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Ep. 10: Sit ‘n Sleep CEO Larry Miller talks strategies, principles

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How has the pandemic re-shaped priorities for brick and mortar retailers? What can you expect when you add online mattress brands to your floor? What will the winning retailers of the future look like?

This week, Mike and Jeff talk strategies, principles, and more with Larry Miller—founder and CEO of Sit ’n Sleep, the largest mattress retailer in southern California. They also get the inside scoop on the origins of the now-famous retail tagline that has echoed across LA’s airwaves for over three decades.

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Full Transcription:

[Larry Miller]

Hi, I’m Larry Miller from Sit ‘n Sleep. I want to welcome you to Mike It Up with Jeff and Mike. I think you’re going to find some interesting facts out, I think we’ll have some fun and laugh and it’s going to be a great time together.

[Mike Magnuson]

Perfect, you’re such a pro. We should have you do all of our intros.

[Larry Miller]

All you have to do is be yourself and smile and have some energy, I stunk at the beginning, believe me.

[Jeff Cassidy]

You did?

[Larry Miller]

I was horrible. “I’ll beat anyone’s advertised price…” 

[Laughter] 

[Mike Magnuson]

Was that the first one that actually went on air? or was that the first take? 

[Larry Miller]

First was radio, it took me three hours and 45 minutes to do a 60-second radio spot. I had a panic attack, I couldn’t breathe. Anyhow I got through it, but the poor guy, that poor engineer, had to cut and paste the tape. There was no digital stuff back then. He’d have to cut it and then he’d have to put tape on it, I think his fingers were cut to shreds at the end of three and a half hours.

[Mike Magnuson]

Did he get out of… that what became the famous way of saying that phrase? or did that come later?

[Jeff Cassidy]

Yeah how did that come about actually?

[Larry Miller]

What happened is a woman was shopping from home, she was pregnant and she had bad sciatica, she needed a bed that night. I got on the phone and I was talking to her, I eventually convinced her that I had the right product. I knew I had the right product for her, deep firmness with some softness on top. She said well how do I know I’m getting the best deal in LA? I said “ma’am I’m the president of the company, I shoot the competition every week, and I’m sure that we’re less than anybody else ”. And the guy that was with me said “hey, you got to do better than that”. I said ma’am “I’ll beat anyone’s price, here your mattress is free ”. It’s kind of like that, and then it became a style. He was my account executive from ABC radio, and we were writing commercials, we wrote them every other week, and I’d go on the next day and record. It was a Thursday, recorded on a Friday for the following week. And he said, say that free thing. I said what free thing? I didn’t remember what I said. And he said why do you record that? That eventually stuck and then I became more stylized.Then we were recording in a studio some years later, and I had this accountant who’s my CPA named Irwin this character on radio, and he was the beleaguered accountant, I was trying to get me to raise prices, I was cutting prices so we were…  and we were laughing at the at the end of some repartee back and forth, we always goof around I’m not that serious, this is not life or death it’s mattress business. So he said, the guy that plays everyone, ‘you’re killing me Larry’. That became part of our deal too, so those two slogans became really-

[Mike Magnuson]

And over time the word “free” just got elongated, and it went up in an octave or two.

[Larry Miller]

Yeah, but I’m not doing that during coronavirus. It’s killing me Larry. Now my son Drew is in the commercials, he’s on radio.

[Mike Magnuson]

I didn’t know that.

[Larry Miller]

He just started, his radio started about six months ago. And the TV just started on Monday. 

[Mike Magnuson]

Wow, Is he developing his own persona for this?

[Larry Miller]

We’ll actually develop it. Right now, it’s a father and son family business, and then we’ll get a little more, and a little more look. When I’m 80 years old, I can’t be pitching the company. I mean I can be, but it’s better to have a young good-looking man that’s relatable and it’s not offensive at all.

[Jeff Cassidy]

He’s going to be perfect at it too, because he’s got good energy. He is instantly likeable, so I think that will come across well. Just out of curiosity, the ABC radio rep who said ‘why don’t you try that free thing?’ Did you keep in touch with him?

[Larry Miller]

Absolutely, I just talked to him. This was probably 35 years ago or more, maybe more, and we talk all the time. He’s a big USC fan,I’m a UCLA fan, we give each other shi-  what, and back and forth. He’s still a friend. 

