The Bed Expert talks promotions

Vic Smith, owner of independent beds retailer Vic Smith Beds, talks about promotions.

When it comes to promotions, we often get customers ask “when is your next promotion?”. We will clearly say we have a summer sale and a winter sale, and occasionally manufacturers will give a great promotion, but I haven’t seen one like this offer in a long time and you’ve still got time so don’t worry, you’ll still got a few days left if you’re serious about coming back and grabbing it now while the price is low. After all, prices never go down, they always go up, so take advantage and buy now, especially at the moment. We find that indirect pressure always works.

You’re in retail, you need promotions, you need reasons for your customers to buy whether it’s in store or on your website. It’s called a call to action, to make your customers buy now, as opposed to no urgency = no hurry = no sale!

Recently we’ve had the King’s coronation, so in our shops we had big posters on the window with a Union Jack as an outlying border with the window posters reading ‘the King of all Beds sales’. When customers enquire what’s this all about, we explain when they buy any double bed with drawers over a certain price, they can have any headboard half price, and from our point of view, the headboard is the crown of the bed. This is what we tell our customers and that the promotion is from the UK bed manufacturers. If the promotion is from us, then we will be asked “go on, you can extend the offer” or “go on, you can make it cheaper”. On the other hand, if it’s from the manufacturers, a third-party and finishes on a certain date, it’s all out of your power and control. That again gives a call to action, and a reason for people, your customers, to buy now and not next week, next month or next year.

So, if we take, for example the King’s coronation as a recent sales promotion, we pushed it two weeks before and one week after it was over to maximise offers. We also then brought into play, which is still current, that it may be time for a new bed during May madness, emphasising and using a different colour for May and madness. Customers need a reason to buy and to buy now. I’ve never been a lover of one day events, but I do think having a reason to buy within an allotted time works well. You need to find an excuse and a reason to have an event during the summer holidays.

Traditionally, the bed industry goes quiet as people save their money for a holiday both pre-Covid and after. We have been doing an offer when you buy a bed over x amount – and this can’t be too high because you have to target your audience, you get a free tent and we promote this along the line of ‘need a holiday and a bed?’. Well, now you can have your cake and eat it when you buy a bed from us over x amount, you get a free tent. You can use this tent in your back garden for the grandkids or go camping with your own kids. The choice is yours and you can use it time and time again. We purchased a bulk deal of new unused army tents that sleeps four for a great price from an army surplus store. This is just another idea that one of our staff had and we pay them £50 per idea that gets used because, trust me once you have got the 50 quid, the ideas start flowing fast and furious. It’s a great incentive and it motivates staff to use as a little sales edge.

Of course, you’re going to get people saying I don’t want a tent, well throw in a set of pillows instead.  But I can guarantee, you do it right, and you’ll be shocked how many tents you will be giving away.  Now, I know anyone reading this that’s the old stick in the mud and can’t be told because they know everything about everything is going to say, I don’t want to buy tents, I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do that. All I’ll say to this, is that you’re in retail, so start retailing. Start selling your beds in a bit more volume. You have to be creative and find a reason to have a promotion – it could be something in the local area or it could be part of a national occasion. Ultimately, it’s down to you to sort. And don’t forget to review the promotion after it comes to end. See what worked well, what not so well and use this vital information to help map out future events. What was the last promotion you ran?

Save this article for later

You can revisit this article if you save it as favourite news!

Leave a Comment