Lessons From Las Vegas

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The neon metropolis holds some surprising lessons for retailers.

Vegas Lessons for Mattress Retail. Las Vegas dazzling neon lights.

When thinking about Las Vegas, a flurry of images comes to mind: dazzling neon lights, slot machines and poker chips. Or perhaps the singer Wayne Newton, nicknamed “Mr. Las Vegas” due to his longstanding entertainment residency in the city. According to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Newton has starred in more than 30,000 shows.

Although he may be in the sunset of his decades-long career, the 81-year-old performs three nights a week at the iconic Flamingo casino. Sure, it’s an impressive feat, but what might it have to do with sleep products? Well, when I was in town for the winter Las Vegas Market, I made a last-minute decision to go to his show. Between being regaled by stories about Frank Sinatra and Elvis, I surprisingly came away with a few lessons for retailers.

  1. Know your hits. When you’ve discovered your winning formula, lean into it, hard. 
  2. Innovate while remembering what made you great. If there’s something you’re known for (the hit song “Danke Schoen” for Newton, perhaps friendly service for you and your store), don’t eschew it, especially as you grow. 
  3. Be guided by gratitude. During the show, Newton said he always has time for his fans. Without them, he acknowledges he wouldn’t be where he is today. The same goes for your customers. It’s important to express appreciation whenever and however you can, whether it’s a special discount code, going the extra mile in customer service or perhaps something as small as offering shoppers a selection of beverages while they’re in your store.

Another thing he said struck me: It’s one thing to have someone buy a ticket to see you, but when they’re at your show, they’ve shared part of their life with you. It’s not a leap to apply that mindset to mattress shopping; consumers may only be in your store for an hour or so, but their purchase — and the memory of their experience — will stay with them for years. 

Also in Las Vegas, Beth English (Sleep Savvy and BedTimes’ Editorial Director) and I ventured about 20 miles from the Strip to visit Bedplanet for the latest installment of Retail Road Trip. Check out the locally owned retailer and learn about its small-but-mighty selling strategy. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Las Vegas without our market report. We also filmed three episodes of our new Shop Talk video series with Joe Megibow, Casper’s new CEO; Travis Thigpen, vice president of sales for Molecule; and Alexa Williams, co-founder of women-owned sleep products brand Williams Co. Keep an eye out for those online. Also don’t miss the
fabulous Beds by Design feature by Managing Editor Waynette Goodson, who got the stylish scoop on all things Kingsdown.