The Bed Expert: Making the most of National Bed Month

Vic Smith, owner of independent beds retailer Vic Smith Beds, talks about making the most of National Bed Month.

How do we make National Bed Month work? 

It’s about knowing your beds. If we want customers to look at their bed in their house and find fault, where do we start? Window displays are a good thing to do and we go the extra mile. We’ve had a model in our shop doing a photo shoot dressed as a nurse / doctor with a stethoscope on the bed, giving it a health check and MOT. This gives our middle-aged couples, a reason to think about changing their bed. Has your bed started to dip? Do you sit on the edge of your bed or do you roll out of bed? Is your bed as comfy as it used to be or do you have to wake up several times in the night and reposition yourself? Are you sleeping in the same rut? Have you, like most of us, got bigger over the years and could do with a bigger bed, which will help you sleep better? (It’s been proven time and time again, a bigger bed with more sleeping area helps you, the individual, sleep better.) Have you got room for a bigger bed? Nowadays, a bigger bed does not cost as much as it used to. King-size costs a little bit more than the double and a super king more so. Again, it’s still great value but explain to your customers in their terms. If you are cooking dinner for four people, there’s not that much more involved to cook it for five in terms of effort or cost, so when they’re buying a double it’s not that much more for the manufacturers to make it into a king. Relay it in such a way, and if you get it right, they are your customers, but if you get it wrong, they’re going to be somebody else’s.

Customers will part with their money more happily when you’ve understood and explained as an expert should. The customer, your customer, is standing in your store because they want some help and advice. They don’t want a pushy smarmy salesperson; they want advice and they want to relate to you. If you can get them on side and explain and help them understand things about our industry, that will make them feel happier and confident to buy, so if do it properly and they become your best friend and they will tell their friends and family – not just where to go, but they ‘have to go’, then you’ve done your job properly.

My competition may say, ‘I’m not going to get a model and photographer and do a photo shoot, that’s too expensive’, but if you do it properly, budget accordingly and plan right, it won’t cost the earth – plus, you’ve then got these posters for life. So, plan it well and don’t put something that’s fashionable in a photo. Keep it very much generic and that way you can use these posters and point-of-sale year after year after year. The best value you’ll ever get – obviously they can be used on social media and you’ve heard it before a picture speaks 1,000 words, so one picture of a small promotional offer will sync into your customers mind and consciousness, and when they walk into your store and see the same picture again the human brain associates that as a safe place because they recognise it. If a customer feels safe and happy then they are your customer not your competitors.

You want to work and promote your store and reap your benefits. Having said this, if you just want to dip your toe and go to the National Bed Federation’s website. Either way, it raises awareness for yourself and for the industry. Generally, March is National Bed Month, do something about it – don’t sit on your hands moaning if there’s no one coming through the door. Be proactive, make someone open that door and come in. After all, you’re the retailer. It’s your shop window, so do something about it.

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