In a year that has seen both ups and downs for the bedding industry, Eclipse International has solidified its place as a legacy brand and a manufacturing partner that puts the retailer first. Amidst changing consumer sentiments, supply chain challenges and a drastic shift in the way people shop, Eclipse has cultivated a comprehensive mattress portfolio that connects with the current moment. It features sought-after materials, cohesive selling stories and clear differentiators that resonate with customers both in-store and online. Because above all, the company says it is committed to helping its retail partners succeed. And as we kick off a new year, Eclipse is poised and ready to help retailers not only capitalize on the growing demand—but prepare for an even brighter future.
While many companies found themselves scrambling to switch gears at the outset of the pandemic, Eclipse proved itself to be quick on its feet and sharp in a crisis. The company was one of the first to pivot to making personal protective equipment (PPE), distributing guidelines for all of its licensing partners throughout the country to follow. In doing so, Eclipse was able to help all of its partners keep their doors open safely—and donate much-needed PPE to hospitals and first-responders all around the country.
It also meant that, when the industry and country soon settled into the “new normal” of 2020, the company was already prepared to shift gears and support retailers as more consumers than ever before turned to shop online. As the manufacturing partner behind the online-only brand Saatva, Eclipse has long had a unique vantage point on the ecommerce market.
“Over the last ten years there has been a steady yet gradual growth towards the internet as a means to purchase the consumers’ needs,” explains Stuart Carlitz, CEO of Eclipse Mattress. “And what COVID did is it put that growth on steroids, and now that growth has gained probably three to five years to where it is today. People that never considered buying on the internet have been forced to. And because of that, they are now used to it and they accept it as a safer, better way.”
While there is no doubt that ecommerce exploded in 2020, Carlitz doesn’t think we’ve seen the end of brick-and-mortar retail— though he expects the physical store will play a different role in the future. We may see some chains minimize their physical store footprints and expand digital, while others will invest in more visually-engaging “viewing room” style locations. The delineation between in-store and online will further dissipate as more and more consumers combine online research with in-person rest-testing. No matter where the customer ultimately makes their purchase, “omni-channel” will be the name of the game moving forward—and retailers need manufacturing partners like Eclipse that are well-versed in both in-store and online sales.
Today the company has a strong product portfolio and the know-how to help its partners connect with customers no matter where they are shopping. Eclipse understands that the sales and fulfillment experience is only one piece of the puzzle—you also have to provide consumers with products that really speak to them on multiple levels.
“One thing is for certain: there was pent up demand with the consumer being stuck in their home for a couple of months and literally laying in bed half of the day,” Carlitz explains. “They realized how important their mattress was.”
The cultural conversation around the importance of sleep has been growing steadily in recent years, but—just like ecommerce shopping—it was put into overdrive in 2020. The pandemic hasn’t just changed the ways consumers shop; it has changed what they’re buying as well. The past ten months have had a profound impact on people’s values, on what they want and need—both practically and emotionally.
According to Carlitz, all of this has led to a resurgence of what he calls “a pride of ownership of a mattress.” Rather than simply looking for any old bed to put in a bedroom, consumers are viewing the mattress as an investment.
“The home has now been clearly defined as the safe haven for the American consumer. That’s why home improvement, mattresses, furniture—it’s all off the charts right now. Because the home is the one place you can really count on as being safe. That’s a shift in consumerism.”
—Stuart Carlitz, CEO of Eclipse Mattress
This shift in both sentiment and buying habits have created a valuable opportunity for the bedding industry—and Eclipse is here to help retailers meet the moment. The company is steadfast about empowering its partners and making sure it is not interfering with their success.
“We are not selling direct [to consumer] and we will never sell direct [to consumer],” Carlitz says, emphatically. “It’s just not who we are.”
That means turning down proposals to place its branded products with mass merchant online sellers, which often undercut traditional retailers with lower prices. Instead, Eclipse has remained dedicated to helping its retail partners rise to the new demands of the marketplace.
