BEDDING E-TAILERS UNBOX STRONG DATA, BRAND, STORIES…

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The online mattress business marches onward and upward, and a panel of online bedding experts at the recent Bedding Conference held here shared research and strategies that illustrate and shape their growth.

Setting the stage for the discussion, Mike Magnuson, founder and CEO of online mattress buying resource GoodBed.com, presented updated data for the online mattress industry over the past year, comparing them to the traditional mattress brands.
Based on publicly available information and GoodBed statements, Magnuson estimated that the online mattress industry repeated its growth of 20% to 50% in 2016 and holding 12% to 13% or more of retail sales, a 2% to 3% bump from last year. There are also more than 150 online brands now, confirming the increasingly crowded field by 50% over 2016.Breaking down the top five online brands by revenue, the data put Casper at the top with $400 million, doubling 2016 sales. The next brand, Saatva, comes in at about $225 million, showing roughly a $50 million increase over 2016.

Purple was ranked third at $200 million, more than doubling its 2016 revenue. Tied at $150 million were Leesa, which doubled its revenue, and Tuft & Needle, which grew about 50%. Magnuson estimated total revenue of the top five online brands at $1.1 billion.

He also revealed Internet search volume over the past three years for the top five online brands; five leading traditional brands; and then comparisons of searches for Casper, Purple, Sealy, Serta and Tempur-Pedic.

While the online brands have grown rapidly since the middle of 2013, the traditional brands have been “relatively flat” according to Magnuson, indicating that “online guys are more efficiently spending their dollars targeting people who are in market.”

Magnusson summarized by depicting a “battleground” to be fought through distribution with the optimal balance of brick-and-mortar and online, customer acquisition through maximized efficiency in reaching mattress shoppers and delivering high quality customer experience and capturing positive feedback online.

With more than 4,000 reviews on its website, Tennessee-based BedInABox is focused on the consumer by providing a high level of service and developing products for every sleep style, according to BedInABox designer Susan Chase.

Susan ChaseWhen Bill Bradley, CEO of BedInABox.com, developed a machine that would compress a mattress to fit it into a shippable box, the original PacBed was offered in 2006 at an introductory price point. Today the company has multiple products with risk-free, 120-day in-home trial, free shipping and 20-year warranty.

“With the influx of newcomers to the category, we needed to do things differently,” said Chase. “We focused on a very high quality product, updated our website and new product collections.”

The company will begin multi-channel distribution in June, according to Chase. “We are not a threat. … It’s about better sleep for every lifestyle.”

A lifestyle with balance is what inspired Alvaro Vaselli to form his online mattress company, Nuvanna.

Alvaro Vaselli

He said his personal objectives match his business objectives to help people have better life starting with sleep.Vaselli said that 83% of the younger generation is open to feedback from friends on how to live a better life, so Nuvanna seeks to first inspire them to take steps toward that.

His take on the debate between brick-and-mortar and online mattress retailers is more about what the two have in common: shared responsibility to contribute to the discussion about the power of quality sleep; innovating for better products for better sleep; and simplifying the buying experience.

Telling your story and selling your own brand is what Nest Bedding founder and CEO Joe Alexander recommended in the competitive landscape. Selling online and through brick-and-mortar stores, Nest Bedding has been built on a family-oriented story, which Alexander said

Joe Alexander

consumers want as alternative to the majors.He said, “Retail isn’t dead. People want to shop. They want more boutique, relational experience. … We don’t close; we let them come to the conclusion that we solve their problem. While everyone is rushing online, I’m going to build more stores — 70 to 80 nationwide — with multiple lines in my story. Tell your story and trust your brand.”

BedInABox’s Chase said they had a major online presence, but customers wanted to experience the mattress so they opened a retail store. “The main goal is to create an awesome customer experience whether online or in the showroom,” she said. “Get to know the customer and solve their problem.”