Q&A: How To Counteract Negative Messaging

Today’s retailers are grappling with negative messaging more than ever before. In part, this is because many online brands have found success by zeroing in on consumer “pain points” and capitalizing on unfavorable ideas about in-store shopping. This tactic has become especially common within the mattress industry. With a booming marketplace of new online mattress brands, veteran manufacturers and retailers have been hit by a number of negative marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, the mattress industry has made itself a pretty easy target for these kinds of attacks. Consumers often equate mattress shopping with confusion, pushy sales people and arbitrary price points—and these types of associations can be enduring. Whether driven by consumers’ personal experiences or by the competition’s combative strategies, the negative connotations surrounding mattress shopping today have become a real challenge for retailers—especially when it comes to getting new customers in the door.

How do you help retailers counteract negative messaging within the mattress industry?

Bill Hammer, President of Shifman Mattresses

Bill HammerBrick-and-mortar retailers can counteract negative messaging by turning the many “pain points” marketed by online brands into “positive points.” Online brands promote the convenience factor as a time saver: two clicks and the mattress is delivered. But if the mattress doesn’t satisfy the consumer, then it really wasn’t convenient. Comfort plays an important part in selecting the right mattress. Many online companies use “marketing spin” to describe how comfortable a mattress feels, but a consumer will never know if the bed they’ve selected online is the right mattress for them until they’ve tried it. Also, most online retailers offer a limited selection, which decreases the chances of finding the desired comfort. A retail location offers access to a variety of options and a direct line to knowledgeable sales associates that will aid the consumer in picking the right mattress. By describing RSA’s as “hungry for profits” and encouraging shoppers to “cut out the middle man” e-retailers drive traffic away from brick-and-mortar retailers. But these online mattress brands are in fact, the middle man because they have the product manufactured for them. In addition, the quality, materials and construction of bed-in-a-box brands should sell for much less. Avoid making an online purchase mistake; it’s worth it to invest in finding the right mattress for a great night’s sleep.


Michelle Montgomery, VP, Marketing And Communications at Beautyrest

Beautyrest; Michelle MontgomeryThe truth is that “one size” does not fit all. But because a new mattress is a major yet infrequent home purchase, consumers can be overwhelmed by the new technologies and options available since they last went mattress shopping. To address this, our marketing efforts communicate “Why Beautyrest” in simple, consumer terms and emphasize the benefits that accompany greater selection. Our goal is to help consumers feel more confident about visiting and purchasing a Beautyrest from a mattress retailer. We know from research that 60 percent of consumers visit a manufacturer’s website before making a purchase. Our continued investment in our website capabilities offer a better consumer experience for learning about comfort and support technologies, comparing products and viewing suggested retail prices. We also use our Under the Covers blog and our social media channels to explain more complicated concepts, and many RSAs utilize these assets on the retail floor. Our current “Be More Awake” campaign highlights the role sleep plays in helping consumers achieve their full potential, and we are partnering with sleep expert Dr. Rebecca Robbins to raise awareness of the personal nature of sleep and how essential the right mattress is to waking success. The result of these efforts are better informed consumers who are more confident when walking into a store to make a mattress purchase, ultimately improving the overall shopping experience.

Visit shifmanmattress.com and beautyrest.com