The Bed Expert talks footfall

Vic Smith, owner of independent beds retailer Vic Smith Beds, talks about getting people through the door.

There are only two ways to get people through your front door, organic and manufactured, and it’s really important you learn the difference. Very crudely, organic is people coming through your door without you really having made any effort – footfall, passing trade, they see your shop and come through your door. Manufactured (often called paid) means you have put something out there, so when people are looking, they find you whether it’s your website and pay per lead, whether it’s leaflets through people’s doors, TV or radio ads – these all work. And they do work once you have found your target audience and that’s crucial – you need to identify who and where they live and what people buy from your store. Then you need to build on it.

There’s lots of ways to do this. Now, I’m not going to tell you all my secrets for obvious reasons, but if you’ve got a map of your local area, blow it up to the size of a double bed and get yourself some coloured drawings pins. Then simply extrapolate from your last year’s deliveries, pin in the local streets who’s bought a bed over the value of £300 to £400, who’s bought a bed over £500 to £700 and £1,000 to £1,200 with different pins and different colours, then, hopefully you know what’s your most profitable bed. Simply pin that into the map again in these colour formations – it will very quickly break down what you’re selling and where.

Then it’s down to you to target it organically for the long-term. It’s not a quick response but far more financially better in the long run. Manufactured, if you get it right, is an instant flip on your money. Here at Vic Smith Beds, we are greedy – we want both. We want instant customers through the door from a marketing campaign, combined with long term loyal customers that will go nowhere else, because of organic. Let me give you an example of organic and manufactured combined. When we deliver a bed to a customer, let’s say their door number is 10, my delivery staff will put a leaflet through number eight and number 12 and it will simply say come to Vic Smith Beds – your neighbour did. And now they’re probably sleeping better than you – bring this leaflet for an extra discount. 

We also produce leaflets and banners for local schools, Scout and Guide events too. These posters are very generic. At the bottom it says supported by Vic Smith Beds and yes, it’s a very slow burner but works really well. That’s why estate agents love them too! Yes, effort is involved but you could reuse these banners and just change the dates for next year’s event, so if a grandparent was taking a little Michael or Maria to the school event, they see your name and three months later when they’re looking for a bed, they associate your name with something good, that they want to be involved with above any other competitors of yours. A one off doesn’t work. There needs to be multiples and because this is not instant footfall it becomes organic. It sticks in the customer’s mind when they are looking to buy something as to where to go.

Also, website reviews. If you can publicise them on as many sites and local social media as possible – which becomes organic, obviously you want to publicise the best reviews for you out there and don’t worry about the odd bad one. There is always going to be a jealous Joe and you just tell customers that. This way, it becomes organic as it’s out there and you have to keep posting them and re-posting them every six to nine months for manufactured footfall. As for pay per click – again targeted right, you will have a quick response but the second you stop paying, your customers stop coming in, so in effect you’re over a barrel.

Like I say, I’m not going to tell you everything and it is only my opinion, but I hope it helps. Remember the wise words of the late Henry Ford, only 20% of my advertising works! But I am not sure which 20% it is!

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