Crazy promotions are nothing new to the furniture industry and in recent years, a handful of store owners have even gone viral because of their outlandish commercials. Add Houston Furniture Gallery owner Jim McIngvale to the list of those who aren’t afraid to put themselves firmly in the public eye. After a promotion on NFL Conference Championship weekend cost him over $650,000, one for the Super Bowl turned out to be super-expensive for “Mattress Mack.” The 43-8 drubbing the Seahawks put on the Broncos cost the store owner a staggering $7 million.
Essentially, McIngvale promised customers who spent at least $6,000 or more in the two weeks leading up to the game that he would give them a full refund. The thousand or so customers were given their money back at a celebratory party in the store on Wednesday. Whether McIngvale was a big Broncos fan and willing to bet on their success or just wanted some extra publicity has yet to be determined.
But despite the hefty price tag, McIngvale seems OK not only with his risky decision, by actually paying up. “The accountant is pulling his hair out this morning, but the customers are happy and that’s what’s most important,” he said. “It worked for making the customers say, ‘This guy does what he says he’s going to do.’”
“In the long term, we made a lot of happy customers,” he added. “That’s what it’s all about: building customers for life.”
McIngvale did not take out any insurance to protect himself if the Seahawks were to win, but he seems to feel that the big-time investment is completely worthwhile. He estimates that he got some $20 million worth of promotions from the Pigskin Promotion and that it was able to attract millennial customers and others who had never shopped in his store before.
“It was a stress test for the business,” Mattress Mack said. “This is about as whacky as it gets. It was certainly the most expensive.”
He is so happy, if not just comfortable, with the result that he is encouraging shoppers to share pictures of the items they bought during the promotion on the business’ Facebook page. “It was a tremendous response,” he notes.
Parrots and a group of monkeys McIngvale calls “our board of directors” can be found in his stores and customers are treated to fresh-squeezed lemonade and treats like chocolate cake. Variance in the market is a good thing, since not only are 80% of homeowners not committed to one particular furniture style, they also openly welcome stores that break from the mold. As a result, many are undoubtedly drawn to the unique quirks in his stores. In fact, though quite costly, the Super Bowl promotion might actually be one of his most tame.