How to make rest-tests better for customers

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BY JULIE A. PALM

It’s your job to help shoppers get the most out of trying mattress models in your store. It’s a service they can’t get browsing online

rest-tests

At brick-and-mortar stores, the rest-test is at the heart of the mattress shopping experience—and it’s one of the main reasons many people prefer browsing in-store. They want to touch and test mattresses before they buy. Make the experience as pleasant and productive as possible by following these tips.

First things first.

If you carry a full line of pillows (and you know we think you should), begin every rest-test at the pillow display like they do at Seattle-based Bedrooms & More, encouraging shoppers to pick out a pillow to carry along as they try different mattresses. Slip it into a disposable case and head to the first bed. Once shoppers narrow their mattress choices, you can bring them a second or third pillow to try so they can create the most comfortable sleep system for them.

Offer a little instruction.

Encourage shoppers to remove their shoes, if they’d like, and settle onto the mattress with the pillows they’ve selected. Suggest they lie down in the position they usually fall asleep in but also roll into the position they wake up in, too. If you see them fidgeting with the pillow, bring them another option.

Give them control.

If shoppers are trying a mattress on an adjustable base, explain and demonstrate the base’s features and then leave them with the remote control so they can play around themselves. But to allow shoppers to best assess the mattress’ support and comfort, put the bed in the flat position with no massage and encourage them to linger there for a while.

Allow them time.

You want shoppers to rest-test each mattress for at least five minutes. Ten or 15 minutes is even better, but they may rush if you stay and talk to them the whole time. Too much conversation also can distract shoppers from paying attention to how the mattress feels. As Robin Stuart, co-owner of Sweet Dreamzzz in Los Angeles, puts it, “don’t try to sell the bed while they’re on it.”

“Don’t stand, don’t stand, don’t stand so close to me.”

Shout out to the ’80s band The Police for this excellent bit of advice. In fact, if you can, don’t stand at all. When talking to shoppers at the beginning or end of their rest-test, perch on a nearby mattress so you don’t appear to be looming. (Never sit on the same mattress that a shopper is lying on.) All Sleep, a sleep shop in South Windham, Connecticut, intersperses recliners in its showroom, and retail sales associates often sit in those while shoppers try beds.

Listen carefully.

Even if your store has a set of beds used for most initial rest-tests, don’t force shoppers onto those if they are telling you things that indicate another mattress might be best for them. The point of rest-testing is not to adhere strictly to a script or procedure but to find the right bed for each person.

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