When consumers enter certain home furnishings stores like Ikea or West Elm, they are often met with a series of full room vignettes to help inspire them as they shop. Beyond helping them determine the decor themes of their own homes, these vignettes also serve to help consumers picture certain products in coordination with a variety of other product options they may not have considered. Sometimes the arrangements are unexpected and creative, while others are more traditional room stylings meant to simply provide context and familiarity. And while these vignettes have become popular in brick-and-mortar locations, they are even more common online. Since consumers can’t touch and feel products or fully imagine the dimensions of them based on an isolated product image, online vignettes help orient items in a space and offer a sense of scale. This complete room approach to selling home goods is trickling into the bedding and mattress space, especially among ecommerce retailers—and, there’s much to learn from this strategy.
Brooklinen is the latest brand to launch what it is calling a curated lifestyle shop. Focused on specific lifestyle profiles and centered around the bedroom, Brooklinen’s digital Spaces offers patrons the soft-goods the company is known for, plus a wide variety of room-completing accessories (and even some PJ’s). While many sleep-oriented companies have begun integrating night lights, candles, aromatherapy products and more into their merchandising mix (both online and in brick and mortar stores), the online brand is taking this approach a step further by bringing furniture, rugs, curtains, lighting and even straight-up wall decor in the form of framed artwork into its online marketplace.
By grounding the products in bedroom set-ups that seek to embody specific style personas, Brooklinen has created spaces it wants its consumers to aspire to—and many will. Brooklinen has mixed up the vignette approach by asking site visitors to “choose your room.” When users scroll down, they’ll see images for bedroom set-ups described as earthy minimalism, modern glam and relaxed industrial. Each of these rooms offers a different mix of decor, soft goods and furniture with a different general style and feel—all of which should, ostensibly, appeal to a consumer sector. Because each room style is set up and photographed in the same space, this also shows just what an impact the products can have when differentiating an interior space and making it your own.
What makes the Brooklinen style of space curation compelling is its interactive quality—even online. Spaces gives visitors the memorable experience of navigating multiple rooms, it shows off the products in a way that makes them feel like they could alter the whole story of a room. Additionally, it gives the user a chance to make a choice that won’t overwhelm them while also tapping into their sense of style and identity. And the whole thing feels thoughtful.
This curation approach could be even better in real life. As retail experiences become more dynamic (beyond the mattress and bedding market), we as consumers hope it rubs off within the bedding and mattress industry. The days of showrooms filled with long white rectangles are hopefully almost over. But what is next?
Many manufacturers are helping retailers build more interesting showrooms by developing products with unique and colorful detailing, while others are more focused on display systems and finally, others are taking a page out of the home furniture book like Brooklinen and creating stylish room vignettes in their showrooms. Corsicana and Signature Sleep have started doing this in their showrooms, and retailers can too. So if you are considering breaking up the monotony and creating little mini bedrooms in your store here are some of key ways we think Brooklinen nailed it that can be easily replicated in a brick and mortar store:
Lose The Rows Of White Rectangles (Or In The Case Of Brooklinen, The Lonely Sheet Sets)
At minimum, busting out of the room of white rectangles trend will automatically improve the mattress shopping experience for most consumers. Doing this can be as simple as putting a side table next to each bed and rug underneath. Soften your showroom with bedroom pieces that help orient the mattress in a space akin to the spaces your customers actually live in.
Create An Interactive Style Or Comfort Journey Component
Part of what makes exploring Brooklinen’s Spaces fun is the fact that you have to pick something you identify with and follow that style theme through. At the same time, shoppers only have three choices so the decision is not overwhelming or stressful (and, of course, you can easily go back and look through all three spaces). Brooklinen is selling bed-linens so the variation in comfort feels is not quite the same as it is with mattresses but a riff on this approach could be very beneficial for mattress shoppers. Whether you create visual style profiles that will appeal to different people in your vignettes, or even just develop an interactive journey based on comfort feels, an interactive component can make shopping more of an experience. It also might help customers remember more about the products. When they walk from row to row looking at mattresses that largely appear the same, it can be challenging to remember what makes each unique and which they prefer when it’s time to make a purchasing decision. So the interactive component and some bedroom decor can provide impactful visual differentiation.
Themes will not only give you a new way of organizing your store and a starting point for how to mix up your showroom, they also provide you with visual cues that will help make each bed more memorable to consumers. If all the mattresses look the same or similar, consumers will have a harder time remembering the difference between models. Similar to branding, each room vignette should highlight or reflect the product and leave shoppers with a specific take-away or feeling that will connect to their memory.
Speak To Each Demographic
Some of your suppliers may already offer you consumer research data on a broader scale, but if you’ve been in business a while you probably also have a solid sense for the general demographic of shoppers that visit your store. At the same time, you likely know what demographic you’re not reaching as well. Consumer research can help inform how you approach vignettes and the kind of style and feel you create in your showroom. There’s no reason a mattress store can’t feel as fun, relaxing and interesting as an upscale furniture boutique and creating vignettes that communicate style can help you appeal to multiple demographics in one store.
Building off that last point, adding interactive elements and dimension to your store by creating bedroom vignettes is something you can totally have fun with. Same goes for the potential cross merchandising you might want to do. Let your shop leave your guests with a lasting impression. If you had fun making that impression, your customers are more likely to have fun exploring it too.
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