Amidst the fluctuations in the business climate and the uncertainties posed by the global situation, the mattress industry faces a blend of opportunities and challenges. Insights from various industry leaders, provided in a recent conversation with Furniture Today Staff, present a landscape filled with innovation, adaptation, and the shared vision of embracing a customer-centric approach.
In this article, we'll delve into the industry's current standing and strategies, as well as the expectations and adjustments of individual companies.
Perspectives from Leaders in the Bedding and Furniture Industry
1. Stabilizing Sales and Embracing the Digital Age
The furniture industry is encouraged to reassess its identity. Trina Solomon, director of marketing, Diamond Mattress, emphasizes the need to understand the company's niche in the marketplace, saying, “Understanding your niche in the marketplace is key to weathering the storm” ("Split decision: Where do we go from here?" by Furniture Today Staff and Staff Editors, Furniture Today, July 30, 2023.).
3. Building Relationships and Offering Quality
Jon Stowe, managing director, E.S. Kluft & Co., explains the significance of maintaining close relationships with retailers and the commitment to providing quality products. Even in challenging times, Stowe notes that the strategies they've employed have resulted in outperforming the industry, attributing success to consumer awareness of quality investments and strong supplier relationships.
4. Expansion and Focus on Health Benefits
Alan Hirschhorn, executive vice president, GhostBed, talks about weathering market softening through expansion into retail channels and maintaining a commitment to outstanding service. Hirschhorn stresses the need to promote the health benefits of proper sleep, stating that the industry should do a “better job collectively talking about the value of sleep” ("Split decision: Where do we go from here?" by Furniture Today Staff and Staff Editors, Furniture Today, July 30, 2023).
5. Cyclical Sales Cycles and Focus on Quality
As sales are expected to follow pre-COVID cycles, John Zanatta, director of sales, Leggett & Platt Adjustable Bed Group, highlights their improved flexibility and speed. Emphasizing quality over offering cheap products, he believes that competitive pricing combined with excellent quality will continue to gain strong consumer support.
6. Aggressiveness in Challenging Times
David Binke, CEO, King Koil, shares an aggressive approach to challenging times, seeking opportunities large and small. He also shows excitement about new showroom presentations, speaking to consumer interest in the health and wellness category.
7. Growth Expectations and Innovation
Frank Hood, CEO, Kingsdown, expresses cautious optimism for increased momentum, focusing on innovation and efficient distribution expansion. He also mentions the idea of industry partnerships and consumer education on sleep importance.
8. Improvements and Focus on Upholstery
Tim Donk, vice president of product, Legends Furniture, mentions a strategy that includes making improvements on the factory floor, investing in new equipment, and focusing on their upholstery program.
9. Service, Quality, and Innovation
Chris Bradley, executive vice president, NCFI, talks about the importance of staying true to organizational strengths, emphasizing service, quality, and innovation. Bradley feels that companies with a solid strategic approach will weather the storm.
10. Multi-Prong Approach and Innovative Value
Richard Fleck, president, Paramount Sleep Co., discusses helping retailers by creating a higher close ratio while maintaining a solid average unit selling price. This involves quality education, innovative value, customized programs, and delivering innovative, handcrafted products.
11. Diversification and Adapting to Changes
Scott Tesser, CEO and co-owner, Precision Textiles, emphasizes exploration of opportunities that diversify and expand product offerings. He mentions the industry’s need to adapt to changing consumer preferences and trends, including sustainability.
12. Growth Opportunities and Expansion
Rob DeMartini, CEO, Purple Innovation, sees potential for growth, emphasizing innovation and unique opportunities to reach out to a larger market. They plan on extending their footprint by expanding wholesale points of sale and opening new stores.
13. Driving Sales in Luxury Market
Bill Hammer, president, Shifman Mattresses, points out that the luxury market is not as affected as others. He emphasizes the importance of aggressive advertising, clear communication on value, and the benefits of sleep.
14. Improving Door Clicks and Exclusivity
Nick Bates, president, Spring Air International, discusses a strategy aimed at improving door clicks and door swings, utilizing aggressive promotions to attract lower to mid-level consumers. The reintroduction of exclusive collections is also emphasized.
Navigating the ever-shifting currents of the bedding and furniture industry in the current business climate requires more than simple adaptation. It requires strategic evolution, well-articulated brand identity, relentless commitment to quality, innovation, and unwavering customer focus. Industry leaders demonstrate the need for comprehensive approaches that take into account the dynamic market conditions and changing consumer preferences.
The insights from these leaders show that success in these uncertain times doesn't just come from responding to immediate challenges. It comes from envisioning and working towards a future where the business not only survives but thrives. From embracing digital transformation to focusing on health benefits, improving relationships, diversification, and even aggressive expansions, there is a rich tapestry of strategies being employed.
Ultimately, the mattress industry seems poised for resilience and innovation. The strategies laid out by the executives in this article show a clear path towards growth and redefinition, highlighting the importance of learning from the current challenges to build a more robust, more responsive, and more innovative industry for the future.
The words of these leaders offer not just a glimpse into the current state of the industry but a roadmap for other businesses seeking to navigate these complex times. Their wisdom, optimism, and pragmatism are lessons for any business leader looking to make sense of the present while building a promising future.