At the 2012 Furniture/Today Bedding Conference last month, Leggett & Platt revealed results from nationwide research that focused on gathering insights from bedding industry retail sales associates (RSAs). RSAs have a tremendous impact on a customer’s mattress-buying decision, which is what Leggett & Platt expected to find when it conducted the research.
“When customers walk into a retail store, they’re often confused,” said Mark Quinn, Segment Vice President of Marketing with Leggett & Platt. “They’re buying a product they only think about every eight to ten years. The RSA can unravel the mysteries of the mattress and take the shopper from simply buying a white rectangle to investing in technology that will enhance their quality of life.”
During Quinn’s presentation, the audience of top bedding industry executives voted on the same questions RSAs had answered and then got to see how their responses compared. There were similarities and differences.
In one question, participants were asked, What is your overall opinion of the bedding industry? While 48% of RSAs said they love the industry, only 10% of industry leaders thought that RSAs would say they love the industry. “It’s important that bedding industry leaders truly understand the RSAs. If half of RSAs love the industry, we should be putting programs in place to build up the next generation of leaders. The audience was shocked to find out how many sales people truly value this business,” said Quinn.
In another question asked, How important are the components used to make a mattress? RSAs answered nearly unanimously, with 84% saying components are extremely important and another 13% calling them important, for a total of 97% of RSAs placing high value on components. The industry leaders, who were told to guess what RSAs would say, predicted that 59% would call components extremely important. “As a components manufacturer, we certainly believe our products are an extremely important part of the mattress and that was confirmed by the RSAs. As an industry, we need to listen to this group because they are interacting with customers. If components didn’t matter to the shopper, it probably wouldn’t matter to the RSA. That’s valuable information for our industry to know about,” said Quinn.
The Leggett & Platt survey also touched on the topic of integrity in the bedding industry. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, on average RSAs rated the integrity of the bedding industry at 6.2. Similar to RSAs, the executives in attendance at the bedding conference considered the industry integrity rating to be a 5.7. “As an industry, I feel our collective opinion is too low and we need to work to elevate that number. These integrity scores do not reflect the great people working in this industry and we need to make sure we’re all working together to be seen as a trusted source for helping people find better sleep,” said Quinn.
In addition to the research results shared during the conference, Leggett & Platt offered the audience response system to other presenters. All the results from the live polling are available for members of the Sleep Geek community. To sign up, go to Sleep-Geek.com.
About Leggett & Platt:
Leggett & Platt (NYSE: LEG) is a diversified manufacturer (and member of the S&P 500) that conceives, designs, and produces a broad variety of engineered components and products that can be found in most homes, offices, and automobiles. Leggett & Platt serves a broad suite of customers that comprise a “Who’s Who” of U.S. manufacturers and retailers. The 129-year-old company (founded 1883) is made of 20 business units, 18,000 employee-partners and 130 facilities located in 18 countries. Leggett & Platt is the leading U.S. producer of: a) components for residential furniture and bedding; b) components for office furniture; c) drawn steel wire; d) automotive seat support and lumbar systems; e) carpet underlay; f) adjustable beds; and g) bedding industry machinery for wire forming, sewing, and quilting.
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