How many times have you sold a mattress set and watched your customer go across the street to a big box store to buy the top of bed? I hope the answer is none, but, unfortunately, I know this happens often.
According to Keith Mackey, senior vice president of sales with Protect-a-Bed, the national average for attachment of these items can be as high as 65% for protectors and 10-20% for pillows, with the average per item coming in around 30%. In addition, Mackey says that three out of four customers are purchasing new top of bed items with a new mattress purchase. So, it leads to me ask: If you’re not selling your customers the top of bed, who is?
Top-of-bed business can be a big part of your product mix. Home Textiles Today reports that the top-of-bed business was $5.055B in 2016, a 1.6% increase over 2015. And we know that your customers still prefer to buy from you, as 70% of all purchases were done in the store. So, how much of the share are you getting?
Too often I think we feel like we must give these items away to close the sale. While it’s ok to offer the “freebies” at times, such as during a special promotion to drive traffic, this tactic is often used as a crutch. So how can we make sure that we are getting a piece of this multi-billion-dollar business?
I did some research and found that nearly all the big box stores you compete against don’t give away these items. Instead, they use the 20% rule. Research has shown that the consumer will shop your store if you are offering a sale, and the sale needs to be 20% or more in savings. So how do you measure up?
- Have you ever offered a savings on your sheet sets or pillows versus just giving them away?
- Have you thought about a bundle-and-save strategy?
- Does your display say, “I’m in the top of bed business”?
- Are you offering enough of a selection, including premium sheets and protectors?
While it’s ok to offer bargain items, don’t be afraid to also promote the items that people will and are buying. The average price paid by a consumer is $98 per item. What is your average ticket for these items? Remember, consumers will pay more for premium products in your store than they will online or at a big box without a professional sales associate to guide them.
At the end of the day, we all want to run a successful business that lasts for years to come. A properly set up display with a good selection of merchandise is not expensive but can yield a huge return. No matter whether you are currently selling accessories and top-of-bed items or not, I would challenge you to look at your close rate. Is it averaging 30%? Are you giving away too many items? What can you do to increase your close rate? Are you providing a spiff to your sales staff? It’s amazing how a few extra dollars in the RSA’s pocket will help their attachment rate and raise their average ticket. And the cost to you is minimal.
Here are a few more things to consider. How does your display look? Is it outdated? Does it need a face lift? The Cotton Inc. 2017 Home Textile survey says that 43% of all buyers were inspired to buy because of the store display. If your display is outdated, it can and will affect your sales. There are options that are very cost effective, and there are many companies that can get you set-up with the right display and product to maximize your profit potential.
Set yourself apart from the other guys, and go get that business that is currently leaving your store and going across the street. And remember, if you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. Be the leader, and let people follow you.