If you're a mattress retailer looking to optimize your holiday sales strategy, this episode of…
A look at the luxe mattress market and how high-end beds can boost your bottom line.
They are the mattresses you showcase in your windows or spotlight at the entrance to your bedding department: lavish, high-end beds made with luxurious components like latex, wool, silk and cotton, as well as sumptuous foams and high-coil-count innersprings.
Understanding the Definition of Luxury
As with hybrid mattresses, the definition of luxury bedding varies among manufacturers. For some, it’s the “best” in their good-better-best lineups. For others, it means using exotic, premium components — and more of them — as they stack comfort and support layers into stately beds fit for, well, kings and queens.
Some manufacturers, like E.S. Kluft & Co., specialize in high-end bedding. The Rancho Cucamonga, California-based company handcrafts beds with components like cashmere and muslin-wrapped Marshall pocket coils. Other producers weave luxury throughout their lineups. For example, the top beds in several of King Koil’s collections are luxe models, but the Avondale, Arizona-based bedding maker also has dedicated lines, including Reserve Luxury. The beds combine traditional components and manufacturing methods like horsehair, cotton calico-wrapped springs and button tufting with new technologies, such as temperature-regulating foams infused with carbon and graphite.
Sleep Savvy generally defines luxury bedding as mattresses featuring premium components and price points at $2,000 and up. A subcategory, call it ultra-high-end bedding, includes models with prices as high as $10,000 — or more. These pricey beds are often sold as ensembles with coordinating box springs or adjustable foundations, and sometimes mattress toppers and bases with legs, too.
Even if you don’t specialize in luxe bedding, high-end mattresses can be a valuable part of your lineup: More affluent consumers are less buffeted by economic headwinds and are more likely to keep spending when lower-income earners stop.
Different shopping habits
The luxury consumer, some manufacturers say, shops differently than others. Posh + Lavish’s research has shown that high-end shoppers prefer in-store browsing and buying over e-commerce, at least when it comes to bedding. That means crafting a strategy that will draw high-end buyers into your brick-and-mortar locations.
“A premium strategy is so important to brick-and-mortar retailers,” Kurt Ling, co-founder of the Atlanta-based luxury bedding brand, told Sleep Savvy earlier this year. “Especially in more challenging economic times when the tiers of the industry are so different. It is probably fair to say right now the high-end producers are up double digits. The middle guys are down 10% or 20%, and the price-point-driven guys are down more than that. Having a luxury strategy is everything at retail.” The Posh + Lavish line includes components like natural latex, wool and knitted cotton. Prices range from $3,879 for its Relax latex model to $6,979 for its Fusion latex and memory foam mattress.
In launching its to-the-trade product line and program for interior designers a couple of years ago, Newark, New Jersey-based Shifman Mattress Co. noted that some well-heeled consumers don’t like to do their own shopping, preferring to let their interior designers buy furnishings for their homes.
Building on that same belief, direct-to-consumer bedding maker Saatva, which positions itself as a luxury brand with free in-home, white-glove delivery, touted a to-the-trade program during the High Point Market Oct. 14-18. Saatva offers interior designers a mattress of their own, as well as cash back on orders for clients. (Read more about fall High Point Market introductions here.)
As a bedding retailer, you might want to cultivate relationships with local design firms, offering them discounts on the brands you carry. If you offer multiple brands and solid good-better-best lineups, you can be a go-to source for designers, particularly in vacation spots and fast-growing areas with a lot of residential construction, where a designer might need to source three or more mattresses for a single project. They might buy your highest-end model for the primary bedroom and high-quality but less expensive models for the other bedrooms. That’s a nice way to build a sales ticket.
Investing more in high-end bedding
Mattress makers certainly see value in expanding and improving their luxury lines. Earlier this year, Harrison Spinks, a high-end bed maker based in Leeds, England, invested in a distribution center in Los Angeles to reduce delivery times of its four most popular models (Euston, Northumberland, Leicester and Strand) to U.S. retailers. The company says it has plans to open more distribution centers to serve its dealers in the United States and Canada.
And in a tough year overall for the bedding industry, Tempur Sealy International says the higher ends of its product lineup have been performing well. The Lexington, Kentucky-based mattress major revamped its luxury Stearns & Foster brand and bolstered it with a new website and “record-breaking media investments,” plus a suite of planning tools, advertising assets and other resources for retailers.
