Does the world of sleep make your eyes close and dreams start? Well, it is time to wake up, as this industry is one of the most interesting to view from a marketing perspective. Specifically, the world of mattresses.
Around a decade ago, shopping for a mattress would have involved heading a to an out of town megastore, with a row of 20 beds and mattresses with no discernible difference between them. Sweaty Dave the sales rep would finish his cheese & onion crisps and talk with very limited knowledge about some mattresses being more ‘springy’ than others. You bounced on a couple, bought one, waited 6 weeks for delivery and that was that. No returns, no science, just a transaction.
Step into the current world, and this is an industry that has been well and truly disrupted. No more trips to the megastore, the experience is now very much online. Casper arguably started this revolution, but have been followed by many including Eve, Leesa, Emma to name but three. Have you noticed the obsession with first names rather than sleep-based branding? This could be due to the organic rankings for generic mattress and sleep based terms being so competitive and needing differentiate themselves in the market.
These brands brought the experience online, with a previously unheard of 100 day returns and collection policy and much more. They also herded towards the ‘science of sleep’ using various claims to their mattress being the one that helped sleep the most. This was fueled by the increase of wellness awareness and sleep being a key component of that. From ‘active cooling’ to ‘anti-microbial’, the public have been dazzled with a variety of scientific terms to assure them that they should buy a mattress from one of the disruptors.
The question these brands should be asking is, does it need to go as far as that? Do people consider visco elastic memory foam in their purchase or do they just want a good night’s sleep on something that looks nice? The more the different brands throw different features at the public, the more confused they are with the whole mattress proposition.
How can brands alleviate this? They have all started the process with better levels of customer service, such as generous returns policies. These have now become ubiquitous, so standing out as a leader in service becomes challenging. But they could take service levels one step further.
Whilst many of the brands started off online, some have moved into the real world space, such as Emma Mattresses partnership with John Lewis and featuring their mattress in their stores. If that’s not possible, then perhaps live video shopping could be the solution? Browse one of the websites, spot a mattress you like the look of. Then, get connected with a sleep expert, who could show the firmness of the bed by pushing down on it or talk to you about your sleep posture and the best mattress for it. One to one video will work best in these situations, with a bespoke approach to something as important as sleep.
95% of people still have a preference to buy a mattress in real life (citing Anya Cohen in this article but as in-store is not possible for these brands, bringing the live experience into the home could be the differentiator in an over-crowded market that they are looking for.