[Jeff Cassidy]

That’s cool, he probably feels great pride in the fact that he contributed to that idea, right?

[Larry Miller]

You know anybody that has helped us over the years, I remember. I remember every good deed. And I try to pay it full back, pay it forward, and do the right thing.

[Jeff Cassidy]

That’s one of the things that we respect, admire, and love about you. It’s very clear that you live your life that way. So as a fellow human I say thank you. The world needs more Larry Miller’s.

[Mike Magnuson]

Well let me get this introduction out of the way, since we have not actually yet introduced you Larry. We are delighted to have our first guest ever on the Mike It Up program here, we have Larry Miller CEO and founder of Sit ‘n Sleep. Just to give a brief background on Larry, I think everyone in this industry pretty much knows who Larry is, but for those who have been under a rock for the last 43 years. Larry started this business back in 1978 with his dad, previously he was in the convertible sofa business, and he started this as Sit ‘n Sleep a business selling futons daybeds and sofa beds with a single store in Culver city, California. Those were tough early days, they were lean, but he stuck with it and the business has grown massively since then, to the point where it is now easily the largest mattress retailer in Southern California. Along the way, Larry himself has become quite the celebrity in Southern California through his famous pledge to beat anyone’s advertised price or your mattress is free. And I’m not even going to try to do it the way Larry does it, I can’t possibly do it justice. Today Sit ‘n Sleep has 38 stores that are big, super stores, with an average square footage of over 8,000 feet. They span across the entire LA metro area from Orange county out to San Bernardino and Riverside. At the same time, the business that started with Larry and his dad is still in very many ways a family business with his partner Nelson Bersier by his side along with Larry’s son Drew and Nelson’s sons Nate and Jeremy also in the business. It is a pleasure to welcome our guest today Larry miller.

[Larry Miller]

Thank you, it’s an honor to be here, be your first guest.

[Jeff Cassidy]

We appreciate you doing it.

[Mike Magnuson]

We actually, we thought hard about who should be the first guest, and it didn’t actually take that much thinking to come to you. Because this is a show principally for retailers and you’re just someone that in the retail space that we greatly admire and we know that so many others share that admiration for you. We knew that there’d be so many great insights you could share with your fellow retailers and others in the industry who are listening. So thank you very much for joining us.

[Larry Miller]

It’s an honor to be here.

[Mike Magnuson]

We thought maybe we’d kick things off with a little lightning round, are you game for that Larry?

[Larry Miller]

Let’s go.

[Mike Magnuson]

All right, so we’re going to throw these questions out. Again this is our first time going through this interview for a guest process, so we’re working out some of the format, but let’s just dive in here. First question, Margaritas on the rocks or blended?

[Larry Miller]

Blended.

[Mike Magnuson]

Okay, talking or texting?

[Larry Miller]

Talking.

[Mike Magnuson]

You’re in LA so we got to ask you this question, favorite Kardashian?

[Larry Miller]

Honestly?

[Mike Magnuson]

All of them?

[Laughter]

[Larry Miller]

I’m joking, they’re all great. 

[Mike Magnuson]

All right, number four. Who should play you, sticking with the Hollywood theme, who should play you in the movie about your life?

[Larry Miller]

Patton Oswalt.

[Laughter] 

[Mike Magnuson]

I like that, all right. Favorite holiday?

[Larry Miller]

Have to say Thanksgiving and Halloween are my two favourites. but Thanksgiving is my favorite.

[Mike Magnuson]

Nice, okay here’s one. In what non-sport activity, would you be most likely to win an Olympic medal?

[Larry Miller]

Fishing. 

[Jeff Cassidy]

What kind of fishing out of curiosity?-

[Larry Miller]

Yeah, both saltwater, and freshwater fly. But I just came back from a trip to Costa Rica and we caught a ton of sailfish, tuna, wonderful ahi tuna, and dorado… we had a blast.

[Mike Magnuson]

Awesome. All right, scale of one to ten. How good of a sleeper are you?

[Larry Miller]

Probably a six right now.

[Mike Magnuson]

Wow. You should think about getting a better mattress.

[Larry Miller]

I have a great mattress. I’ve got a little orthopaedic pain that’s keeping me up lately-

Normally I’d be a nine.

[Mike Magnuson]

Okay, got it. Best music decade of the past hundred years?

[Larry Miller]

It ages me, but I think the 60s.

