers, so showcasing that storage you get with a platform frame in a showroom can go a long way,” says Ashlee Willes, brand manager for Malouf, a bedding and furniture maker, in Logan, Utah.
O Display them. Stationary bed frames may not be as attractive as many of the mattresses on your floor but don’t tuck them out of sight. Display a few frames on your showroom floor or create a point-of-sale display and signage that highlights features. “I still believe in POS material. Bedding support can be an impulse buy if someone is exposed to the product,” Mullinax says. Malouf, Willes notes, offers retailers miniframes so they “can show customers the features of the products in a convenient format.”
O Count your SKUS. As a practical matter, retailers like to carry the Goldilocks of SKUs — just enough to meet the needs of most of consumers but not enough to crowd warehouses. Carrying a universal frame that fits all standard bed sizes helps you do that, Mullinax says.
The Power of Adjustable Bases
Sleep Savvy looked at trends and innovations in adjustable bed bases in our July/August 2021 issue. You can read the article at SleepSavvyMagazine.com/The-Power-of-Adjustables. For specific sales and merchandising tips for adjustable bases, check SleepSavvyMagazine.com/How-to-Sell-More-Adjustables-From-the-Showroom-Floor.
Julie A. Palm has covered the mattress and home furnishings industries for more than 25 years, and is a past editor in chief of BedTimes and Sleep Savvy magazines. As chief wordsmith at Palm Ink LLC, she specializes in writing, editing, publications management and communications consulting for a variety of clients. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.