“We just want to make our brick-and-mortar retailers stronger and healthier,” he explains. “We want to bring them advanced technology and unique marketing ideas and show them how to make money in this competitive market.”
This is evident across Eclipse’s product portfolio. The company has developed a range of distinct “affordable luxury” mattress collections that deliver the comfort and reassurance consumers are looking for today.
Evoking the elegance of classic hotels, the Chittenden & Eastman Tiffany Collection delivers old-school luxury and quality comfort. The four-bed line-up is made with a plethora of high-end components—including organic New Zealand wool, rich layers of cotton and Talalay latex and an advanced pocketed coil system. The collection lends a distinctive air to any retail showroom thanks to its stylish covers, made from soft Belgian damasks. And with prices ranging from $1,999 to $3,999, Eclipse has made these high-end looks, features and materials available to a much wider consumer audience.
The company’s Natural Dreams Pure Talalay collection delivers plush, pressure-relieving comfort through layers of Talalay latex. It also delivers the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are sleeping on something eco-friendly. In addition to 100 percent natural Talalay latex, GOTS-certified organic wool and organic cotton components, the collection also features Eclipse’s WAVE-TECH latex. This material offers surface modified technology sculpted with five zones to deliver more support for the hips, lower back, shoulders and other key pressure points. Available in hybrid and all-latex options, the full line-up ranges from $1,499 all the way up to $7,999—creating a complete natural merchandising package all along the pricing spectrum.
For retailers looking to introduce or round-out their own ecommerce sleep shop, Eclipse developed a robust boxed bed program designed to help their partners compete online. The 12-bed line-up ranges from $499 to $1,499 and includes both all-foam and hybrid mattress models—setting itself apart from many “one-size-fits-all” mattress options that populate the online market. Featuring latex, resilient support foams, Tencel and phase-change textiles, this line is equipped with quality materials and dynamic features. Providing retailers with added flexibility, Eclipse can either drop-ship the mattresses directly to the consumer on behalf of the retailer or deliver them to the store to allow for in-store pick-up options.
All of Eclipse’s mattress collections are bolstered by clear, cohesive selling stories that not only help cut through the crowded marketplace—but make it easy for consumers to understand when researching on their own. And thanks to its wide network of experienced licensees, Eclipse can offer its partners a sense of reassurance. Not only are the company’s mattresses made with quality materials, they are backed by proven constructions and manufacturing processes.
“We just want to make our brick-and-mortar retailers stronger and healthier. We want to bring them advanced technology and unique marketing ideas and show them how to make money in this competitive market.”
—Stuart Carlitz, CEO of Eclipse Mattress
But you shouldn’t mistake the company’s storied experience for traditionalism. The Eclipse name has stayed relevant in the industry over the decades thanks to the company’s thoughtful approach to innovation. Rather than viewing the promise of new technology as the sole selling point, Carlitz understands that it’s what those tools and features can do—what sort of benefits or improvements they can offer—that really matters to consumers.
“There will continue to be new technology,” he explains. “And the reason being that we have finally woken up as an industry and recognized that we have the consumer captive in bed for eight hours. There’s a lot more that can be done to help the consumer and the sleeper than just providing comfort. Whether it be measuring their heart rate, measuring the conformation to the body, the elimination of pressure points, blood circulation. Technology is ever changing and growing.”
The bedding retail landscape looks very different this year than it did this time last year—thanks to everything from changes in consumerism driven by the pandemic to anti-dumping legislation. With all of these different dynamics at play, Carlitz predicts that the “mattress industry is poised for years of strong growth.”
With that in mind, now is a critical time for bedding retailers—as they look to capitalize on the increase in demand and steel themselves for whatever may come down the line. Eclipse is prepared to help their retail partners do just that, providing them with the products and solutions they need to overcome the challenges and reap the benefits of this unique moment in time.