by Gordon Hecht
One of the benefits of traveling for work is the chance to read USA Today. Most of the hotels have it as a free hand out, and I like to take 15 minutes during breakfast to catch up on the important news of the day. While the NY Times may have a front page story about a world crisis, USA Today likes to lead with information on “The Condiments Americans Like on Their Hamburger”.
This week they featured a story in their business section which has great importance to you, although FURNITURE and MATTRESS was never mentioned. The story concerned Millenials and their car shopping experience. The reporters interviewed over 4000 people who were buying Camrys, Accords, Malibus, and all other vehicles. And in almost every sentence, you could take out the word CAR and replace it with MATTRESS or FURNITURE-and learn a lot from it.
Millenials refer to people born between 1980 and 1990. In many cases they are the children and grandchildren of the BABY BOOMERS. There are over 75 million of them in the US and in 2015 they will outnumber Baby Boomers (74.9MM), thus becoming the biggest group of consumers. Their shopping habits are different from what you are used to, and only businesses that are prepared to cater to them will survive the next decade.
Some of the points that the USA Today Article mentioned are:
- Millenials spent 16.7 hours online researching their car purchase.
- They are increasing dependant on using MOBILE DEVICES for research
- They want to visit a showroom to validate, touch, and feel their purchase
- They want to speak to an product expert
- They will travel to and buy from an GREAT salesperson and will choose GREAT service over a GOOD deal
- They want to negotiate price, although the gap between final price and tagged price is very narrow
- They will return to dealers who give them GREAT service and a great shopping experience
This information translates very well to home furnishings shopping. You need to have access to a website that can be full of information and promotions. Then continue to improve it every day.. BTW, in case you didn’t know, be sure that your website translates very well to mobile formats.
Using Search Engine Marketing can only increase the number of people that view your site. They can direct mattress buying traffic to YOU! If you are not investing your advertising dollars in SEM you are not being seen by the people that are buying!
Your showroom experience has got to be world class. The environment and sales team have got to be top notch. Millenials love the Apple Store Experience. Shop an Apple Store-and see how you compare.
Be prepared for shoppers who want to negotiate! That does not mean give away the store, mark your beds at SKY HIGH pricing, or lose margin dollars. It’s always cheaper to give merchandise than money, so create bundles of services and products that give your shopper the deal that they want.
Lastly, collect e-mail addresses from every shopper and every buyer. Don’t hound them, but create information to send to them that they will value. Always include an “opt out” statement. A monthly or quarterly update on how to get better sleep, or even seasonal recipes will keep you top of mind.
My final suggestion-Find some Millenials and ask them to walk through your store. Use relatives, employees or their spouses, or children of your Boomer friends. Ask for their honest opinion of your store and your website, and ask them what they would change. Take the suggestions to heat and TAKE ACTION.
(If you would like to read the USA Today Article, click this link http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2015/04/06/auto-dealers-autotrader/25370011/
Gordon Hecht is a Growth and Development Manager for National Bedding Company’s America’s Mattress stores, nearly 400 locally owned and operated bedding stores across the country selling Serta-branded and America’s Mattress-branded mattresses. He started his 30+ years experience in the Home Furnishings industry in Las Vegas, NV as a delivery helper and driver.
He has been recognized for outstanding sales and management achievement with several organizations including Ashley Furniture HomeStores, Drexel-Heritage, RB Furniture, Reliable Stores, and Sofa Express. He has served as Store Manager, Multi-unit manager and National Director of Sales. With his first-hand knowledge of our industry’s front line, Gordon has devoted his career to guiding others to exceed their goals.
Joining National Bedding Company in 2014, as part of the Serta Retail Concepts Group With over 400 stores, America’s Mattress stores is one of the fastest growing bedding retailers in the country.
Co-author of the “Better Bedding Selling Tips” featured on Furniture World Online, Gordon has been a frequent contributor to company newsletters, and contributing writer for industry magazines.
Read other articles by Gordon Hecht
Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
Read other articles by Gordon Hecht