“Just think of how successful this can be,” says Marc Werner, chief executive officer of GhostBed, a growing direct-to-consumer brand based in Plantation, Florida.
He could have added: “Just think of how successful this already is.”
Werner is talking about a new partnership model that GhostBed has established that brings the best of the vibrant DTC marketplace to brick-and-mortar retailers, still the flagship retailers in the mattress industry.
GhostBed, part of Nature’s Sleep, a company launched by Werner back in 2001, recently launched a five-model wholesale line targeting brick-and-mortar retailers. The line is off to a fast start and already is generating strong sales for participating retailers, the company says.
But Werner admits that some retailers are unwilling to embrace this new model.
“There has been resistance from the brick-and-mortar retailers in partnering with a strong DTC brand,” he says. “Instead of viewing our world as competitive, they need to see this as being complementary because there is a large segment of the marketplace that wants to get back into brick-and-mortar stores, especially after Covid (shutdowns).”
Werner says GhostBed’s new partnership enables traditional bedding retailers and the newer DTC bedding brands to work well together.
“Brick-and-mortar retailers can have the best of both worlds,” he says. “Customers can test the mattress, buy it and in some cases take it right away in their car, or they can have it delivered using white glove service by the store’s own delivery people. Another option for customers is to have their purchase drop-shipped within a day or two right to their front door without them needing to be home or having a delivery person come into their home.”
The trends in the bedding marketplace, where online mattress buying has steadily increased its market share in recent years, cannot be ignored, Werner says.
“It’s very clear that consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with buying online and buying a mattress they’ve never laid on,” he says. “Brick-and-mortar stores must compete with that. DTC brands have the product on their floors for customers who haven’t embraced online shopping or those who realize the best way to buy a mattress is to experience it in person. There is no replacement for a consumer to test rest their mattress, lay on it and experience it.”
A strong DTC mattress brand like GhostBed brings consumer awareness that gives that brand an edge on a sales floor, Werner says.
“We invest heavily in our brand and continue to increase visibility by investing millions in advertising and marketing,” he says. “Our website alone is visited by more than 1.5 million unique visitors each month and our retailers are supported by a prominent dealer locator feature. GhostBed believes that, in addition to offering great mattresses, the other half of our goal is to drive traffic to retailers.”
“And GhostBed has more than 35,000 verified reviews online from consumers,” he adds. “This is something many of the bigger brands do not have. Those verified reviews help retailers drive traffic to their physical locations.”
Werner says that retailers should consider a DTC partnership carefully.
“Retailers who are early adopters of this new channel will be the winners,” he says. “Those who hesitate will find themselves trying to catch up later.”