With the advent of time, it has been witnessed that digital native mattress brands are aggressively heading towards launching offline stores across India and the established brands are exploring customer-friendly online strategies. Almost every player in the Indian mattress industry is expanding its reach across various sales channels, whether through retail outlets or digital, in an omnichannel way.

When some startups in the mattress industry operated on a D2C model, it attracted many consumers, who looked for good quality products at a good price. Digital native companies could maintain the price advantage and therefore, they became clear competitors to the established brands in the mattress market. However, despite the competition, the reputed brands do credit them for bringing in more customers to the organized market and hence, they too focussed on their digital strategy. But mattresses being a ‘touch and feel’ product, are still preferred to be bought from offline stores. Therefore, to make themselves more accessible to a larger set of consumers, D2C mattress companies that are still in the startup phase have raised funds to set up offline stores across India.

The Indian mattress industry is gearing up towards expanding its market share in the overall mattress market. Therefore, organized players must adopt an omnichannel strategy to outgrow the less organized or unorganized players in the industry. Almost every brand is working towards making its mattress or sleep products available through all channels. Changing consumer behaviours, advancements in technology and the need to deliver a seamless customer experience are some of the key factors driving the adoption of an omnichannel strategy in the mattress business.

A vague analysis of various developments in the mattress industry gives us an impression that ‘brick and mortar’ brands are strengthening their online presence and startups that first established themselves on the digital medium, are now raising funds to set up offline stores. This has led to the growing adoption of an omnichannel strategy. How important is it for mattress brands to have an omnichannel strategy? What are the plans of various market players? We are quite intrigued to explore the reasons behind the growing adoption of omnichannel strategies.

Importance of Omnichannel strategy

Before we analyse the importance of implementing an omnichannel strategy, it is important to mention some recent developments in the domestic mattress industry, that would indicate the groundwork that has already been kickstarted by mattress brands to increase their presence across India. In January 2023, Wakefit raised Rs 320 crore in Series D funding and the company expressed its plans to open 100 offline stores across 20 cities in the next 24 months, as reported on moneycontrol.com.

According to an ET Retail report published in October 2023, The Sleep Company announced its plans to establish 250 to 300 stores in the next 3 years and the company aimed to record Rs 500 crore revenue in FY 24. According to a Hindu Business Line report published in October 2022, Repose Mattress announced its plans to reach the Rs 500 crore mark by 2025, which will be supported by its pan-Indian presence and production expansion across India.

These are just a few reports to indicate how mattress companies are stressing their omnichannel strategy. Adopting an omnichannel strategy is quintessential for brands to cater to the varied needs of customers. Not addressing customers’ requirements on time would result in a brand losing out a customer to other brands. The omnichannel strategy adopted by businesses helps in catering to customer needs faster. For instance, if you need a mattress urgently for some occasion or any other specific requirement, it can be delivered immediately if brands have a good omnichannel presence, says S Sundaresan, Secretary Indian Sleep Products Federation (ISPF).

Despite the competition, the reputed brands do credit D2C mattress brands to bring in more customers to the organized market and hence, they too focussed on their digital strategy.

By adopting an omnichannel strategy, brands can ensure that customers can access the entire range of products offered by the brand through various channels like in-store catalogues or brochures, social media pages and other channels where the brand engages with its customers. Almost every mattress brand offers a different range of products and it is available in standard sizes. By visiting a store, customers will not get to experience every range of products. This is where an omnichannel strategy helps. The customers can then can go to the brand’s website, mobile app or any electronic medium, where the brand has enabled the products’ information. Customers can then search for and understand products that they would like to buy. Another area, where having an omnichannel strategy could help is in the area of ‘customization’. Customers can put in the measurements of their beds and get the desired product delivered to them, explains Arun Gupta, Independent Director and an IT strategy consultant.

Several other brands are working diligently towards building up their dealer and distributor network while having provisions for their customers to buy mattresses or sleep products online. We have a vast network throughout India to cover the demand from every part of India. We have company-owned exclusive showrooms, a vast distribution network, multi-brand outlets (MBOs) and our service centres across the length and breadth of the country. We use digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. very effectively to reach the customer, says Rohan Patel, DirectorSales at Refresh Mattress.

