Cleaning, Refurbishing, and Mattress Hygiene facilities can be more than an extra service element for the mattress players. They can be opportunities to practice sustainability and forge strong customer bonds too.

The difference between a car and toothpaste is simple. You can never use and throw a vehicle like a disposable product. There is more to it. A longer product life. A deeper engagement with user experience. A strong post-sales support element. A big spectrum of customers needs to be fulfilled long after the product is out of the store/showroom.

That’s exactly what makes the car a high-involvement product for the customer, unlike the impulse, fickle or low-involvement purchases made like chocolates or chewing gums.

The same parallels can apply for a mattress vs. a pillow cover. A mattress purchase goes through a long consideration cycle, it engages customer’s attention and focus at a deep level and it is not the end of a customer’s journey with the brand, but rather the beginning.

Auto-makers have been smart and proactive in tapping this space by offering a slew of well-crafted and well-executed post-sales services. They offer to take care of the car’s repairs, cleaning, maintenance, overhaul etc. as per a customer’s needs – long after the sales is done. Interestingly, it can be a good way of generating revenues through a continuum of various services. This is also where the brand makes a deep connect and develops strong affinity with the customer. The frequency of interactions with the customer is elevated. A wide berth of up-selling, consultation, cross-selling opportunities gets easily generated here non-intrusively, easily, profitably. And if a brand can ensure to deliver consistency and quality in the post-sale support area, this is precious space to create everlasting bonds and gain customer loyalty. Something that no high-budget marketing campaign can match up to.

Mattress players can emulate this strategy and offer some level of maintenance support for their products. This would help them to create: 1. Positive brand perceptions 2. High-level customer experiences that are first-hand and memorable – and, hence, rich in competitive advantages 3. New sales opportunities and word-of-mouth market expansion 4. Feedback and insights for new product development and incremental innovations 5. Circular economies for their product by encouraging recycling, re-purposing, and responsible usage of their products with an environmental orientation

Mattress is a product that is proliferating at a great pace. The global mattress market size stood at $27.5 billion in 2018 and has been estimated to expand at a CAGR of 6.7 percent from 2019 to 2025. And estimates from Grand View Research attribute this growth to rising disposable income, along with the surge in homeownership (an average of 69.6 percent across the globe). All this growth also translates into a big after-sales service market. Incidentally, the global bed and upholstery vacuum cleaner market is growing at a CAGR of over 13 percent in the period 2019-2025. The report from Research and Markets also shows that the bed and upholstery vacuum cleaner market is currently at an introductory stage, and there are limited companies offering these products and these devices exhibit lower penetration than other vacuum cleaners. But factors like urbanization, improving living standards, and fast-paced lifestyles could etch new influences and drivers here.

More so, with the new-found attention and gravity of allergies and asthma (about 4.3 percent of the global population in the age group of 18-45 years shows asthma diagnosis), people are waking up to support on HEPA filtration, UV light, or hot air stream, extraction of microscopic dust particles and eliminate dust mites. They need specialized cleaning devices for the reduction of the occurrence of allergens and asthma.

Mr. S. Sundaresan, Secretary ISPF says “Apart from the usual customers, brands could extend their mattress cleaning services to Hotels, Educational institutions, Hostels etc where mattresses are used heavily. Twofold objectives can be achieved with this: 1) Through periodic mattress cleaning services, the health condition of the mattress can be updated and necessary action could be initiated for replacement/refurbishment 2) Putting up a small message through a tent card or a side table message card inside every room as – our hotel’s mattresses get periodic cleaning services. It will give wide publicity to the importance of mattress cleaning service

There is a lot to learn from automotive players and also some mattress players in regions like Europe and the USA. The outcomes of accessible and excellent product support are evident in many forms. According to a Deloitte report on ‘Future of Automotive Sales and After Sales – Impact on OEM profits and Revenue until 2035’; OEMs will have to do more to retain customers in the after-sales service ecosystem. The traditional business segment of after-sales comprised of maintenance, accident repair, spare-parts sales, upgrades, accessories, reuse, and recycling. The future would be about generating new revenue models here as connected car platforms and through data generated from this space. As per Grand View Research, the global automotive aftermarket size stood at $378.4 billion in 2019 and is registering a CAGR of four percent from 2020 to 2027.

Mattress brands can create usage based consumer awareness and come forward to provide bedding cleaning services. Just like consumer thinks of cleaning car seat or sofa cleaning, consumers should consider getting their mattress cleaning done on regular intervals.

Brands can offer mattress cleaning services as a substitute instead of offering discounts on mattresses. This will help brands to build long-term relationships with consumers. Brands can also offer annual maintenance options as well

It is a good cue for mattress players in India to weave in a new avenue for business, revenues, customer insights, and advantageous brand value. Specially after 2020, when the awareness levels for health and hygiene have become heightened. Customers would love to have services that liberate them from allergens, bugs, dirt, and poor posture. The players can also learn from smart auto players that are adapting their services according to the future – by including data, connectedness, high-level services built on engagement, and customer convenience.

If players can formulate strong plans and resources for communication, support execution, transport, access, availability, and timely delivery schedules in this area, they can carve an inimitable and solid first-mover advantage in the Indian market. But they would also need to ensure that this opportunity is optimized to deepen customer satisfaction and not spoil it through service delays, mistakes, and poor support delivery. It is a massive chance to convert a one-time purchase into a lifelong relationship. Use it well.

APAC has about 930 million households and the market is growing at a rapid pace due to drivers like urbanization, increased disposable incomes. This builds up into high spending on exotic home furnishing, interior designs, and modern technology. Emerging economies such as China, India, and Indonesia could witness high GDP growth. The World Bank has estimated that the number of urban households in the region will see a surge of 68% during the period 2010-2030. Source: Research and Markets • The value chain of the aftermarket consists of two primary segments, automotive replacement part suppliers and service enablers. • These prime industry segments exchange value through automotive sectors – this happens at several intermittent stages. • Access to a considerable number of components along with simple transactions through digitalization – they are key to solving the obtainability issues, and fueling the aftermarket growth. • Some automotive replacement parts, such as aftermarket filters, also offer the chance of choosing a part that suits the condition in which the vehicle operates – which manifests the attention and focus that some players show for this market Source: Grand View Research

Do not forget the mattress, once it is out of the shop. Once sold, leverage those Mattresses to serve the customers better. It would be a staircase for long-term customer impact and engagement. Step on it. And elevate your business strategy.