HIGH POINT — The pace of change is accelerating rapidly in the bedding industry, marketing guru Warren Kornblum said at the Furniture Today Bedding Conference.
There was more change in the bedding industry in the past decade than there was in the previous century, he said,but then COVID-19 hit the industry, sparking more change in the past five months than there has been in most bedding veterans’ lifetimes.
Kornblum, who has worked for Serta Simmons Bedding, Rooms To Go, and Toys “R” Us in his long marketing career, said the pandemic has brought “a great deal of fear” to the market, with 62% of Americans saying they are worried about catching the virus and almost half now thinking it is very likely that another pandemic will hit this decade.
Consumers’ consumption patterns are shifting toward online purchasing, he said, and e-commerce has seen more growth in the past two months than it had in the past two years.
But this is no time for marketers to panic, according to Kornblum: “There will be life after COVID-19, and we as an industry must prepare for it. And that preparation begins and ends with our ability to understand the people consuming our products.”
That sounds simple, but the industry was schooled on this point by savvy online mattress players that realized the shift to online brands was not about boxed beds but instead about a revolution led by consumers who were unhappy with traditional mattress shopping experiences and practices, Kornblum said. Among other things, those online players connected with consumers by avoiding “mattress speak” and instead speaking “in human terms.”
The bedding industry can break out of its boxed-in mindset by understanding the consumers’ journey to the mattress purchase, by knowing that its world revolves around the consumers’ world, by being relevant to consumers, by “talking straight and standing behind what we say,” and by meeting consumers where they want and when they want, Kornblum said.
Bedding companies who do that will achieve more than just improved market share, they will also win “share of heart,” he said.
“If we become a part of their life, a trusted friend, we will sell not one bed every seven years for one room, but we will sell them every mattress they need by winning a true piece of their heart,” Kornblum said.
He is a growth advisor and the founder of Shadow Branding Group. He is wrapping up his first book, tentatively titled, “Never Too Big To Fail.”
His Bedding Conference talk was sponsored by Spring Air.
Missed the Bedding Conference? You can still register to watch the sessions at beddingcon.pbmconferences.com