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David Perry

Mattress Metrics: Consumer connections

Retailers say comfort key to reaching consumers

This week we begin a three-part look at the ways the furniture stores connect with their mattress customers where it matters most - on the retail sales floor. And we begin with what sounds like an obvious point: That comfort trumps everything else.
Actually, that isn't quite as obvious as it seems.
While it's true that comfort ranks well above any other mattress feature/benefit promoted on the sales floor, furniture stores are not universal in promoting comfort there. Yes, 86% of the furniture retailers responding to this Furniture/Today survey said they always promote comfort on the sales floor, but that leaves a rather substantial 14% of furniture retailers who promote comfort only "sometimes." How, we wonder, do retail bedding sales associates fail to universally tout the joys of a comfortable mattress?
It is significant that support remains critical to connecting with consumers. In fact, it ranks only slightly behind comfort in importance. Support used to be No. 1 on the list of features that consumers are seeking in a mattress, but it's tough to compete with the overall appeal of comfort in the mattress equation.
Construction materials are next on this list, and that's no surprise, for those materials relate directly to the quality of the sleep experience.
Next up is the bedding brand. This is the bad news for bedding producers, who work hard to build the power of their brands, only to see retailers tout other features on the sales floor.
Rounding out the Top Five is better sleep. We have to ask: Shouldn't this be No. 1 on the list? Better sleep is really what the mattress industry is selling. Furniture/Today's research shows that consumers will pay significantly higher prices for sleep sets if they believe they will improve the quality of their life. But that's a lesson that many bedding retailers still have not learned.


Key take-away

Furniture retailers rely on the old standbys of comfort and support in connecting with mattress consumers. But they might be better served by putting more emphasis on the rejuvenating power of better sleep.

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