BY JULIE A. PALM
The big selling season for mattress retailers has long opened with the three-day Memorial Day weekend in May and run through the three-day Labor Day weekend in September. Let’s face it: The mattress industry loves the three-day holiday weekend, regardless of the time of year. Bring on Presidents Day!
The major winter holidays, on the other hand, traditionally haven’t been as strong. This is the year to change that. Deloitte, a global business consulting and advisory services firm, expects total U.S. holidays sales (November through January, excluding cars and gas) to rise between 3.6% and 4% this year over last year, exceeding $1 trillion total. At the same time, Deloitte’s Retail and Distribution Practice predicts e- commerce sales will grow 17% to 19%, reaching as much as $98 billion.
Here are 6 ways to get more of those holiday dollars flowing into your store:
 Step up your online marketing and advertising
Recently, AdGooroo.com studied three years of online ad spending and found that paid-search advertising by major mattress retailers actually jumped in November and December. (See the “Snooze/Numbers” section of the October 2016 Sleep Savvy.) That’s smart because just about everyone does at least some holiday shopping, typically researching and, increasingly, buying online. So, boost your spending on paid search and other types of online advertising to make sure your store and products are noticed, even if someone isn’t specifically searching for a new mattress. At the same time, increase your presence on social media, where everyone is sharing photos from holiday parties and get-togethers.
 Put boxed beds front and center
Some consumers still don’t know that a mattress can be a grab-and-go purchase. Add a festive display of boxed beds to your store window and advertise them as good gifts for family members.
 Offer weary consumers a place to rest
Run a rest-testing promotion, encouraging tired shoppers to come in and take a 5- or 10-minute “nap” on at least two mattresses. Offer a coupon if they return to make a mattress purchase in January.
 Promote a mattress as the “big” gift
Many couples have stopped giving each other a heap of smaller gifts and instead buy themselves a larger item they both need or want. A mattress is a perfect present for people to give themselves.
 Help shoppers gussy up the guest room
No one wins points when their in-laws are forced to sleep on an old, lumpy mattress. Remind consumers that if they don’t want to sleep on the bed in their own guest room, then friends and family shouldn’t be expected to either. Time for a guest bed upgrade!
 Make sure everyone is warm and cozy
This is an ideal time to advertise and promote sheet sets, pillows, blankets and other top-of-bed items. Create a holiday- or winter-themed display of sleep accessories. They make great gifts, especially for the hard-to-buy-for person on everyone’s list.