[Mike Magnuson]

All right, I like that answer. Things you hate most getting asked at cocktail parties?

[Larry Miller]

I really don’t hate getting asked anything-

[Jeff Cassidy]

That’s a very acceptable answer.

[Mike Magnuson]

That’s an answer in itself.

[Larry Miller]

Probably, saying the free thing. People say “say it say it”.

[Mike Magnuson]

Oh gosh, yes I can imagine how you would hate that. All right, favourite pizza toppings?

[Larry Miller]

Sausage, pepperoni, extra cheese, extra sauce, then crust.

[Mike Magnuson]

Yeah, I like that order. I’m going to have pizza with you. Last question, if you had a walk-up song like a major league baseball player, what would it be?

[Larry Miller]

I want to hold your hand.

[Mike Magnuson]

Ah Beatles! Nice, early beatles. Okay, well thank you for playing along with us in that lightning round. It’s a fun way to help people get to know you a little bit. Getting into some of the things I think people would really love to hear from you. I mean one of the things that’s so unique about your perspective is you’ve been in this business for such a long time, over 40 years, I think looking forward is probably more interesting in general than looking back. But I’m always fascinated to learn from the historical perspective of people who’ve seen how we got to where we are now. So in terms of the consumer journey, just to kind of focus the question a bit, if you think about how the consumer journey has changed. How has it changed in your view over that time period? I’ll focus you in, just to make it a little easier, on three key time periods. Let’s call it, from when you started the business to the online, when the online revolution started in say 2014 2015. Then from that online revolution started, till when the pandemic hit, and then from when the pandemic hit till today?

[Larry Miller]

Well, when we first started in business the consumer was not well educated and not well informed. Unfortunately you could impart information sometimes correctly, and some businesses like ours, sometimes incorrectly. What I’ve found is as time has gone on, the consumer is more and more educated, they’re informed and they now know much more what they want prior to walking into a store. I think that the advent of the digital world has forced us kicking and screaming to change and thank god we have. It’s really been an integral component of our business, and educating the consumer, and imparting knowledge so that they would come into a store and deal with us from a position of strength and knowledge rather than position of weakness. We want the consumer to be satisfied, and I think that well-educated consumers are more likely to be satisfied with their purchase and comfortable. The pandemic was extremely difficult, we closed our doors by edict and I was scared of whether we’d even be able to reopen or survive. It was frightening, but what we decided to do thanks to our group and my son Drew and Nelson is we change the method. You’re talking to the consumer, we de-emphasize obviously in store sales, and emphasize through TV ads and radio ads, buy by phone or buy online. So we were able to survive, certainly not prosper during those months, but it forced us to take another look at how we present ourselves to the consumer and change. All of those different time periods have required change and agility and the ability to open your mind to different thoughts and different ways of doing business. And I think I got to thank my partner Nelson, my son Drew and his sons for helping shepherd us through those difficult times. I was scared that we were going to go out of business.

[Mike Magnuson]

As you think back on how the consumer journey changed during that last period of time, during the pandemic which of those changes do you think are likely to last even beyond?

[Larry Miller]

Well I think that the digital world is here to stay. You have to be able to impart information and sell digitally to be successful. Look, we’re agnostic, they can buy by phone or they can buy online. We’d certainly prefer that they come into our stores because it’s really kind of hard to buy a bed that you’ve never tried. And it leads to more consumer dissatisfaction and satisfaction but if they want it that way, we’ll give it to them. We got to sell the way the consumer wants to buy. If we don’t change, we’re dead in our water.

[Mike Magnuson]

To your point about selling digitally, and providing information digitally, have you noticed… I’m curious if you’ve noticed a change in the nature of store visits over this time period? Even after the stores have been reopened, have you noticed any change to, for example more visits that are shorter, or like have a different, like “hey I’m more here on a confirmatory basis kind of get in make sure the mattress that I’ve already researched online fits what my expectations were, and now I’m just going to… You know what I’m saying? like as opposed to I’m coming here completely cold.

[Larry Miller]

Most consumers are coming in after gaining some information online or through friends, or if they’re old Sit ‘n Sleep customers we want consumers for life, we don’t want guests to come in one time and buy. If we’ve done a good job,, with all of those things they’ll be more comfortable, better informed which we want, and more likely to make the right choice for their mattress.

[Mike Magnuson]

But do you see the level of pre-research having changed over this last year?

