15 July 2024, 02:36
By Gordon Hecht Apr 11, 2022

Why children's beds shouldn't be written off

Don’t write off children’s beds – with the right presentation and messaging, they’ll become high-value products once parents understand the benefits, writes US bed industry consultant Gordon Hecht …

During my two-decade career of pounding a retail floor, few things brought me more excitement than the opportunity of greeting new walk-in guests. Each one provided the chance to improve their lifestyle – and my income. 

However, two kinds of shoppers could quickly suck the joy away – recliner shoppers, and those looking for kids’ mattresses. Both instances meant a race to zero on price, and little chance to add on needed accessories. Even back then, it amazed me how little money parents were willing to invest in a restorative night’s sleep for their urchins. 

Not a lot has changed since then – reflecting on a holiday season where the hottest gifts were iFruit phones, Beats earbuds (so named because they beat up your Visa card to get them) and smart watches (so you don’t have to be smart enough to know where Mickey Mouse’s hands are). With price tags of $300-$1000 or more and planned obsolescence at 12-18 months, you would think that parents would expand their mattress budget to at least three figures. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to picking the right sleep set for their offspring, parents’ thought patterns lean towards “he’s just a kid”, or “we don’t want to spend a lot because she’ll probably ruin it in a couple of years.”

You can help them understand that children’s beds are a worthwhile investment. From the time they leave the crib until the time they leave for college, children require more restorative sleep than their parents do. Where we hope for 6-8 hours, our youth need about 10. 

It is also a critical time for posture and spinal development. Selecting a bed with proper support will have a great impact in years to come. And proper support does not mean as hard as wood – we all enjoy a comfortable bed, no matter our age!

Many families are discovering that specialty foam or hybrid technology are great options for kids’ beds. Often purchased in twin or full size rather than a queen, the price becomes affordable. The mattresses give great support and comfort, and also offer healthy aspects like being resistant to mould, mildew and dust mites.  And, since a kid’s world revolves around their bedroom, it’s easy to show how the flexibility of an adjustable base is perfect for laptop work, reading, gaming and TV viewing. 

But – you have to show it to sell it. Why not consider devoting 250-300ft2 to a kids’ corral of mattresses? Start with a basic model (perhaps on a low-profile foundation) add in three more on adjustable bases and one deluxe model. Tie in some free Wi-Fi and chargers in the area, and you’ve got a kid magnet – somewhere they can even hang out while you shop.

For the real junior juniors that are moving from crib to mattress, it can be a challenge to move off basic models (and rightfully so – many parents are concerned about overnight accidents that can soil a mattress). The new technology used in today’s mattress protection products allow a freeflow of air but prevent liquids from soiling the mattress. They are removable and washable, often come with warranties, and are an investment that protects the bed and the health of the child. 

Showing and selling children’s beds is nothing to be quiet about. Review your competitors’ ads and websites, and you’ll see that this is a category that’s been hushed. Shout out online, social and traditional media that you are the place that cares about the health, comfort, and development of the children of your community!

Devote part of your advertising budget to this category. An easy way to start is make it equal to the results you want to achieve – if you want kids’ beds to be 20% of your sales, you need to invest 20% of your ad budget to that cause. 

This year will test our ability to innovate and expand our market. Promoting existing products in a new manner is an easy way to maximise resources with little extra cost. Protecting and investing in kids – our nation’s future – may just protect your business’ future. 

Gordon Hecht is a business growth and development consultant to the retail home furnishings industry. He can be reached at [email protected].

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