Bedding producers Q&A: As we shift into 2023, what will your company be doing to help your partners manage through challenging times? – Furniture Today

HIGH POINT — As the bedding industry looks ahead to wrapping up 2022 and turning the calendar to 2023, most executives are forecasting bumpy roads for the category given the uncertainty with the economy, inflation, the political environment and ongoing labor concerns.
Given possible economic challenges ahead, Furniture Today asked key bedding executives what strategies their companies were putting in place to help retail partners weather any difficult times.
We’re committed to offering a broad selection of product to meet the needs of every consumer. In addition, we have been investing in digital commerce to reach consumers who want to purchase online.
But we are taking a different approach there. We are working closely with our brick-and-mortar retailers to partner with them, collaborating instead of taking sales from them. Our Harvest program is a good example of this. We built a very dynamic platform, which creates economic opportunity for our dealers. As a result, we signed more than 100 new dealers to this program.
We will continue to expand our digital work into other areas as well in the coming year.
Casper’s success is attributed to a simple concept — uniquely wonderful products delivered with a uniquely wonderful experience — and we simply can’t provide the full Casper experience without our incredible retail partners.
Our multichannel approach offers flexibility to consumer preferences through direct-to-consumer, our Sleep Shops and our retail partners, while increasing distribution and driving geographic expansion.
At this time, when consumers are navigating these challenging times, it’s especially important that we are where the customer wants to shop. Our retail partners know the customer so well, with decades of experience in this business, and they allow us to put an emphasis on trial opportunities, where consumers can experience and compare products and feel super confident in their decisions.
We work closely with each retailer, making sure we’re offering the right assortment of products for each partner considering the bedding industry, and the mattress category specifically, is very different regionally. Our wholesale team and retail partners work together to create activation plans by city or region and think together about how we can provide the best, most consistent Casper shopping experience through our stores and retail partners.
Our strategies are focused on getting more efficient, introducing differentiated products, and helping our customers grow their profit margins. We are fortunate to have invested in new equipment that is just now coming online, which will improve workflows and take pressure off our workforce.
Our new product offerings including gel grid and our exclusive partnership with Technogel provide our customers unique premium options. In a climate where traffic is hard to come by, our plan is to help our customers increase their average unit selling prices and their margins.
Historically, retailers that continue advertising through a down economy maintain market share and sales. What happens on the other side of those turbulent conditions is what’s most encouraging: These retailers dramatically grow market share and experience spikes in sales.
Englander continues to empower retailers with products that deliver higher margin at competitive prices, supported with a robust bank of marketing tools and assets that can be accessed on demand at
Heading into 2023 we plan to continue to focus on the close relationships we’ve established with our retailers, to support their plans and make sure they have everything they need to meet the needs of their business and their customers.
To accomplish this, we are building on the commitment we’ve made to provide our retail partners with exceptional service, and the opening of our third U.S. factory, in Grand Prairie, Texas, will help us achieve that goal.
Promotional and advertising activities also will remain a key part of our marketing programs next year.
One of the many things that has traditionally set GhostBed apart from our competitors is our huge investment in advertising and the power of that spend to drive traffic to our retail partners.
We are going to enhance and refine our ad buys for next year to include more OTT and podcasts where consumer engagement is growing exponentially. That will drive more traffic to our retail partners, and we will help deliver more customers to their doors, which is their main priority right now.
What has made Gold Bond successful for nearly 125 years has been our adherence to our core values of quality, handmade products, personalized RSA training and exceptional customer service. That has not only gotten us through depressions, recessions, world wars and pandemics in the past, but it positions us well for the challenges our industry may face in 2023.
Since our products are designed for durability and longevity, they resonate with both retailers and customers who want high quality instead of disposability, and we are optimistic about the coming year for our dealers and our company.
We know the digital transformation at retail is dramatically impacting consumer behavior. For our retail partners to be more competitive, they need beautiful, lifestyle imagery shot in aspirational locations to evoke the kind of emotional responses that help convert customers into buyers.
To support them, we are being much more aggressive in our marketing contributions and working more closely than ever before with our retail partners on marketing to ensure they have the digital assets necessary to draw and redirect more people into their stores.
Additionally, we will continue to elevate our products with offerings that speak to what consumers want now and issues they care about. From smart technologies to saving the planet, we are focused on ensuring our dealers have all the tools they need to share the King Koil story in the most inspiring and relevant ways.
