With wider internet access and the ensuing knowledge coupled with a myriad of service providers at easy disposal, the present day consumer’s behavior is evolving at a speed previously neither imaginable nor attainable. Although it might seem intimidating at first, a closer inspection only reveals a field full of opportunities, especially for retailers.

True to these exciting times, an ever evolving consumer behavior also calls upon the need for enhanced knowledge and services on the retailer’s part. With the right training, they can not only capitalize on this newborn market dynamic but also maintain an upper hand over the fast-growing D2C models. A person entering a store to buy a mattress comes with clear intentions and is truly invested in the process. In fact, a mattress purchase is hardly ever born out of shopaholic impulses or window-shopping-gone-bizarre incidents. Simply put, every customer

The already fierce internet phenomena, fueled by postpandemic reformations is giving way to a very dynamic economy and market, admittedly unlike anything we’ve seen before. To retain and even gain sizable market share, retailers are looking for tactics to cope (moreover evolve) with the new ways without wasting a minute more. Yet at the heart of the matter, lies a magic bullet.

To take on head-to-head clashes with e-commerce models’ sophisticated features can pose a proven challenge. While retailers & manufacturers continue to look for balanced and profitable solutions, the retailers can still gain much from exploiting their already well established assets to the optimum.

“Retail segment of the mattress industry offers an opportunity to curate a personalized experience for customers like no other”says Syed, partner of M. M. Furnishings, Udaipur with much optimism. He adds “The customer-retailer relationship, amidst tough market divide due to new D2C models, has proven to be our biggest asset.”

Then there is the obvious advantage of operating in a physical space. Indians still put a lot of faith in touching, seeing and feeling the mattress for themselves before the final purchase. Moreover, the appeal of a well-curated store space never ceases to excite a customer’s senses and adds heavily to the overall shopping experience.

To state the obvious, investing in top-notch training can help retailer’s personalize customers’ experience and use their space to the max, in order to create the kind of in-store escapade and subsequently, customer satisfaction that is unmatched by the D2C models.

walking through a retail store’s door is a high-potential purchaser just waiting to be converted. All it takes is a skillful salesperson and obviously the right mattress to seal the deal. In the mattress industry, customers place much confidence onto the words of the retailer. They open up to the dealer about their sleeping needs and other requirements with complete honesty. Through this they hope to leverage the retailer’s knowledge of mattresses as well as sleep, and trust him to sincerely facilitate in choosing the right one.

Expectations of first-rate service are also high with customers. It is true that customers’ minds are hard to read and at best a laboursome task when finally decoded. But at the end of the day, we’re all sentimental beings. A customer who feels listened to, understood and respected is likely to be more satisfied with the service. Hence building a good customerretailer relationship is as crucial as efficiently dispensing knowledge.

The consumer doesn’t float on the surface anymore. The presence of deep, meaningful motivation to make the final purchase has become eminent. Obviously, the marketing tactics and selling pitch have also followed suit. It is of great consequence for the retailers now to present with a factual and purposeful storyline that addresses the customer’s deep-rooted question: Why?

Mattresses are unlike other furnishing purchases. They come from a place of need rather than want. And what they serve too is of utmost significance, sleep. Being considered as critical as diet and exercise, sleep plays a crucial role in the quality of our health and overall well being. Sleeping on the “wrong” mattress can be a literal nightmare for one’s health.

General awareness regarding sleep science coupled with personal awareness of one’s own sleep needs can help customers make the right choice when mattress shopping. But obviously the onus of helping customers realize the importance of sleep falls largely upon retailers, and luckily, to their much advantage.

Only well-trained retailers who understand sleep science and are aware of the “importance of sleep” can sell it. They can thus do an excellent job of making the customer more aware and in doing so, also nudging the customer into choosing the right mattress. A more aware customer is also one who is more willing to loosen up their budget for the sake of their wellness.

Once home, the customer’s quiet and peaceful sleep on their new mattress at night translates to loud word-of-mouth advertising for you in the morning. Hence, training to understand the importance of sleep helps the retailer sell the same.

