From The Publisher: Winter 2017

As we celebrate the beginning of a new year, there’s no better time to look at lessons learned and use them to set goals and resolutions for the year ahead. With financial uncertainty and market disruption, the effects of shifting consumer trends could be felt throughout the retail landscape, making 2016 a tumultuous year for the bedding industry.

Whether confused by technical jargon or overwhelmed by choice, the average mattress shopper is often at risk of unknowingly purchasing against their own self-interest. In a year that saw a number of new direct-to-consumer brands loudly assert price and convenience as their top priority, more consumers are opting for the cheapest and easiest options over real, quality sleep solutions.

While the proliferation of these new companies may lead some to conclude that their methods are the ticket to sales, we’re happy to have the chance to spotlight manufacturers who are blazing their own paths. The companies highlighted in this issue are all committed to creating new sales opportunities for their retail partners, whether through engaging in-store solutions, expanded product offerings, strategic updates—or a combination of the three.

There’s no better example of this than Therapedic International. Our cover story takes a closer look at the company’s new Bravura Collection. Not only does this comprehensive collection offer three feature-filled lines across multiple price points—it combines advanced comfort with easy-to-understand health benefits and a one-of-a-kind branding story. By organizing the collection under one overarching music-inspired theme, Therapedic has developed a new way of approaching the sales process—giving retailers an eye-catching look and a new opportunity to connect with their customers on a deeper, more meaningful level.

We’ve also highlighted a number of unique programs aimed at simplifying the sales process without sacrificing personalized comfort or support. A longtime leader in mattress diagnostics, Kingsdown’s newly expanded Body Science program equips retailers with a straight-forward system that points customers to the right product for their unique support needs.

While diagnostics give retailers a science-based selling strategy, a number of companies are engaging customers through eye-catching styling instead. Though perhaps a more “old-school” approach, these new aesthetic updates are hardly outdated; fashion-forward ticking remains a highly effective sales strategy. When it came to reintroducing its popular Back Supporter line, Spring Air did extensive research on fashion and fabric trends to create a sleek, striking new look that stays true to its highly recognizable brand. From Aireloom’s Preferred Collection to Restonic’s Field of Dreams, these companies have each created new ways to convey a distinct mood around their mattresses.

We’re seeing a more consumer-focused approach to product development as well, as manufacturers are rolling out new sleep solutions equipped with easy-to-communicate features and advanced personalization. New cooling products from Boyd Specialty Sleep, Symbol Mattress, Malouf and Glideaway deliver innovation that consumers can actually see and feel in-store— while Spaldin and OMI are both unveiling customizable mattresses at truly approachable price points.

And just as “one-size-fits-all” products have proven to be lacking, so too have standardized retail programs. PureCare credits much of its success to working closely with their retail partners to create fully customized accessories programs that support their individual needs. For retailers looking for creative new ways to increase their average sales tickets, this issue’s Product Focus spotlights a variety of youth-oriented bedding lines to give retailers new opportunities to expand their customer base.

As we look ahead to 2017, we can’t help but feel optimistic about the abundance of creative thinking happening all around us—and we look forward covering every exciting development for many years to come. —Christopher Schriever

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