Published On: Thu, Dec 14th, 2017

Firm Response by Consumers for New Mattress Sales Models

Mattresses have historically been almost infamous for their exorbitant price markups. Consisting of little more than steel coils and scrap padding—bit box retailers have had little shame while adding what sometimes amounts to a 400% markup on price. This gets justified as ‘operating expenses’ to cover wholesalers, marketers, salesforces, and retailers. The digital age has revolutionized many industries, and it would seem that the new generation of mattress brands is endeavoring to offer consumers a better option.

Bed in a Box

This term has become someone synonymous with affordable mattresses recently, despite its somewhat kitsch flavor. This new generation of mattress brands has centered their business models about the novelty of being able to vacuum seal their products into boxes small enough to ship via standard ground carriers like UPS or FedEx. Companies such as Tomorrow Sleep, Casper, and Tuft & Needle are able to stuff King Size mattresses into boxes in the ballpark of 24x24x48. This allows these types of mattress brands to offer something unique—Free Shipping.

The In Home Trial

Free shipping is a great offer but, in this day of digital goods, often considered little more than standard operating procedure. To further slice into the market share, the new mattress companies but forth a truly-unique notion that consumers should be allowed to sleep on their newly-purchased mattresses before committing to the purchase. Brands like Nectar Sleep have offered consumers a 365 in-home trial period during which consumers are able to return their new mattress—for any reason—and receive a complete refund. This model of quality assurance has trickled into brick and mortar retailers as well now, in attempts to compete. Throughout history, it often seems that successful products offer almost unavoidably simple solutions. Who wouldn’t want to sleep on a mattress before buying it?

Direct Sales Models

This fundamental shift in commerce is, perhaps, the single most disruptive aspect of these nimble new mattress makers’ business models. Rather than selling to wholesalers, which in turn sell to retailers, which sometimes even sale to other retailers—these mattress brands sell products from their websites directly to consumers! Again, this common sense approach seems almost unavoidable in an age where information travels at the speed of light and more and more people have confidence in making purchases online. The in home trials and bed in a box capabilities are really just nuances which help support consumer confidence in the newly-enacted direct-sales models within the mattress industry. Casper, one of the first such brands, has reported unprecedented earnings in recent quarters and continues to keep traditional mattress retailers on their heels. Many larger players within the market have since adapted to the shift in market structure by unrolling their own direct-sales brands. One notable entity is the Tomorrow Sleep brand backed by industry titan Sealy-Simmons.

Guerilla Marketing

One of the most characteristic features of these youthful new brands is their connection to the millennial generation. Often thought of as the real-world embodiment of Reddit, Millennials are notorious for responding to well to hyper-focused marketing strategies that, sometimes, would appear too far from the norm to work at all. Purple, makers of a very space-agey polymer mattress, found initial success with their viral YouTube marketing campaigns. Their videos were light spirited, humorous, and tapped into common connections such as bedtime stories. Nonetheless, these videos also offered a glimpse into the engineering superiority of their product compared to the status quo. Such marketing connects on many levels and has been seen rampantly flourishing among these new mattress brands.

Market Saturation

As with all innovative ideas, imitators are never short to follow. In as little as 3 years after their initial success, Casper has seen many and more mattress brands pop up claiming to offer more affordable options. Overseas manufacturers have tooled themselves up for the new genus of mattress designs and have not been shy about marketing their services to would be entrepreneurs. The result—more mattress options for consumers to choose from. The problem—how could one ever be expected to pick a winner from a pack of hundreds? True be told, there’s a strong chance that many consumers wouldn’t be able to spot a lemon until it landed in their bedrooms. Even the most concise mattress reviews seem to still cover dozens of options. Fortunately, for now, it would seem that the one thing most of these new brands have in common is their free shipping, extended home evaluation plans, and extended warranties.

Author: Colin Steinway

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