Sleep Retailer eNews | May 20, 2021

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Prioritizing Product Safety In The Bedding Industry

New bed delivery and assembly service concept. Cropped shot of male worker's hands in process of laying the orthopedic foam mattress in customer's bedroom. Close up, copy space, background.

Health and safety have been at the top of everyone’s mind over this past year, but as we prepare for a post-pandemic world, it’s important to remember that those concerns are not limited to just the coronavirus. Consumers are more cognizant than ever of what kinds of chemicals and materials go into the products that they buy. But the concept of product safety goes well beyond just individual purchasing choices; its also on retailers and manufacturers to provide consumers with safe, quality options. This week, the news of a reissued class action lawsuit against the online mattress brand Zinus came to light—bringing with it some larger questions about product safety and consumer protection. Given that retailers selling big-ticket items will often have to face the brunt of consumers’ post-purchase complaints, it’s important to have a clear understanding of safety issues, concerns and protections—and a plan in place for what to do when something goes wrong. 

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In the latest episode of the Sleep Retailer Podcast, we're joined by Mark Hobson, a long-time sleep industry consultant currently working with the UK-based Silentnight brand. In this broad discussion, we explore the impact of supply chain disruptions and price increases, what it has been like trying to introduce a new brand to the US market during a pandemic and how ecommerce is affecting average unit selling price.

“We’ve always known that consumers are wary of shopping for mattresses, for any product, in fact, that they don’t really understand. All business is based off of trust, whether it’s trust in the store, trust in the brand, trust with the retail sales person, trust in the experience. They will trust themselves when they get to actually lay on a product and they will step themselves up as much as sales people will help guide them through the line. So if [retailers] don’t have as large a proportion of consumers actually shopping and test-resting beds, it’s not surprising that there’s pressure on average unit selling prices. Not for everyone, not for every retailer—but that is a general trend that we’ve got to be aware of over here. And retailers and manufacturers need to address that as things get back to normal.”

Pointing to both the unique opportunities and distinct challenges of the moment, Hobson offers key insights on what retailers need to keep in mind as they reimagine their product mixes and merchandising strategies for a post-pandemic world.

Listen to the full episode now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or download here.

Finding True Rest In A Productivity-Focused Economy

A young Asian woman relaxing in a bathtub, surrounded by candles.

Understanding burnout, rest and how the sleep industry can help lead the charge 

Though we’ve reached an inflection point in the US when it comes to vaccination, the cry for self-care keeps getting louder as researchers begin to unravel the potential long-term mental health consequences of the pandemic, as well as the necessity of sleep for building immunity. We are also starting to really grasp the impact the pandemic has had on the way we work and live—and how some of the hallmarks of quarantine might have changed us. Feelings of burnout around work and nerves about having social lives again abound. But combating the idea of burnout and understanding how to really rest are not totally new goals; they’ve been becoming a part of the cultural zeitgeist for a while now. Not only have millennials been aptly dubbed the “burnout” generation, but as we evaluate both societal inequity as well as the role of work, many think it’s time for change—change in societal values and change in the way we take care of ourselves and each other. So today we are wondering: What is burnout? What is rest? How might rest be an antidote to burnout? And what can an industry that sells sleep do to support rest that actually heals? 

Continue reading here. 

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