It’s 10 PM on a Monday and you’re checking your emails one last time on your mobile device before you check out for the evening. There’s an email from someone who just abandoned their cart.
In it, the abandoner explains that the reason he didn’t finish checking out was because he thought your prices were a bit on the high side. Being the good business owner that you are, you jump at the possibility to have conversation with a potential customer about your products.
10 minutes and a $100 gift card later, you’ve just made your newest customer.
When you ask them later what influenced their final buying, they say the answer was easy, “When a CEO of any company answer directly to my email at 10 PM on Monday I know that I can trust that company.”
Having such a dedicated owner, it’s no wonder then that the company behind this story, Nest Bedding - Organic Mattress and Bedding, has sold more than a million worth of product in the last 90 days.
This is the story of how Joe Alexander’s hard work and industry knowledge paid off to find success in the competition rich world of selling mattresses online.
Setting Up Shop
Image Via Nest Bedding
Nest Bedding started back in 2012 with a single retail location and an online store. From the very beginning, the business was designed to be a “Brick & Click”, where they display products in a relatively small showrooms, and process all of their orders online.
Using this strategy, this family run business has opened 4 showrooms in less than 3 years.
"At the very beginning, the point of the website was to act like an information hub that would give visitors an idea on what to expect from our retail location which in return acted as kind of a showroom for customers to come in and really get the feel of our products. Buying mattresses and bedding online was not that common and people had their fears, so having a retail location was a must" says Joe Alexander, owner/CEO of Nest Bedding.
Because all their manufacturing and shipping is handled by a trusted partner, Nest doesn’t worry about manufacturing or warehousing.
This allows Nest to focus on what’s important - sales and marketing. The biggest shift that has happened to the company is funnily enough not the expansion of retail locations but the evolution of their web presence.
I'll never move away from Shopify -it's a logical, simple platform. It just works, a no-brainer.
Choosing an Ecommerce Provider to Power In-Store & Online
Having been in the mattress business for many years, Joe knew what to expect when from the manufacturing and retail side of the business. His biggest blind-spot in the beginning was in choosing an ecommerce provider.
Not knowing a lot about different ecommerce platforms,he did what anyone would do and Googled “ecommerce platforms.”
Screenshot via Nest Bedding
Remember the hesitant buyer from the beginning of this story? Joe was able to reply to that customer because of an app that he had purchased months earlier for his Shopify Plus powered store.
The app sends out an automated email for every potential customer that abandons their shopping cart. Setup took only minutes and it has paid for itself with just one customer.
Each app is like a another employee, it helps me with providing a better service for my customers
Product - check. Place to sell - check. Marketing?
Getting The Word Out
Starting out, Nest Bedding didn’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing. So when the time came to get the word out about the company to attract customers, Joe used what he calls “The Forrest Gump marketing approach.”
They actively looked for and got involved with as many conversations as they could - online and off, about buying a mattress online, even if it was as simple as leaving a comment in the company's name under an article or a blog post.
Another channel that worked wonders for them were reviewers.
Reviews from influential people in your space are great, they give your brand credibility among the people who are paying attention to them but Nest Bedding didn’t stop there.
They weren’t only working with professionals but were also pushing for and getting reviews from real everyday people that they then displayed on their various social channels. To automate the process, they used an app called YotPo.
Online reviews are great, but unfortunately they don’t always translate all that well to physical locations and their reviews. For that, Nest Bedding spent a lot of time taking advantage of Yelp and encouraging reviews from their in-store customers. It worked, because their retail locations are in and around San Francisco’s Bay Area, where Yelp calls home..
On it’s own, a good Yelp review might seem arbitrary, but for Joe, being physically located in a market that places a great deal of importance on Yelp’s reviews, he understands how powerful they are, and makes sure not to let any slip by him.
Screenshot via Yelp
Getting The First Million One Customer at a Time
To Joe every customer is important and deserves to have their questions and worries answered right away, no matter the day or the time.
It’s this personal touch, especially in the modern world where everything has become automated, artificial and digital, that he attributes to Nest Bedding’s success.
At the end of the day, customer service rules. Being genuine, letting your guard down and really getting to know your customers and potential customers. Treat people with respect and kindness and the money will follow.
Things like a good looking and working website, answering people’s questions online, physical locations and their Yelp reviews, generally just being helpful - in aggregate make a huge impact on how your overall brand is perceived. Nothing is trivial.
Joe says the main reason he’s able to focus on the little things is because Shopify Plus allows him to pay attention to the people, not the technology, and that has made all the difference to his business.
Actually caring for your customers and not just saying it matters. You know that, your customers know that. Are you doing it or only talking about it?