Reconsidering The Mattress Topper

This article originally appeared in Sleep Retailer eNews on February 22, 2018

As the online bed-in-a-box market has grown increasingly crowded in recent years, it was only a matter of time before a backlash emerged. Positioning itself as a “disruptor of the disruptors,” Kloudes is a new type of bedding start-up that specializes exclusively in mattress toppers. Selling direct-to-consumer online for $149, the Kloudes Topper promises not only to “enhance or restore the comfort level of new and old mattresses alike” but also extend the life cycle of a mattress beyond the recommended five to seven years. With the price point that’s listed as “1/5th of the cost of a mattress of comparable quality,” the company is looking to shake up the industry by offering consumers a cost-saving alternative to replacing their mattress. While its claims may be less than revolutionary, the popularity of the bed-in-a-box market has proven that new brands touting convenience and cost-savings shouldn’t be ignored—and with more than $18,000 already raised through pre-orders on Kickstarter, Kloudes may be on to something. Rather than fighting the premise, maybe it’s time for mattress retailers to reexamine the value of the mattress topper?

Traditionally, mattress retailers have been hesitant to stock toppers in their stores for fear of potentially dissuading consumers from purchasing a full sleep system. In addition to carrying lower price points, toppers rarely offer the comprehensive benefits consumers need to truly upgrade their sleep. While they could potentially serve as an add-on opportunity for entry-level mattress models, doing so may imply that your offerings are lower quality.

But if Kloudes is an indication of what’s to come, the market for mattress toppers may be growing—and retailers should be prepared. Instead of an “alternative” to a new mattress, toppers could potentially open up new opportunities for retailers.

First, toppers provide retailers with an opportunity to create relationships with new customers. While ideally, every person who walks into a retail store will buy a new bed - that is not always the case. If a customer has already decided to purchase a mattress topper, retailers are missing out on those sales by not stocking them. By offering a carefully curated selection of toppers, retailers have a chance to recapture that revenue.

Toppers also provide retailers with a new way to bring customers in on a more regular basis. Instead of trying to extend the life of their mattress, a consumer may just want to refresh their sleep system with new comfort features. It’s also a chance to connect with new customers who might be unsatisfied with a recent mattress purchase they made elsewhere. While the allure of one-size-fits-all options at low price points can be powerful, these options do not necessarily deliver on their promises. And while many online brands offer extended trial periods, not all customers want to go through the hassle of returning their mattress and starting the search for a new one again right away. A luxurious topper may be a quick fix to tide them over until they are ready to make a full upgrade to a higher-quality mattress. And if that consumer has a positive shopping experience in your store, that increases the chances that they will come back to buy a new bed when they’re ready.

Ultimately, mattress toppers can be a valuable customer service for retailers. More than just a necessary evil, they offer a way to build a positive relationship with consumers regardless of their budget. Rather than thinking of it as down-selling a customer, mattress topper sales may be the key to nurturing more business for years to come.

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