If you haven’t started planning Memorial Day, don’t worry, there’s still time.
With the holiday coming up in just over a month, The FAM reached out to a few mattress industry executives to see if the holiday is still important and talk about how it’s marketed in the industry.
Cathryn Clark, vice president of Columbus Mattress Wholesale, says Memorial Day is a special holiday for her company.
“We launched our second store in Columbus, Ohio last memorial weekend,” she says. “Business is usually busier this holiday weekend of the year, but it is not the ‘winning’ holiday for either of our locations.
She adds that if you were to compare the Memorial holiday weekend to Thanksgiving weekend at Columbus, they have significantly more sales and a higher average ticket price during Thanksgiving weekend.
She also has a message when it comes to marketing the holiday.
“As an entrepreneur under 30, whose family background is not in mattresses or furniture, I believe most big box stores in our industry are too ‘salesy’ on holidays,” she says. “Depending on the location and general customer demographic, holiday sales can be a home run. In general, our average customer is a first-time mattress buyer that is moving to a new home or going away for college. They are looking to shop off of convenience (free same-day delivery), brand recognition/ popularity, and what’s on-trend vs. what’s on sale for the holiday.”
Jesse Kostuhoski saysMemorial Day as a whole—whether it be mattresses or furniture— represents a huge opportunity for every retailer in our industry.
“It’s a time where more people are off, which means that consumers are more open and able to come into stores,” he says. “And specifically in the mattress industry, this is also a time when major manufacturers and vendor partners offer some of their greatest savings.”
Behind Black Friday and Labor Day, he says Memorial Day is likely one of the top holidays for retailers who do it right.
“From a mattress world focus, that’s gonna be the first major event where almost all the big brands do their first across-the-board roll-back price discounts national advertising. But the big difference between Memorial and a holiday like President’s Day has more to do with the consumers. They’re more in a mode to shop, and there’s more available.”
He says Bostom FAM started planning for Memorial Day in February because it’s not just one day anymore, it’s an entire month.
“Look at when all of the national advertising hits, when the additional savings on all those brands come into play—most of those are really starting summer around May 10th. So right after in your second week, somewhere all the way through the end of the month. It’s more like Memorial May.
He says the company’s main marketing is done by the first half of April, and then the team moves on to store strategy i.e. How do you maximize the number of consumers coming in?
“We’re a furniture and mattresses store, so we look at how we can take advantage of these amazing offers and do more conversion and stuff of that nature in store,” he says. “But then we’ll have weekly training and cadences built-in. We’re educating our leadership today and they’re rolling it out tomorrow.”
Jared Simon, owner of Simon’s Furniture, says Memorial Day is very strong for the company because they are in the appliance business, but it’s not as strong for the mattress category as President’s Day.
“It’s definitely the tent pole event of the second quarter especially with July 4th being very weak in the northeast,” Simon says.
He says it’s challenging for the industry to be so reliant on the major holiday weekends as it makes business swing between booms and bust periods throughout the year.
“One of the other challenges is selling a mattress the week or two before a major promotion,” he explains. “The discount to the retailer has not kicked in yet and if you advertise a lower price in a few weeks the customer will ask for the discount. This used to happen in the appliance business, but many vendors have moved towards flat pricing all the time to prevent those swings.”
And as for sales and payments, he says it’s healthier for the industry to focus on selling sleep. “Target ads to tired consumers, rather than selling a monthly payment,” he says.
If you can’t plan a big event this year, take some time to work on your marketing and find the message that works best for your store. It’s never too early to start planning for next year!
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