Before I wrote about the mattress industry, I wrote about the outdoor furniture business.
As I was thinking about the similarities between the mattress category and outdoor furniture, I came across a delightful connection that I didn’t expect to find.
But first, let’s get the obvious comparisons out of the way.
Both mattress retailers and outdoor retailers sell expensive products. In fact, quality outdoor furniture can be as expensive as a mattress, if not more. And we’re just talking about one sofa. A chat set (usually consisting of a sofa, a chair, and a coffee table) could cost $8,000 or more.
Let’s talk about brick-and-mortar selling. Outdoor retailers are also usually smaller one- to three-store mom-and-pop shops, like many mattress stores. But at the same time, there are bigger players in the game eating up market share and taking down smaller independent retailers.
In terms of product, there’s a lot to explain when it comes to both categories. From foam and latex with mattresses to rattan, aluminum, and poly in outdoor furniture, the salesperson needs to have extensive knowledge of what the product is made from and how it will hold up with regular use. There are also plenty of add-ons that can increase the sale, like pillows and accessories.
Now, here’s where it gets really good.
In the mattress industry, you should be selling the benefits of better sleep and how that’s connected to our products. You aren’t just selling the mattress or the pillow, you’re selling the way someone will feel with a better night of rest—which is far easier to do than trying to sell a piece of material.
And in the outdoor industry, they shouldn’t be just selling furniture. They’re offering leisure and health.
Think about what you do with outdoor furniture. You enjoy time outside, maybe with family and friends or just by yourself. You go outside to relax, connect and unwind. And being outside has been shown to make people happier, less stressed, and more creative.
So both outdoor furniture and mattresses offer health and life benefits. And outdoor retailers should be selling the benefit of being outside instead of only selling the actual product—just like bedding retailers should sell the concept of a better night’s sleep and not just the mattress.
Considering that mattress retailers sell sleep and outdoor retailers sell leisure, they can really learn a lot from each other.
All of those similarities mean that both mattress and outdoor retailers can use some of the same selling approaches—albeit tailored to their particular industry—to make more sales and keep the retail experience fresh.
Sometimes you have to take a step back from what you know to find new and creative ideas. So maybe if outdoor retailers and mattress retailers teach and learn from each other they can both continue to thrive when confronted with competition from big-box stores and e-commerce giants.