Why more mattress retailers are turning to custom collections to help boost their sales.
In the face of sluggish traffic and lagging margins, custom programs have the power to deliver a much-needed sales boost to the mattress retail industry. We’ve previously written about the impact private labeling is currently having on the wider retail industry. Not only have more retail stores invested in these branded options, but they’ve generated significant sales in 2018. Today, we’re digging deeper into how custom programs can help mattress retailers recapture lost traffic, increase their margins and boost sales.
What are some of today's key retail challenges? And what can private label programs do to help solve them?
Challenge: Lack of differentiation leads to commoditization and lower prices.
The mattress market has long battled against the dreaded “sea of sameness” on their showroom floors—and that struggle has been further exacerbated by both manufacturer and retailer consolidation. When there is no real differentiation amongst mattress offerings, the consumer often sees the product as more of a commodity than an investment.
These days, smart phones and online reviews have made it easier than ever for consumers to comparison shop anywhere, anytime. And when multiple retailers are selling the exact same line-ups from the same few brands, many consumers end up comparing on price alone—and the cheapest option usually wins out. Scenarios like this have left many retailers struggling against lost sales and declining margins.
Solution: Exclusive collections that consumers can’t get anywhere else.
With custom programs, retailers have a chance to break away from the low-cost commodity battle. Private label collections ensure exclusivity, so retailers don’t need to worry that consumers are going to find the same line-up for less at a store across town—or, more commonly, online. This allows RSAs to refocus their selling strategy back onto the unique features, benefits and materials. At the same time, custom programs also allow for greater quality control, which means that consumers end up getting a better value.
Challenge: Muddled brand messaging.
The success of direct-to-consumer brands has proven that many consumers respond well to products that are designed, manufactured and sold by the same entity. A direct connection between maker and seller allows for more cohesive branding by maintaining a consistent message from the ads consumers see on their phones all the way through to the experience they have in store. This not only has a positive impact on consumer awareness but helps boost their confidence in making a purchase.
Solution: An opportunity to leverage your own brand.
Many furniture and bedding retailers have spent years building equity in their own brand through advertising, community outreach and simple word-of-mouth. With private label mattress collections, those retailers are able to leverage that branding—rather than switching gears to promote another brand. This is increasingly valuable for retailers, as many of the brands they’ve been working with have left them with shrinking margins.
On the other side of the spectrum, private labeling gives retailers the option of developing an entirely new branding package separate from their existing one. This is an opportunity for retailers to craft collections that will specifically target certain demographic groups—like millennial shoppers or active, performance-driven consumers. For more general-interest retailers, private label programs can also be the basis for mattress-focused shop-in-shops or even stand-alone branded stores.
Challenge: Contracts that limit merchandising decisions.
Faced with an ever-changing retail landscape, mattress sellers have to be as nimble as they can be to stay ahead of consumer expectations. Unfortunately, many retailers are locked into contracts that dictate what products they can show on their floors and how many. This limits the flexibility they have with their merchandising decisions, keeping them from making changes that may be better for their customers or business.
Solution: A product assortment that is curated to your customer base.
With some private label programs, retailers have the chance to fully customize a line-up to the exact specifications they need to succeed in their market. That not only includes the materials and features of each mattress—but the number of models and the in-store marketing and POP that supports the collection. This level of flexibility empowers retailers to make the best choices for their business and their customers, ensuring that true value is a top priority.
How one brand is helping retailers succeed through its private label programs.
Diamond Mattress brings private label collections to life through its Engia program. With more than 80 years in the business, the company has honed and expanded its capabilities in order to deliver greater innovation, customization and value to its retail partners.
Thanks to its lean manufacturing process and creative marketing strategy, Diamond is able to turn around a new private label program in less time—within 90 to 120 days on average. This includes offering different levels of customization, designing and prototyping multiple concepts, product development, sourcing components and materials, branding and marketing, POP and in-store experience. From start to finish, Engia helps retailers reap the benefits of a custom private label program.
In recent years, Engia has empowered retailers such as Jerome’s, Living Spaces and the Mattress Hub to grow not just their mattress sales but their overall business as well. Diamond says typical growth for its Engia customers is 5-10% increase in margins and 10% increase in volumes within the first 6-12 months of the program.
To learn more about Diamond Mattress, visit diamondmattress.com/pages/contact-us
This article originally appeared in Sleep Retailer eNews on June 27, 2019.
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