Be Unconventional at the Convention

By Gordon Hecht, Serta Simmons Bedding

This month many of us will return in-person to the BrandSource Convention, where we will see many introductions of new products and several updates of past winners.

But introductions and updates also mean that several of your old favorite merchandise will soon be in the rearview mirror.

I’ll give you 12-to-7 odds that at least ten dealers will say, “I can’t believe you aren’t going to make the Model XYZ3000 anymore! My sales team loved to sell that one!” I could probably lay even better odds, because we’ve been saying that since Ike and Tina were rolling down the river.

New products and refreshes are the lifeblood of the business — true for manufacturing and true for retailers. We gave up carrying around quarters for our brick cellular phones, dropped those for flip phones, traded up to Blackberries, and tossed those away for iPhones and Androids.

In three weeks when you walk through the open doors of the Convention, take a moment to open your mind too! Your shoppers want to put 2020 behind them (along with most of 2021) and want fresh, new opportunities. That means new products with enhanced benefits that make their lives better, easier and/or less complicated.

Adding those new and updated models to your selection will make you remarkable as a cutting-edge retailer, ready to do business with new buyers who probably never had your store on their shopping list before.

Remember, just as critics once panned the Impressionist masters Monet and Degas, or fans of Creedence Clearwater Revival had to reattune to the Turners’ interpretation of “Proud Mary,” our instinct is to stay with current products, modes, and practices. When we don’t open our mind to the possibilities, we probably are passing up the next priceless masterpiece.

Special Bonus Section

Speaking of cover songs, here is my take on select versions of tunes recorded on vinyl 45’s, 8-tracks and some cassettes. I am willing to debate my views. Taste is a personal thing.

“I Got My Mind Set on You”
Original: Rudy Clark
Cover: George Harrison
Verdict: George

“Love is All Around”
Original: The Troggs
Cover: Wet Wet Wet
Verdict: Tie

“Muskrat Love”
Original: America
Cover: Captain & Tennille
Verdict: America (by a mile)

“Hurt So Bad”
Original: Little Anthony
Cover: Linda Ronstadt
Verdict: Linda by a little bit

“One Toke Over the Line”
Original: Brewer & Shipley
Cover: Lawrence Welk
Verdict: Do you really have to ask?

Gordon Hecht is Senior Regional Manager/Strategic Retail Group at Serta Simmons Bedding and a regular contributor to YSN. You can reach him at ghecht@sertasimmons.com.