Brick-and-mortar stores give online mattress migeof retailers a way to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace, says online bedding guru Mike Magnuson.
Magnuson, CEO of GoodBed.com, a leading mattress review site, follows developments in the online space closely, and he thinks recent brick-and-mortar moves by category leaders Casper and Tuft & Needle are smart moves.
Casper, No. 2 on Furniture Today’s list of the Top 15 bedding e-tailers, earlier this year said it is opening 15 brick-and-mortar stores in North America, while No.4 Tuft & Needle said it is planning to open brick-and-mortar stores co-branded by Amazon. Each of those retailers already has one or more brick-and-mortar stores.
“I continue to believe that distribution – and more specifically, finding the optimal balance of brick-and-mortar and online – will be one of the three major battlegrounds of the mattress industry, with the other two being marketing efficiency and customer experience,” Magnuson told Furniture Today. “And in my opinion, the optimal balance will involve at least some brick-and-mortar presence.
“For leading players, having a physical store presence gives them a way to differentiate themselves from other online mattress competitors, putting them in an elite class of online mattress brands that can be tried in person before buying.” Mike Magnuson, GoodBed.com
“In the short term, the online mattress space is getting increasingly competitive, characterized by more and more new entrants to the market,” he said. “For leading players, having a physical store presence gives them a way to differentiate themselves from other online mattress competitors, putting them in an elite class of online mattress brands that can be tried in person before buying.”
Magnuson also said that the day will come when the boom in online sales will slow, at which point online players will benefit from brick-and-mortar stores to maintain their growth.
“While overall growth continues to be very strong, leading online mattress players know there is a point somewhere on the horizon when online sales will approach saturation of the segment of consumers who are willing to buy a mattress sight unseen,” he said. “In the long run, having a brick-and-mortar presence will be critical to sustaining growth rates for leading online brands by enabling them to serve a wider segment of the market.”
Magnuson also said that physical stores give online retailer valuable insights into their customers.
“Offering a branded in-store experience allows online brands to expand on one of the biggest advantages they have over traditional brands, which is their direct connection to the consumer,”
China filing cabinet manufacturer he noted. “This direct relationship allows them to collect valuable feedback from both customers and prospects, which ultimately leads to faster cycle times in improving products and service, as well as providing invaluable long-term marketing assets in the form of ratings and reviews.”