[Larry Miller]

Yeah, that’s more in depth. Much more information at their fingertips and it just encourages us to continue this direction of being straight, honest and informative. That’ll win the battle long term with the consumer, just do the right thing by them. Treat them the one way we want to be treated. I haven’t noticed a particular decrease in the amount of time the consumers are spending in the store, but I think that consumers don’t want to shop around as much as they used to. It used to be that people would shop for fifty dollars, you know, they could slice fifty dollars off the price. We don’t see that as much nowadays. We see them coming in well educated, ready to make a decision and if we give them the right reasons to make the purchase, they will do that. So the closing ratio is better now than it was before, our tickets have grown considerably, so we’re seeing some dynamic changes. We’ve had a huge influx of business since president’s day that has been pretty phenomenal. We’ll see what happens with the consumer. I think a lot of consumers have delayed purchasing a mattress over the years, they’ve been home staying in bed more and they’re concentrating on the home more, the travel, restaurants, sporting events, ways to spend the money, so I think the home furnishings industry and mattresses have gotten a bigger share of the consumer dollar.

[Mike Magnuson]

That’s interesting what you said about the consumers coming in more ready to buy, not planning to visit multiple stores as often, that ties to things that we’re seeing and hearing as well. People are kind of doing  more of that research online, so that when the store visit happens, it’s not like their first step in the process, where they intend to go then visit multiple stores and do all that,  it’s later in the process and more at a stage where they’re ready to pull the trigger and make that purchase.

[Larry Miller]

The endorsement of your company to Sit ‘n Sleep has been valuable, also that’s added to our credibility, and I really appreciate what you’ve done for Sit ‘n Sleep.

[Jeff Cassidy]

Thank you. That’s great to hear. One question: when the pandemic hit, and you all sat down and said, all right, how are we going to overcome this challenge? What were some of the programs, changes to your website, changes to things you’re doing digitally, or whatever they may be, that had the biggest impact in getting you through? What were the ones that you look at and say this program, or this change, was one of the most successful.

[Larry Miller]

I think that we changed the tonality of our advertising completely, talking about providing you know the services goods, and services they need and want immediately. And you know talking about us, once we reopened, a safe environment, personal protective devices we give the consumer, a clean safe store environment, mask requirements, a hand sanitizer, all of them make the consumer feel more comfortable coming back to the shopping cycle. You know it’s certainly beneficial for every retailer to get the consumer in, because it’s very possible that they’ll think they’re going to buy a 9.99, when they see the quality difference of a 15.99 or a 19:99 or more they might get that. They’re not going to see the quality difference online, and it’s a little easier when you’re speaking to the consumer to explain it. But it’s still, it’s not the same. It’s just not the same as coming into the right environments, the winners in the future are going to be great retail on the floor, great associates, great digital, and the ability to to sell any way the consumer wants to be sold. That would be the winning companies.

[Mike Magnuson]

Shifting gears or I guess like not even shifting gears, but sort of you’re looking ahead in making that statement, as you look ahead, what do you see on the horizon in terms of risks that concerns you whether your business or to the industry at large?

[Larry Miller]

Well, being in business entails risk no matter what. Even if you got everything right, I think the biggest risk is retailers sellers not touching all the bases, not being prepared, and not being ready for the consumer of 2021 and on. I think that we can write our own tickets of success or failure, depending upon what actions we take to invest in our businesses, and to fulfil the consumer’s wants, wishes, and demands in a great way, in a pleasant way, and be as positive as possible.

[Mike Magnuson]

Are you referring mostly to how the consumer wants to shop? 

[Larry Miller]

How the consumer wants to shop, the products that they want, and be attuned to the heartbeat of the consumer. If you’ve got all that going for you, you have a greater chance of success. And also investing in people is critical, I mean probably our most important asset are all the Sit ‘n Sleep people that work throughout our chain, the people in our DC, people in delivery, the people in accounting, and customer service are critical to the success of this business and everybody’s business.

[Jeff Cassidy]

You had mentioned this in previous conversations with us, but obviously not today, what are some of the things you do to help attract and recruit great people? and then kind of bring them up through the company?