Tempur-Pedic has long been a premium brand, commanding high-end price points for exclusive technologies in its mattresses and adjustable bases. Over the summer, Tempur Sealy launched new Tempur-Breeze beds, with what the company says is its most effective cooling technology to date. The ProBreeze, which sleeps 5 degrees cooler, retails for $4,599. Tempur-Pedic’s coolest mattress, the LuxeBreeze, sleeps 10 degrees cooler and retails for $5,599.
Paramount Sleep Co., based in Norfolk, Virginia, manufactures a broad range of its own products, as well as the high-end Australian brand A.H. Beard and English luxury bedding brand Hypnos for sale in the United States. Paramount recently updated its Hypnos line with the Hypnos Whole Sleep collection, which includes four cotton and three wool models, all handcrafted with other all-natural materials, too.
At the upper end of its flagship Paramount line, the company offers the Arthur 9.0 collection. The mattresses are named after the late Arthur Diamonstein, who had been president and chair of the family-owned business. With calico-encased coil units and inner and outer tufting, the beds take three days to handcraft. Prices range from $7,500 to $10,000.
An entry point to luxury
Gold Bond, an independent bedding producer based in Hartford, Connecticut, recently introduced its Private Reserve collection, which it calls its “most luxurious and durable” line. The two-sided, adjustable-base friendly mattresses are covered in a Belgian damask cover. Comfort and support layers include zoned microcoils and Aurora, a springlike foam. Some models also include organic Talalay latex.
“Consumers are investing in luxury sleep products that provide the ultimate in comfort and support,” says Robert Naboicheck, CEO of the company. “The new Private Reserve collection curates some of the newest and most innovative components in luxury sleep in a durable mattress that will perform for decades.” The Private Reserve collection is a luxury line, but Naboicheck notes that with prices from $2,000 to $3,000, it’s an “affordable” group, too.
Serta Simmons Bedding, based in Doraville, Georgia, is also trying to hit what might be considered the entry point of the luxury market with its introduction of the Beautyrest Black B-Class over the summer. Available in innerspring and hybrid models, the beds retail from $1,999 to $2,399.
Shifman, which is known for its luxury, handcrafted bedding with price points upward of $10,000, also aimed for more affordable luxury with its introductions at the recent High Point Market. Its new Quilted line is designed to offer a premium sleep experience at “accessible price points” starting at $699.
And that brings us to an important final point. Not everyone can afford a $10,000 bed or even a $3,000 bed. But carrying luxe mattresses can help you step up consumers who have more modest incomes. Once they see the value of luxury components and constructions, they may be more interested in spending a little more for a midpriced model than the entry-level bed they may have initially planned to buy. That’s good for them — and good for you.
Julie A. Palm has been covering the mattress and home furnishings industries for more than 25 years and is a past editor-in-chief of both BedTimes and Sleep Savvy magazines. As lead wordsmith at Palm Ink LLC, she specializes in writing, editing, publications management and communications consulting for a variety of clients. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Standout Customer Service
Consumers in the market for high-end bedding are also looking for exceptional customer service. Here are some ways you can earn their business and appreciation:
Be a good host.
Offer beverages — from wine and beer to sparkling water, lemonade or coffee, depending on the time of day and season. Real glassware is ideal. If shoppers are laden with coats, purses or other bags, offer to tuck those items discreetly and safely out of sight so they can rest-test mattresses unencumbered.
High-end shoppers are accustomed to perks like early boarding on flights. They’ll appreciate being able to set up an appointment to shop with a retail sales associate dedicated to helping them find the right sleep set. Pro tip: Elevate your RSAs’ titles for these appointments. Sleep steward or sleep concierge strikes the right tone.
Provide white-glove delivery
Go the extra mile. In addition to setting up the new bed set and taking away the old one, equip your delivery team with handheld vacuums and cleaning cloths so they can leave the area around and under the bed spotless. Have them wear booties while inside the home.
At delivery, the team can leave a gift bag on the bed or hand it to the customer as they leave. The bag could include care and maintenance instructions, spot cleaner, an aromatherapy spray, sleep masks, chocolates or other goodies. A day or two after delivery, have an RSA or store manager call to thank customers and make sure they are sleeping well on their new bed.
It wouldn’t hurt to extend these courtesies to all your customers. Everyone likes to feel like a VIP.