Mr. Subodh Mehta,
Senior Vice President, Godrej Interio.

One of the biggest challenges for the mattress industry is the lack of standardization in bedstead dimensions, says Mr Subodh Mehta, Senior Vice President, Godrej Interio. Speaking to Comfort Times, he shares how Godrej Interio is working on accommodating customer’s changing expectations. Excerpts:

Q How did you plan to enter the mattress industry? For how many years have you contributed to this industry?

Godrej Interio being an established leader in the home furniture & home storage segment, it made strategic sense to expand to allied/associated categories and to establish a well-rounded offering around the furniture segment for our customers. Godrej Interio gets new a revenue stream and at the same time, we are able to offer a complete sleep solution to the customer. We have been in the mattress industry since the past 10 years.

Q What challenges have you faced at the time of entering the mattress industry? Are there any challenges you are still facing?

One of the biggest challenges is the lack of standardization in bedstead dimensions. We manufacture mattresses on large scale using the latest machinery to achieve good quality and affordable prices. Non-standardisation of mattress dimensions, length and width works against this objective. The second challenge is customer education

Traditionally customers are willing to spend a high amount of time and money on the bed but do not give the same importance to mattress selection. We know that mattress plays a very important role in good sleep as also to prevent spinal health-related problems. There is a need to bring customers on abord for these important health matters. The good news is that this is slowly changing with increasing customer awareness of these issues. Collective efforts by all industry players can speed up the process. Continuously improving the environmental sustainability of this category is another challenge we keep working on.

Q What is the difference in the technology and techniques you are using to build a quality mattress from others in the market?

Sleep innovation is taking a centre stage in the sleep & wellness industry. Godrej Interio as a brand is committed towards making the best use of technology to help us put forth a value-added and tech-enabled product for our customers. There are three levers to ensure a high standard of quality. The first one is designed, the quality has to be built right from the design stage. Second is the materials used for construction. It is obvious that if good quality material goes into the making of a mattress, the mattress will perform better.

Besides one has to constantly work on material innovation. Third is a process. The process control has to be
of a high standard to ensure consistent quality of production. The right combination of technology and material helps us innovate and develop products and consistently meet a high standard of quality.

Q What growth are you expecting in the mattress industry and the sales of your mattress?

There is constant innovation in terms of product features & design as well as Go to market methods in the mattress
industry. Brands are working to provide more value to customers through better price value equations, mattressin-a-box convenience, 10-year warranty and 100-days free trials. There are additional investments also coming in this
industry. Customer awareness and aspirations are also going up. We believe all these factors will lead to this industry
growing exponentially in the coming years.

Q How are you expanding yourself for a tight hold in the mattress market?

The Indian mattress industry is extremely competitive with many players (both organized and unorganized) but at the same time, the size of the market is large. We feel that the customer needs are still not being completely satisfied and there is huge scope for improvement and bridging this gap. Our strategy to expand our offerings and operations is driven by:

  • Continuing to remain focused on customer-centricity as our core principle and strive to deliver maximum value to our customers.
  • Ensuring delivery of sustainable value to all our other stakeholders as well including our channel partners.
  • Make customer understanding and design thinking as our primary tool to achieve our objectives.

Q What do you feel regarding customer’s preference to buy a mattress from a furniture and mattress store or a stand-alone mattress store?

Today, the process for selecting any mattress is confusing for the users. It is difficult for most people to find a suitable mattress as options are many and selection is dependent on each persons’ body type and sleeping habits. So, we intend to give our customers a complete sleep solution (bed + mattress). We find that customers tend to not pay much attention on the purchase of a mattress in spite of it being the most important element for a good nights’ sleep.

Through our furniture as well as mattress stores, we have the opportunity to cross-sell our mattresses to customers
who are already purchasing our beds and also give them a coordinated solution of a bed and mattress in terms of
dimensions & weight. Having a dedicated display space in our stores for our mattresses that can allow customers to have a good look at all the options available as well as comfortably try out each one, is of the essence. Our shop-in-shops act as individual stores and work to our benefit in offering bed+mattress solutions to our customers.

Q Is there any room for new players in the mattress industry with the domination of big players like you?

Since the mattress industry in India is a mix of branded players in the organized market as well as smaller unorganized players, each having an established target market of their own, in terms of product preference and price, there is a huge potential in the market and the right product-price mix will be of significance to help any new entrant or existing player thrive.

In the past few years, many start-ups have become big in the e-commerce space and continue to hold a fair share of the market. There are learnings to be taken from each player that can help us offer the best product to our customers. In short, there is space for everyone to grow.

Q How different are the consumers’ choices and needs when choosing furniture and a mattress?

When it comes to buying a mattress, customers have specific needs which cannot be compromised or overlooked. For example, if a customer is facing back pain, he/she must be recommended an orthopaedic mattress to help solve his/her problem.

Same is not the case for furniture, where the buying decision may be more dependent on a budget or as per the ongoing trend in terms of colours, materials & finishes and it is more of a joint decision for use of the entire family. Also, for mattresses, since the internal configuration or material is not visible to the customers, effective communication about the construction and benefit of the mattress is essential.

ISPF is an industry body which promotes importance of sleep and role of mattress for a Indian consumers. ISPF plays very important role in connecting Indian bedding industry ecosystem. ISPF also acts as bridge between India and international players.