Around this time every year, the Sleep Retailer team takes a moment to step back and think big picture about the bedding industry. What trends are already catching our eye? Which companies are driving or implementing them in interesting and successful ways? As we touched upon in our Winter Las Vegas Market Trends, this year some of the most exciting bedding industry trends are happening behind the scenes: from market research to facility management and shipping logistics. While product innovation remains as necessary as ever, it’s just as important to develop new ways to help consumers find their perfect sleep products. That includes minimizing the types of barriers that prevent some people from actually making a purchase, things like confusing or inconsistent messaging, ineffective marketing, unreliable shipping and inventory management, to name a few. We’ve highlighted a few attributes that are setting manufacturers—and their retail partners—up for success in 2019.
Data-Driven And Efficacy-Based
As the bedding marketplace continues to get more and more crowded, the ability to target specific buyer demographics has become increasingly valuable. Over the years, Corsicana has invested heavily into proprietary end-user consumer research that paints a more comprehensive picture of how and why people buy. Focusing in on four consumer demographic segments, the company’s research illuminated each group’s path to purchase: what influences them, where they shopped, where they eventually bought. This helps when it comes to determining more meaningful marketing touch points; understanding the habits and motivations of key consumer groups means that brands can spend their marketing dollars more effectively and efficiently. For Corsicana, this data also helped the company develop and position its newest mattress collections—including the uncomplicated American Bedding line and the millennial-focused Early Bird brand—in order to better connect with the target demographics. By bringing data analytics into the selling process, Corsicana hopes to shift from a traditional transactional sales approach to a more consultative engagement.
Classic Manufacturing Meets Omnichannel Sales
Over the years, the understanding of boxed shipping has shifted. No longer is bed-in-a-box a primary selling point, but rather an added bonus for an already appealing product. Both Diamond Mattress and Brooklyn Bedding have instead zeroed in on the key attributes of their collections, framing boxed shipping as simply a standard across their entire portfolio. Thanks to in-house manufacturing, these companies also have greater control over their production processes—saving cost without sacrificing innovation. In addition to rolling out bold new branding, Diamond Mattress recently unveiled four new mattress collections equipped with patented zoned support and advanced temperature regulating technologies. Brooklyn Bedding has been steadily introducing new mattress options to its portfolio, as it focuses on providing niche solutions for specific needs such as its extra-firm Plank Mattress, nanobionic-powered Spartan Mattress and plus-sized Titan Mattress. By bolstering these nationally available line-ups with a strong digital presence, both brands have made it easier for consumers to research products online before shopping. Strategic MAP pricing gives consumers the option of buying online while still driving traffic to brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Smart Shipping Logistics
Delivery and fulfillment are not just ecommerce concerns. Direct drop-shipping helps retailers save on inventory space—and allows smaller businesses to offer more robust delivery services. With numerous distribution facilities and comprehensive fulfillment processes, both Classic Brands and Malouf are able to meet consumers changing expectations when it comes to shipping. Classic Brands has been a leader in ecommerce, omnichannel and private labeling logistics for quite some time now. The company has invested in comprehensive customer service offerings that support how people shop today, going as far as enhancing its warehouses with UPS and FedEx weigh centers to help speed up the process of shipping and tracking. With new facilities in Texas and Ohio, Malouf can also offer expedited shipping on its wide portfolio of sleep accessories. A custom-built CRM system helps ensure greater convenience and support for its retailers as it keeps all shipping, logistics and inventory data for each customer together in one place. The company even employs a dedicated staff member to negotiate shipping rates everyday. And believe it or not, these types of benefits actually have a meaningful impact on consumers. According to this survey on ecommerce delivery, 66% of shoppers buy products from one retailer over another because the delivery services were more appealing. And 96% of shoppers say a positive delivery experience makes them loyal to shop with a retailer again.
Robust Retail Training
Introducing consumers to a new product category can be an uphill battle—especially for an experiential product such as adjustable bases. While marketing and advertising can help get the message out, retail sales associates play a major role in educating the consumer about the product benefits. Ergomotion and Reverie have invested in comprehensive training programs that help RSAs not only familiarize themselves with specs and details—but really understand the value that power bases can afford. By teaching RSAs how to shift the sales conversation to focus on the holistic benefits of the full sleep system.
This article originally appeared in Sleep Retailer eNews on February 21, 2019.
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