As for mattress retailers, they also need constant support from the brands to attract more customers and increase sales of any brand products. Given that, in the present digital age, customers have become very demanding and expect much more from retailers. Further, despite the fact that retailers have the local advantage, they often lack the resources and strategies to efficiently target the right customers. That said, still local retailers are increasingly spending on marketing and advertising activities but they need to do much more. Here, comes the importance of support from mattress brands to the retailers in the domain. It’s high time that mattress brands realise that they need to focus on empowering their retailers by giving them the right products, information, tools and support they need to reach new as well as old customers in the best possible manner. That said, mattress brands have a huge role in helping retailers rise to glory and increase sales at their stores.

There is no doubt that already many mattress and allied industry brands are takings all the possible steps towards supporting their retailers, yet more needs to be done by the brands, especially the local brands. Mr Samir Kalra, Owner, of Maharaja Furnishings, Rajasthan, notes, “We get good support and choice range from our pillow companies. However, there is a difference between branded products and local products. The former ones are great in quality. They somehow are challenging in terms of the margin room they offer. If the inventory does not sell, the business numbers do not make sense. The market also needs more innovation for neck-support-conscious products in the pillow space.”

“Some brands like Sleepwell offer low-cost products like Starlite, which cost less than Rs 5000. But those products are not liked by customers. Also, it offers a very low margin for us”, says Mr Rohit Pandey from New India bedding and handloom stores. He says that he pushes the Sleep-o-tek product for the customer who can offer Rs 10,000 towards a mattress. “We have a local brand called Sleep-o-tek, their MRP is 14,000 and we give a discount of Rs 2000 to customers. Our cost price for that mattress is Rs 9000. We make Rs 3000 from each sale”, he says.

He also expects brands to distribute pamphlets in local newspapers with retailer addresses in them. “We get a lot of support from local brands. They have even printed business cards for me with their branding. I asked for a similar gesture from a reputed brand, but so far they haven’t got me”, he says.

Another mattress merchant Kundan from Haryana Handlooms says, he pushes the Dr Back brand mattress because of better margins. “I do deal with Kurl-on products. But when it comes to margins, reputed brands pay very fewer margins. I get just 15 percent off the selling price. Whereas local brands offer better margins”, he says. He also mentions that sales executives from reputed brands visit his stores occasionally where as local brands offer better support and quick solutions. “I can say that these reputed brand executive never visits our stores. I have a product which has not sold for the past 3-4 months. I have told the company to replace that product with the latest one, but so far I haven’t got any positive response”, says Kundan.

He also says that the local brands put all the salient features on the cover of the mattress, which becomes easy for explaining to customers.

Some of the established mattress brands are taking certain steps towards supporting the retail stores, they also need to gear up more and take further efforts in this direction. “We are getting good support from Duroflex. They update us about their products on a regular basis. After-sales support is also good. However, brands can think of promoting retailers also, which is not happening currently”, says Prasad from Mattress World.

Key takeaways: Steps mattress brands can take to help retailers

Here is a look at all the steps that can be taken by mattress brands to support the retailers in increasing their sales…

  1. Communicating with the retailers for manufacturing and supplying the product which is best suited to customer needs: Mattress customers are becoming more aware, specific in their requirements and health-conscious. They want certain features in their mattress and if brands are not able to incorporate those features in the product, then their products may not sell at the retail store despite retailers’ efforts. Further, there is increasing competition in the market with many mattress brands manufacturing similar products. Thus, what is needed is that brands should interact with their retailers more than often in order to know the prevailing customer requirement and market demand as the retailers are in direct contact with the customers and know the pulse of the market well. In fact, retailers communicate with customers on a regular basis and know customer’s stories well. Also, they are aware of the fact that which brand campaigns are working, what strategies can be used to drive local consumer engagement and what products are gaining attention from the customers. Thus, mattress brands need to collect this kind of valuable information from their retailers through sales representatives, in-person, over the phone or via online surveys and email and apply this knowledge to create new campaigns or manufacture unique and innovative products backed by research which when supplied to the retailers can attract more customers. Thus, through this way, brands can help the retailers in satiating all the customers’ needs and thereby, increase sales.

2. Helping retailers in creating new brand experiences at the store: Merely manufacturing a product that is better than the others and having a good brand image is not enough on the part of the mattress brands. They need to help mattress retailers in enhancing customer experience at the store to attract more local customers. For that, brands can work together with the retailers to create in-store events around the brand like at the time of a new product launch or when any upgraded product hits the market. This initiative can greatly enhance the customer experience and thus, they would be lured to the retail store. For creating this brand experience at the retail store, mattress brands need to provide the retailers with the right materials and know-how and assist them in planning, promoting and executing these events which can actually get the customers to action. In this way, brands can enable the customers to have a good experience that they wouldn’t be able to find at any other store. Thus, these in-store events and new brand experiences can motivate the customers to opt for a particular mattress brand at the retail store which can thus, increase sales.

3. Helping retailers build their own brand: In the fierce competitive scenario, mattress retailers need to build their own brand image but they generally don’t possess the know-how for doing so. Thus, brands need to come forward and help the retailers to create their own unique image which is in sync with the overall brand image. So, when a unique image of the mattress retail store is created in sync with the brand image, it can help the customers to identify the brand and its retail store easily.

4. Giving retailers direct access to the brand: It is often seen that mattress retailers want to communicate with the brand directly and share their insights and experience which can improve sales at their store. Here, what mattress brands can do is provide direct access to the retailers by bringing industry experts from the brand to the headquarters of the retail store. This way, mattress brands can also turn the retail store into a spot for customers to come and ask questions and learn more about the brand and this in turn can help the retailers as well as the customers to get more insights about the brand. This can actually increase retail sales later on when a customer makes up his or her mind to buy the mattress product.

5. Helping retailers in marketing: Local retailers generally don’t have the budget and technology needed to provide their customers with a seamless, multichannel digital journey and shopping experience. Hence, mattress brands need to step up on this front as well and try to take some burden off their retail partners by automating digital marketing processes and delivering customisable campaign components that allow them to easily target local customers.

6. Getting involved in retailers’ local initiatives: Mattress brands also need to go local for their retailers. That said, for advertising purposes, retailers generally engage themselves in local events. So, brands need to use their resources and help the retailers in their initiative as this can spread the good word about the brand in the market. Further, through this, mattress brands can tailor marketing campaigns to create relevant localised content that retailers can promote easily and drive more sales at the store.

7. Rewarding the retailers for their efforts: Last but not least, rewards to retailers by brands can also motivate the retailers to take greater action and adopt strategies to increase sales. Simply put, local mattress retailers generally lack time and resources, still, they take all the possible steps to increase brand sales, so when their hard work is appreciated and incentives are given to them by the brands, then they are further encouraged to work towards increasing brand sales. These incentives can be given by brands to retailers in many ways like contests or sweepstakes or additional funds for advertising purposes.