[Larry Miller]

Our pay scale is among the best in the industry or maybe the best I don’t know. But certainly in our Southern California environment the best. What we try to do is give our associates the right health care package, rification package, the right 401k, the right match, and the right dump every year. I would love associates to come work for us for 25 years and walk away with a lot of money in the 401k, we have a lot of people in the 20-year plus category right now. We take care of them, I think they’ll take good care of us. I think it’s a symbiotic relationship and understanding that it’s not us against them at all. It’s us with them trying to fulfill what the consumers want, that’ll bring success. We’re all on the same team. Fortunately, for Nelson and I whether they’re cleaning a toilet, lifting something, well I can’t lift right now with my my bones the way they are, but we understand that, and we’ve done it all, we’ve done the delivery, we’ve sold on the floor, we cleaned toilets, we’ve dealt with uploaded trucks, whatever has to be done, we’ve done. So we have empathy for everybody in the company, and the same is true for Drew, Nate has done a lot of that, and Jeremy said a lot of that. So all of our future leadership understands, appreciates and respects each associate here.

[Mike Magnuson]

Speaking of the concept we’re all in this together, but kind of applying that more broadly, we’ve noticed there’s been instances where sometimes the industry by working together can solve a problem, or you know capitalize on an opportunity. If everybody kind of works together, but kind of getting that cooperation of everyone working together isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Is there anything in your mind, where you’re just like man, I wish my fellow retailers would kind of get on board with this concept, and we could all benefit if we did that?

[Larry Miller]

I think we’ve done a poor job of selling sleep and the importance of sleep, thank god there’s a lot of you know PR out there, that’s not from us but from known health experts, you know from from CDCF to various major universities showing how important sleep is. I think that if there was a way to put a little bit of load in each bed, just to talk about sleep so that we could as an industry, like that milk or whatever else almonds or you know avocado adds, whatever it’s not specific to a store, it’s specific to our category. I think we’ve done, not a good job of extolling the benefits of a great night’s sleep and educating the consumer as to how it can improve their quality of life, their mental acuity, their production, and their personal relationships with family, wives, friends or whatever. It’s just a very important component of life, and I don’t think we talk enough about that. You know 20 dollares load or 30 to whatever load in each bed, from X point price point to F Y, and then maybe for lower price points half of that, we would have millions of dollars to spend. The problem is getting everybody to agree to it, suggest it and people would think it is a great idea but nobody wants to do it unfortunately. Maybe rethinking that would be very beneficial to our industry.

[Jeff Cassidy]

Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that…. it’s so true what you say, I mean when any of us suffers from any of those things, lack of productivity, irritability, just fatigue, stress, we tend not to think about… Well, maybe I’m not getting the best night’s sleep that I could. You know, you just sort of… I agree with you, I’m guilty of the same as a consumer myself, of not being top enough in my mind of sleep. I think it’s very true what you’re saying. 

[Mike Magnuson]

And then connecting it to the mattress is what the industry could do specifically as well, if there were dollars to it. Because that’s the part that maybe the media isn’t doing as much, I mean these external parties that you reference, are actually making some headway in terms of promoting the importance of sleep. I think that’s very true. But they haven’t necessarily drawn that connection in the consumer’s mind to the mattress. Maybe this is the best opportunity we’ve ever had in a sense to do that, since at least sleep itself is more top of mind than it ever has been. So now there’s a ready opportunity to take something that’s top of mind and just connect the dots to this product category as opposed to having to elevate sleep and connect the dots to this product category. That would be a much taller order. So it’s a really cool idea.

I’m also interested… One of the things Sit ‘n Sleep has such big stores, you guys carry a wide array of brands, and it’s everything from all the major traditional store brands but also some of the biggest online brands. You’ve got Casper, Nectar Dream Cloud, Leesa, you’ve got the Hybrid Infinity brand that you guys pioneered. I’m curious to know, how did you make the decision to carry online brands?

[Larry Miller]

Simple, if consumers want it or interested in it, we’re a mattress superstore we need to carry it. If we have people come in and say ‘do you have Casper?’ and we say no, they could just walk. But now we say yes, and they’ll look at it and compare it with other beds. It’s a strength to have it on the floor, there are well advertised, known brands, as all of them are. And it adds credibility to us as a retailer to carry these products. I think it’s certainly a good thing to do.

[Mike Magnuson]

How did you choose the four or five whatever brands that you carry? 

