Denny Boyd is president of Boyd Specialty Sleep, a manufacturer of flotation, foam and air sleep systems, and The Bedroom Store, a bedding retail chain. Boyd is also president of the Specialty Sleep Assn.
Savvy consumers, from Baby Boomers to Generation Y and generations in between, are increasingly committed to health and wellness. As a result, they are looking for new, better and more innovative ways to improve their sleep.
Specialty sleep products — most notably air, flotation, latex, foam and adjustable sleep surfaces — offer manufacturers and retailers a great opportunity to meet the need of this growing market segment. Consider the following:
1. Increases total bedding sales and protects innerspring sales
Specialty bedding does not steal innerspring sales. In each case where Boyd Specialty Sleep has implemented a specialty sleep program, innerspring sales continue to increase at the same rate, while specialty sleep adds incremental sales.
2. Attracts an interested consumer
Thanks to the national advertising of major direct marketers, many consumers have heard about specialty sleep as an alternative to innerspring. In fact, a recent study done by America's Research Group indicated that more than 28% of consumers felt that advertising for specialty sleep mattresses was "the most influential" or "very influential" in deciding where to shop for their next mattress.
3. Yields high profit dollars
Since a small proportion of retailers commit to the specialty sleep category in any given marketplace, you have the ability to "own" your market. This can yield high profit dollars because of the 50% margin that is typical for specialty sleep products.
4. Caters to the ultra-premium segment
Specialty sleep is not promotional bedding with high unit volumes and little profit dollars. Specialty sleep consumers usually have higher household income, higher education levels and greater disposable income than the average shopper.
5. Addresses the major portion of the bedding business
Estimates of the market share for specialty sleep range between 10% and 22% of consumer dollars spent on mattresses. Assuming a reasonable 14% of the $7.6 billion bedding industry, specialty sleep represents nearly $1.7 billion in annual U.S. sales.
6. Encourages increased closing ratios
In each market, there are relatively few retail locations where the consumer can "test rest" a specialty sleep mattress. If you carry and promote a full range of mattress options, there is a good chance the consumer will shop your store first and have no reason to go elsewhere.
7. Enjoys a 'premium' image
Consumers are aware that the cost of memory foam, latex, air and flotation mattresses is generally in excess of $1,000 in queen size. The value of specialty sleep is also apparent, with a feel and support structure that is not found in innerspring mattresses.
8. Is a master bedroom purchase
Ninety percent of specialty bedding sales are in king and queen sizes, making the average unit selling price dramatically higher for specialty bedding than for other sleep surfaces … and encouraging interest in sales of master bedroom furniture.
9. Offers customized comfort for better health
If there is one word that describes specialty sleep it is comfort. Whether the support system is air, foam or water the selling story remains essentially the same: By contouring to your body and thereby reducing pressure points, overall support is increased which allows for a long, uninterrupted, efficient night's sleep. This all adds up to better health.
10. Adds more excitement to the bedding category
Do your customers have fun shopping for a mattress? Specialty sleep mattresses are interesting and unique. They compel the shopper to lie down on them and find out more. This helps break down the communication barrier between the salesperson and the customer, making the shopping experience a positive one.