How to Meet Consumer Demand for Curated Selections

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Overwhelmed by choice, consumers want curated selections and personalized products. Here are some ways to provide both.

Meeting the consumer demand for curation and improving your retail strategy.

The endless choices available to consumers through online shopping and big box stores have them craving curators who can help them narrow down their selections, according to a new Future of Shopping report from Synchrony, a consumer financial services company based in Stamford, Connecticut.

“While providing a range of options to customers has always been a hallmark of best-in-class retail brands, the explosion of choice and increased opportunity has led to a heightened need for more curation and customization,” Synchrony says in a news release announcing the survey results. “Shoppers are more frequently turning to intermediaries to help guide their purchase decisions.” 

Notably, more than six in 10 shoppers say their shopping experience would be simpler if stores offered fewer choices, and more than half would use personalization services if retailers offered them.

Selective selections

There are a number of ways retailers can satisfy consumers’ need for curation, starting with winnowing the number of beds on your floor or website by focusing on mattresses with clear differentiators. How many innerspring (or organic or foam) mattresses do you really need to carry? One option is to focus on good, better, best step-up options within key categories like foam, innerspring and hybrid constructions. 

If you’ve positioned yourself as having the largest selection of mattresses in your area, retail sales associates may need to work harder than ever to quickly learn shoppers’ needs, directing them to only a handful of options. Remember, just as bedding retailers are competing for dollars that can be spent on a variety of products, you are serving shoppers whose heads may already be swimming with the choices they faced earlier that day when selecting a new dog food on Chewy or a lamp on Wayfair. Make it easy!

Online you can regularly update the testimonials and reviews you feature on product pages, focusing on those that are specific about why customers like a particular mattress model. That turns those happy customers into the purchase-guiding “intermediaries” the Synchrony survey mentions.

Just right

Most mattresses on the market these days can’t be customized the way, say, a sofa can be personalized with different fabric or leather covers. But retailers that have close relationships with a factory can sometimes adjust components to customize a mattress. Talk with your best vendors about what options they might be able to offer you and your customers.

There are other ways to offer shoppers a more custom experience without a truly custom mattress. For instance, adjustable bases and split-head mattresses allow each sleeping partner to get the rest they need. Promote these items, not just as ways to get more comfortable, but as ways to experience personalized sleep.

Marketing mattresses and pillows as good for side, back or stomach sleepers is another way to convey a sense of customizing a sleep ensemble for a customer’s particular sleep habits.

The bottom line of the Synchrony survey is that consumers increasingly want retailers who provide a real service, not just a mass of products. Give them what they need.