[Larry Miller]

Oh it was slow, Nectar came first, and then Hybrid Infinity. Or maybe Hybrid Infinity, Nectar then Leesa, then Casper. We’ll continue to expand or contract the lines, depending upon productivity and consumers wishes. Basically they are there, because consumers want to see them and if you don’t have it, you’re not in the game in my opinion.

[Mike Magnuson]

So you chose those brands based on what you felt was the pull demand you were hearing from your customers to see those brands?

[Larry Miller]

Yeah, we’re open to others as well.

[Mike Magnuson]

What are some things that you’ve learned? I guess it’s been a couple of years maybe that you’ve been carrying those brands, at least the longest ones. What are some things you’ve learned from carrying online brands over that year or two?

[Larry Miller]

Well, I think that I’ve learned that retailers don’t need to be frightened of them. They don’t need to be scared, they just need to do what’s right for the consumer, and that it’ll be rewarded if you do the right thing, and have the product array that they want to see. It’s all about that, It’s all about the consumer, if we don’t have it we’re not in the game.

[Mike Magnuson]

Having had the experience of carrying those online brands, has that changed in any way what you look for in any brand? like in a traditional brand for example that’s looking to get onto your floor. 

[Larry Miller]

There’s a big difference. We have long-term relationships with most of our big brands, our traditional brands they’ve helped us grow along the way, as we’ve expanded our business they’ve helped us. The online brands are new to the party, but still appreciated. There’s a difference in long-term relationships, and we’ll see what happens. I think it’s the right move, I think Nelson is probably one of the best merchandisers in the business, if not the best. And I’m proud of the assortment he’s attracted, and kept, and grown in our business.

[Mike Magnuson]

Are there things that you think, based on your experience with these online brands, the traditional brands kind of need to step up their game, or?

[Larry Miller]

They’re all doing it now, I think  they’re all aware. They’ve shifted some of their products to the packing that we used for the online product, it’s easier. It’s also easier to ship obviously if you want to ship EPS or Fedex or whatever so we’ve learned a lot from that. I think the brands have learned a lot from them. They’re all responding, pretty much all the major brands are.

[Mike Magnuson]

What about in the other direction? What are some things, some areas, where online brands can still improve and perhaps learn from the traditional brands?

[Larry Miller]

I think helping marketing funds more, will be an important eventual transition.

[Mike Magnuson]

Co-Op?

[Larry Miller]

Yeah, Co-Op is a critical portion of our ad budget. We’ll see what happens with that, I think as we prove our worth and our relationship to both our online, continued worth to our traditional manufacturers, things will work out.

[Mike Magnuson]

What about the product itself? because I remember when this first started to happen, the online brands were starting to show up on traditional floors alongside these traditional brands, a lot of folks who’ve been in the industry a long time were saying, the thing about these online products is they look great in a picture on the web by themselves, but when they’re on a sales floor next to these products that  are taller, cushier, they just look a little bit more nuanced and intricate in their design, they’re just not going to look as appealing. And it kind of makes sense in theory, there’s been sort of a survival of the fittest darwinian process by which all these traditional store brands have evolved based on their ability to attract interest on a sales floor, whereas these online brands haven’t evolved for that, they’ve evolved for the ability to attract interest on the web in pictures by themselves.

[Larry Miller]

I think what will happen with time, they’ll change their visual dynamics. I think for them to be successful long-term, they’ve got to do all of that. They’ll eventually improve their look, and on the fields they are pretty much okay. Some people have said that some of the online products do not look as good as some of the major manufacturers’ products at similar price points, but they’re going to win or lose based upon their marketing, consumer awareness, and distribution increases. They have to increase their distribution to be relevant to the future. So I think that the market will dictate what they do.

[Jeff Cassidy]

To that point, do you have any sense for the people who come in specifically looking for one of those online brands, the percentage who end up buying that brand versus buying something else?

[Larry Miller]

Well, if they create the traffic, we of course will show it to them and try to sell that product. Because they’re helping our turns at our door, and we have to be appreciative and thank them for that. The worst thing one can do is discourage somebody from buying what they first want to see. Just not the way to do it. We don’t  bait and switch, and as a matter of fact, in our memorial ad we’re emphasizing Casper for the first time. We want them all to be successful, on all vendors to be successful. And time will tell what happens with them.