It is a tale of two extremes at retail as we go into 2023: a softening of demand, while seeing a rise in AUSP.
We will continue to support our retail partners by riding the wave of AUSP increases by offering them new products with the latest innovations to help them maximize that hike, while giving them more merchandising and customer support.
As we think ahead to 2023 and how we can help our customers navigate what is shaping up to be an uncertain macro-environment, our approach is three-fold.
First, maintain our focus of being a stable, reliable supplier-partner that delivers superior quality in a timely manner.
Second, provide differentiation with a diverse product portfolio across key price points.
Finally, strive to develop win-win solutions and product innovations that help overcome labor constraints, improve throughput and promote sustainability.
Our main focus to help our retailers in 2023 will be to shorten our lead times for sold orders by maintaining higher inventory levels in our U.S. warehouse.  This will help our dealers close more sales and turn their Magniflex inventory quicker.
We also will have a heavy focus on RSA sales training next year.  We want our retail partners to have the education and confidence to sell our brand and our unique features.
Lastly, we have already laid out our 2023 national promotional calendar that will feature more interesting sales for consumers along with eye-catching in-store POP to draw them in for more details.
Mlily USA’s core business is exactly what helps retailers get through a challenging economy because it comes down to value for the consumer. Value is perhaps overused, but not when it is precisely what the consumer wants when they need a mattress.
Our vertical integration and domestically produced and warehoused products at key price points mean that a consumer can walk into a store and find an affordable quality mattress when most everything else in the market is not. That is how we help our retail partners.
We will help our partners in two ways: First, we will work with them to develop new products, with proven performance benefits, that will help them gain a competitive edge.
We also will work with them to analyze their current product offerings to see if any cost reductions can be achieved through raw material changes or increased efficiencies.
As always, our focus is on helping our retailers build and maintain success. During challenging times, retailers are often faced with fewer door pulls and stiffer objections to big-ticket purchases. In 2008, our sleep accessories helped retailers bridge that gap by maximizing the potential of every customer that walked through their door, providing opportunities to increase average tickets and improve the retailer’s bottom line.
We are revamping this approach for 2023 to ensure that our retailers’ in-store and online business channels remain strong.
Our strict MAP pricing policies and fast drop-ship capabilities allow our retailers to increase their assortments with little-to-no inventory investment while expanding their accessory collections so that their customers continue to see value in their brand.
The biggest challenge in the bedding industry for the new year is trying to cut through the noise of marketing gimmicks. There is a lot of competition within the marketplace as many companies, both new and old, try to capitalize on a high-turn commodity. Just because a company has a luxury price point does not mean it is truly a luxury product; the law tags tell the real story. The companies that offer real value are the ones that will persevere.
That said, the biggest opportunity for the bedding industry in 2023 is to listen to the retailer community who has a finger on the pulse of their consumers’ needs, and to remain committed to their success by offering products that they know will help drive revenue.
By helping to maximize the profit on every up. As door swings have gotten fewer, the need is to up sell to the most profitable items within your assortment. Southerland offers great product that provides that opportunity. Training and merchandising are the keys for success during these times.
We continue to provide our retail partners product so that they remain competitive in the marketplace. As long as we are protecting them on key price points and not selling against them, the Spring Air product is well-designed to keep them competitive.
We have new Back Supporter Hybrid Plus, new Four Seasons and new Chattam & Wells ahead.
We have great training and support programs for all of our brands that will help RSAs really understand and know our products so that they are comfortable selling them to consumers.
We will continue to provide our dealers with tools to combat an inflation-driven economy, such as our “Inflation Fighting Value Mattress Sale” promotion which we will be providing to our dealers for the first quarter of 2023. This will include a variety of POP, some customizable, that enables dealers to optimize the promotion to suit their market and customer base.
The strength of our dealer relationships is based on the consistent marketing support and actionable ideas we provide every day and especially during times when they need it most to drive business more aggressively.
I’m Sheila Long O’Mara, executive editor at Furniture Today. Throughout my 25-year career in the home furnishings industry, I have been an editor with a number of industry publications and spent a brief stint with a public relations agency where I worked with some of the industry’s leading bedding brands. I rejoined Furniture Today in December 2020 with a focus on bedding and sleep products. It’s a homecoming for me, as I was a writer and editor with Furniture Today from 1994 until 2002. I’m happy to be back and look forward to telling the important stories impacting bedding retailers and manufacturers.

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