Indian mattress businesses are increasingly embracing an omnichannel approach owing to changing consumer habits. Millennials are using a combination of online and offline channels to do thorough research about mattresses before buying them. With an omnichannel presence, mattress brands can meet customers, wherever they are. It could be an offline store, online marketplace, dedicated company website or mobile app. This approach contributes towards ensuring customer satisfaction and brand loyalty as they deliver a seamless buying experience. Nilkamal Limited which entered the Indian mattress industry three years ago, plans to leverage all channels to make its mattresses and sleep products available for its customers. Manish Parekh, Joint Managing Director of Nilkamal Limited shared the company’s plans, saying Going forward, the plan is to look at other multi-brand outlets, mattress outlets, furniture cum furnishings outlets also. So, it’s a mix of everything. We would like to grow through the trade channel, e-commerce and our own franchise and retail outlets.

To make themselves more accessible to a larger set of consumers, D2C mattress companies that are still in the startup phase have raised funds to set up offline stores across India.

Through an omnichannel strategy, mattress brands get an opportunity to gather data and insights on customer behaviours and preferences, making it easier for brands for more targeted marketing, personalized recommendations and improved inventory management. Additionally, this approach offers customers the flexibility to research products online, test them in-store, and complete their purchases through their preferred channels, whether it’s in-person or online. We wish to roll out a limited number of Franchise Owned Franchise Operated (FOFO) EBOs shortly to offer user experience. We don’t wish to enter the Company Owned Company Operated (COCO) EBOs space. We would like to be a low-key DTC player confined to a natural series of mattresses only, says Anil Kumar PS, CEO of Eastern Mattresses Pvt Limited (EMPL).

Road ahead for omnichannel strategy in Indian mattress industry

Based on our interaction with industry experts, it could be deciphered that brands are leveraging an omnichannel strategy to make their products available to a larger set of customers. According to a Technopak Analysis report, the distribution and reach of branded players and the rising penetration of e-commerce are some of the key trends shaping the modern mattress industry in India. The report points out, Branded players, through their strong distribution network servicing extensive retail footprint, have been able to cater to a broad segment of customers, ranging from metro and mini metro cities to tier III and beyond cities.” Additionally, the report also explains, “With the advent of e-commerce, the buying behaviour of consumers for mattresses has been transformed to a certain extent. Now customers are purchasing products right from the comfort of their homes on online retailing platforms like Amazon and Flipkart at competitive price levels with convenient delivery options. The e-commerce segment for mattresses is currently in a nascent stage and is expected to constitute approximately 3 to 5 percent of the total modern mattress sales by Fiscal 2028.

It is imperative for organized players to adopt an omni channel strategy to outgrow the less organized or unorganized players in the industry. Adopting an omnichannel strategy is quintessential for brands to cater to the varied needs of customers. Brands are leveraging an omnichannel strategy to make their products available for a larger set of customers.

These numbers give us the impression that having an omnichannel presence will become mandatory for mattress brands to support their futuristic business goals. Having a strong network of brick-and-mortar stores and a user-friendly online presence has to be a cohesive strategy to ensure consistent availability of inventories on demand. ”Digital was a critical channel in 2023, most players have realised this. This also comes across in the impact e-commerce, both marketplaces & D2C, has had in 2023. All brands have also started to raise their game on SEO & SEM so that their presence is optimized for netizens doing their research online or looking to engage with brands or purchase online. Social media activities for most brands went up in 2023 & the trend should continue in 2024 as well. A lot of content related to mattress buying guides, sleep health, etc is now available online & fast becoming a good tool for brands to interact with potential or existing customers”, says Anand Chandak, SVP – of e-commerce, Sleepwell. Brands are increasingly trying to offer customized and personalized mattresses that suit their customers’ needs. A cohesive omnichannel strategy will help brands deliver mattresses and sleep products on time ensuring a hassle-free shopping experience for their consumers.

By integrating digital channels into their omnichannel strategy, mattress brands could look at introducing ‘physical stores’ that would involve leveraging artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality technologies.

Omnichannel strategies can also help streamline the delivery processes through the integration of supply chain management and logistics. This will facilitate efficient and flexible delivery, including same-day delivery or click-and-collect services. The adoption of an omnichannel strategy will transform the retail landscape, and offer more convenience and personalized experiences for mattress shoppers.