[Mike Magnuson]

At the same time, when they come into your store they’re going to see a hundred options or something like that-

[Larry Miller]

Normally people they have a desire, if you show them that product, of course I’ll see other products but I think a lot of the traffic that they create are sold those products-

[Mike Magnuson]

Got it, so a lot of the people who come in for those products, they’re pre-inclined and you’re gonna take them right to that product. But you’re not finding that their eyes get turned in other directions once they see the store?

[Larry Miller]

Sometimes yes, but they’re exposed to a lot of traffic in our stores, much more so than not being in our stores. We’ve got X number of consumers, they’re going to see those products.

[Mike Magnuson]

What about in the other direction? Does it happen a lot where people come into the store, maybe not necessarily looking for one of those products, and then they’re just browsing the aisles and they say, oh I read about this on my facebook feed?

[Larry Miller]

100%. Happens every day. That’s their benefit, they’ve invested the money to create traffic and awareness. So they should be rewarded for what they’re investing.

[Mike Magnuson]

Yeah makes sense, well I guess I have one question, I want to be sensitive to your time because we’ve been here about an hour.

[Larry Miller]

It seems like two minutes to me.

[Laughter] 

[Mike Magnuson]

Well, before we totally wrap up. I do want to ask you, is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you think is important?

[Larry Miller]

I think you’ve hit a lot of the big issues and concerns. I do think this is an unusually positive opportunity for our industry, and I think stores need to manage their inventory as aggressively as possible. It’s important to have a substantial inventory to take care of consumer demand, nobody wants to come in here and they can’t get their mattress for five or six weeks, that’s a non-starter. So I highly recommend that  the retailers invest more as much as they can, I know there’s some limitations, and work on their digital campaigns. If they don’t have a digital campaign, get one going as soon as possible. It’s not a cure-all and it’s not instant, it’s a matter of trial and error. We’ve spent millions and millions of dollars to improve our digital look and feel campaign. And we’re probably going to go through another renovation even though ours is pretty much as good as most, we want to be better than anybody. It’s important to continue to invest in your business, your people, have a positive attitude and this is a time right now where a lot of people can do well. It’s probably better conditions for our industry than I’ve seen in many years.

[Mike Magnuson]

One thing that you just touched on there, I think is interesting that people may not know, because you’re so well known for these tv and radio campaigns that you’ve done. But from a fundamental standpoint, your advertising approach strikes me as first and foremost performance advertising, I mean the guys you work with on that front I mean that’s their DNA is performance advertising and I think that is what led you to digital earlier than most.

[Larry Miller]

I think you’re right, you’re right. Plus I got to tell you I’m proud of the contributions Drew’s made to keeping up our digital look feel and offers on social media, he’s the biggest proponent look. I’m old school, I’m radio and tv, he’s digital and social, and has done a great job.

[Mike Magnuson]

Yeah absolutely, I was including Drew in that group of people whose mindset is performance and digital. But yeah, that’s something that I think maybe people don’t necessarily know about Sit ‘n Sleep and it’s one of the things that you guys do very well.

[Larry Miller]

Thank you, appreciate it very much.

[Mike Magnuson]

Well I think we want to wrap this up, and thank you Larry for coming on our show and being our first guest. The guinea pig as you called it, very brave of you.

[Larry Miller]

I think it went smoothly and was great.

[Mike Magnuson]

We took a big gamble on you obviously, we didn’t know is this guy going to be camera ready? I mean he’s only been on tv about 10 million times.

[Laughter] 

[Larry Miller]

Well hopefully, you got a good interview out of it. I hope it’s entertaining and informative to people in our industry. Because  it’s critical to share ideas, pay it to other people, I’ve had a lot of ideas that I’ve learned from other retailers over the years and we’re happy to share. I want to thank you for our relationship with Goodbed, you guys are phenomenal. I really appreciate it, and you brought us a lot of extra business.  I thank you for that.

[Mike Magnuson]

Well the feeling is 100% mutual Larry. We appreciate working with you, and as I said I know many others in the industry share our admiration for what you do and your approach to this business, so I know there’s going to be people getting a lot out of hearing from you and what you had to share today. So thanks again for your time and just for everything you do. 

[Larry Miller]

Have a wonderful weekend. See you soon.

[Jeff Cassidy]

Thank you Larry.

[Mike Magnuson]

That’s it from us in Mike It Up today guys. If you like what you’re hearing, remember to subscribe, and hey leave us a review it helps other people discover the podcast. In the meantime, we thank you all for listening and we’re out. 

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