LFRA Gala Award Winners Interview Series: Bedshed, Marketing Campaign of the Year
Today Unwrap speaks with Luke Clarke, National Marketing Manager at Bedshed. Bedshed was awarded Marketing Campaign of the Year at the LFRA inaugural Gala Awards last November.
This award recognises a Retail or Associate member who has conducted an innovative marketing campaign which can demonstrate return on investment, customer engagement and experience.
Bedshed opened its first store in Perth, Western Australia in 1980. Today Bedshed is one of Australia’s largest specialist mattress, bedding and bedroom furniture retailers with a network of 36 stores in Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and ACT.
Bedshed stores stock leading mattress brands and offer an extensive range of bed frames, bedroom furniture, children’s furniture, bed linen, pillows and accessories.
Thanks for joining us today Luke.
- For those who couldn’t join us at the event, can you tell us a bit about The Bedroom Report?
For us The Bedroom Report was the research behind a relaunch of our brand campaign that gave it the longevity to continue for some time.
Bedshed believes that our people are really important to us with their understanding, experience, and knowledge. So, to support that, and provide our teams with more information we commissioned a piece of independent research that went out to all Australian capital cities to find out what really goes on in the bedroom.
Like sleeping positions, who snores, why do people wake up at night, what people wear to bed.
We know that the bedroom is a really personal space, so the interesting, relevant, and humorous facts that came out of the research enabled our staff to ask the right questions or get information from customers to help them choose the right mattress.
The Bedroom Report provided material ranging from 30 second TV ads, stats for our website, interactive polls, sleeping position charts for our stores – for example did you know that 6% of the Australian population sleepwalk, naked?
The Bedroom Report helped improve Bedshed’s staff engagement, customer engagement and drive fun into our stores.
- Nobody predicted anything like COVID-19 to happen. How has Bedshed responded to the pandemic?
The way we presented strategies and suggested updates to franchisees obviously had to change – we did it via video calls with a real buy-in with franchisees involved throughout the whole process.
The relationship we have built over the years with our franchisees allowed us to respond, act, and communicate quickly with full support of franchisees and store staff. Being aligned in both business strategies and culture at this time was essential.
People are spending more time at home and are improving their home.
And when you are spending more time at home, the bedroom becomes more important. It became an office, a place to exercise, somewhere to go to clear your head.
At the time of the outbreak, Bedshed didn’t have an online store yet. We launched that at the end of June.
We were keen to make sure it was right and not launch the website for the sake of launching it. We actually worked on it for over 18 months!
Our e-commerce platform is like 36 individual store websites where the customer can see the inventory and know which store has stock on hand. So in effect, we have 36 warehouses!
The transaction from the online sale goes into the franchisee’s account, it does not come in centrally to then be dispersed out.
So it is as if stores are still conducting a direct transaction with the customer. The customer can choose which store they buy from, whether it is their nearest store or at another store where they were happy with the service they were given.
It has been a massive journey for us, where come June when we turned on the ability to buy online, we had an order placed within the first hour. We weren’t expecting that. And now the site continues to exceed our expectations.
The feedback from franchisees has been truly overwhelming, it helped that they understood what was happening at every stage, so there were no surprises.
- And considering this, in what ways did you have to adapt from a marketing perspective?
We’ve made changes to our promotional calendar, the way we advertise, who we advertise to, making sure we use appropriate language and messaging in our communication, and even the end frame of our adverts is all about shopping safely.
Being able to respond and have that real understanding of what is going on is important.
We wanted to continue to advertise and remain front of mind throughout this period. We didn’t turn off brand activity. In fact, we increased our brand activity to go beyond a discount or sale price.
We were able to do that because we had put in a lot of time and effort into our brand campaign prior to COVID-19. Bedshed was in a strong position, it was almost like we were prepared.
- What can we expect next from Bedshed?
For Bedshed, it’s about evolving the brand.
We’ve proved that putting time and effort into the brand is massively important for the business. We’ve seen the results that have come from that.
We’re now looking at how we can take findings from The Bedroom Report and our understanding of what goes on behind the bedroom curtains another step forward.
There are also store expansions on the horizon for our Capalaba store. Not bad for franchisees in only their second year who are adding over 50% more floor space to their showroom, and we’re continuing to look at potential new sites all along the east coast.
Bedshed is continuing to drive franchisee recruitment, and we’re getting some great leads coming in.
We’re seeing a shift in mindset and culture where people want to be their own boss. So hopefully that will lead to more store openings.
Of course, we’re also exploring opportunities to grow and improve our e-commerce platform.
And finally, we’re looking to continue to develop our internal culture. COVID-19 has been a wakeup call for everyone – personally and professionally.
We’re constantly asking what do we need to do? How do we do that now? How do we communicate to people?
- The Large Format Retail industry has performed exceptionally well compared to other forms of retail during COVID-19. What do you think 2021 has installed for the sector?
It’s very difficult to predict and I don’t think anyone will know what is going to be out there in 2021.
However, I do think we will see a change in consumer behaviour.
During the early stages of the pandemic we saw more patience and consideration from customers because they understood that retail and other businesses had to adapt in order to continue servicing them. They understood why there were delays in receiving products.
But it wasn’t long until people started saying that “this is the new normal now” and are expecting ample in-store stock or to have products delivered to their home relatively quickly.
As a result of the pandemic, we’re seeing customers becoming more confident with researching and shopping online. And spending big online too.
Hopefully we get back to a new normal, where people can continue to live, work and function in this new norm. I don’t think we will get back to where we were before COVID-19.