Case Study: Mattress Retailer Captures Millennials with Digital Strategies

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Merchant: America’s Mattress of Onalaska
Location: Onalaska, Wisconsin
Platforms: Netsertive
Bottom Line: Brick-and-mortar retailers can use digital campaigns to capture local customers during the pre-purchase research process.

The vast majority of mattress sales still take place in brick-and-mortar stores. However, America’s Mattress of Onalaska owner Dave Weinberger says he’s found that millennial shoppers are increasingly doing their pre-shopping research online. In response, he’s begun shifting his advertising budget away from offline channels and toward digital tactics, like call tracking and recording, search marketing, and online promotions.

“Mobile is everything right now, especially with younger consumers. We’ve seen that millennials are researching mattress purchases on their mobile phones, which leads them to buy in-store,” he says. “Ultimately, it’s these initial searches that help fuel an in-store decision.”

Through call tracking, Weinberger is able to find out who is calling his store and where they are coming from. He leverages specials and deals on his company’s website so customers can clearly see which promotions are going on at any given time. Search is also important, as Weinberger says he needs his store to come up first when people Google terms like “mattress stores in La Crosse, W.I.”

The specific mix of traditional vs. digital advertising campaigns that America’s Mattress of Onalaska runs is always changing based on the season and the specific customers that Weinberger is looking to target.

“I don’t have hard numbers for this since our digital and traditional assets are constantly changing. However, we spend money on digital advertising every month and we do not do TV or newspaper inserts every month, which means the overwhelming majority of our advertising is done online,” Weinberger says.

Weinberger explains that there is an influx of millennial customers coming into his store during the summer, as they get ready for college. During that time in particular, it’s important for his store to have a strong online presence. However, for the rest of the year, buyers who come into America’s Mattress of Onalaska tend to be in their mid-30s to 60s. For this older crowd, TV promotions tend to work best for driving in-store sales.

“Since our geographic area is home to a few college campuses, it is important that we utilize digital assets to target a millennial audience,” Weinberger says.

Weinberger works with Netsertive, a digital marketing agency for brands and local businesses, to develop and implement his advertising campaigns.

“We have monthly check-ins with Netsertive where we provide feedback on how the store is doing … to figure out what can be modified and enhanced to help meet our goals,” he says. “For example, we might discuss changing the radius of the target area we are trying to reach if we aren’t getting the traction we need.”

In Weinberger’s view, Netsertive’s biggest accomplish has been getting his store to come up first in Google when people search for mattresses in his local area.

“I believe in dialoguing with my customers to determine how they found out about the store. When they’re in store, I like to ask, ‘How did you hear about [us]?’ and this helps us determine if they were searching online or found our store through other means,” he says.

Netsertive also tracks digital metrics based on America’s Mattress of Onalaska’s online campaigns and provides Weinberger with an accounting of who has visited his website and how many pages they clicked through on each visit. Weinberger uses this data to determine the value of the marketing tools that he’s using.

“A small store like mine needs to be able to compete with big-box retailers, and the internet creates an even playing field for us to do so,” he says. “With the influx of millennials who grew up in the digital age, it is more important than ever to have an online presence.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.