ISPF again steps in to aid the retailer in this pursuit. In association with HGH India, they have initiated an exciting project called World of Sleep 2022. It aims to showcase latest global as well as Indian innovations, trends, and products in regard with sleep, thereupon equipping retailers with all the knowledge needed to sell sleep.

while creating a trustful customerretailer relation can be developed with effective training. The element of retail styling also plays a big part and again, with the right training and dedicated time can be mastered to become a valuable asset.

|| RETAILER’S FOREVER ALLY: ISPF

ISPF has been swift in acknowledging this need for quality training of retailers and being their steadfast ally, has been even more prompt in addressing the same. Till date ISPF has conducted over 5 seminars and 35 webinars under their Retail Partner Training Program, thereupon successfully training and certifying 2000 retailers across the country.

The retailers are trained on practical aspects of the trade like product presentation and retail styling. Besides, a lot of applied knowledge is provided about sleep products, importance of sleep, health implications, sleeping surface and the pivotal role of a mattress. This helps build consumer awareness and equips the retailer to sell sleep as an experience, ultimately fulfilling the goal of providing better-quality service.

The training is also aimed at helping retailers stay updated and thus progressive in their business strategies. Sessions are enriched with knowledge about latest trends in the sleep product industry interms of technology and innovation as well as operational aspects such as digital marketing. The training modules are thoughtfully designed to include methods like role play and interactive activities so as to encourage pragmatic learning.

At the heart of it all lies the clear intent of helping retailers devise and implement the most efficient mattress selling strategies to ultimately expand and diversify their customer base and increase profits. Parth Jethwa, owner of Swaminarayan Furniture of Vadodara shares his recent experience as a participant of one of ISPF’s Retail Partner Training Program: “We have tried to implement the ideas and tips from the seminar in our store styling. Even though it is hard to tell the direct effect on sales in numbers. But yes, for sure customers spend more time here now: browsing and they often come back again after visiting other stores. In general, customers seem to be more satisfied than earlier. And maximum customer satisfaction is one of our very important goals”

ISPF also publishes the magazine Comfort Times – Retail Supplement on a quarterly basis. Serving as the voice of the retail industry, it aims to answer some of industry’s important and current questions. The magazine is packed with useful information and advice regarding various sales techniques.

Dedicated sections talk about specific product features and advantages to upskill retailers with to-the-point information. This aims at enhancing customer’s awareness and in consequence, customer satisfaction with the service.

It also serves as a platform for retailers to share their testimonials, knowledge, and experience in regard with the business.

|| IN THE MATTRESS BUSINESS, IT’S GOOD TO BE A KNOW-IT-ALL!

The far-reaching health implications of sleep also explain the continuing innovation in mattresses. Since everyone’s sleep needs are different, so is the “right mattress” for them Hence more product features mean more options and heightened personalized product experience.

This continuous diversification also translates into more technical terms to understand and explain for the retailers. But there is no shortcut around it. These features are the USP of each mattress. They are what makes a mattress right or wrong for a customer in regard with their specific needs. They are what sells the mattress!

Here is some very insightful piece of advice Mr. S. Sundaresan, Secretary of ISPF has to offer during their Retail Partner Training Programme. He says “While introducing and presenting any product, especially the premium ones, we advise our Retail Partners to focus on three essential aspects of product presentation to consumers: Product Features, Product Advantages and Product Benefits. It is a must that the dealer should have a thorough knowledge and understanding about the products specifications and its benefits for the consumers so that they confidently guide the consumer on the aforesaid three significant points, which are one of the important pillars of a sales pitch that support to get the deal closed.”

Just using different names for mattresses is not enough. Retailers must train to efficiently communicate with the customers the distinction between products based on their performance characteristics due to various components. Hence knowledge about form types, pressure points, body, temperature regulators is obviously a requisite here.

Well trained retailers can always tell clear and compelling stories about the mattresses. Using their sleep science knowledge, they relate the larger theme of “need for good sleep” and personal “sleeping habits and needs” to the specific product features and help the customer see the same.

Under the Retail Partner Training Programme by ISPF, practical case study and role play were used to enable empirical learning and deal with customers better.