Yesterday my brother and I got into a disagreement that I need your help to resolve. We were talking about my last post where I call out some of the bed in a box guys as liars. His comment was that my choice of words was a little harsh. Then I read it to my wife and she was fine with it until I got to the meme that said, “I’m always disappointed when a liars pants don’t actually catch on fire.” At that point she started to agree with my brother. What do you think? Am I playing too rough with this or is my choice of words appropriate? Tell me in the comments section! On another note, take a look at my friend Wes Harrington’s site New Sleep. They sell direct and even have a video that addresses this issue directly. They even use the “shoe” analogy I did. I didn’t see it before writing my post but want to give proper credit so check it out.
Now for today’s business. When I was at Leggett and Platt we created an ad that ended up being one of my favorites. There was a photo of a little boy standing on the beach with his towel wrapped around his neck serving as a cape, striking the full on super hero pose with hands on hips. The caption read, “Did you ever dream about being the man of wood?” There is a new push by Leggett to speak about the benefits of having steel in your box spring vs. only wood. If you go to steel-strong.com you can watch a quick video on why box springs made with steel have a higher perceived value than those made only of wood.
Here are the statistics:
One could argue that there are people in the market today having great success selling wood foundations. One could also argue that the box spring doesn’t come up all that often when selling a mattress, so much of the time it is a mute point.
Some additional thoughts on the subject:
- First of all, I really want to know how many attempts there were by Mark Kinsley to break that wood slat over his knee. Did they saw it in half first? Hmmmm.
- I have long believed that we don’t say enough or build enough value in the foundations supporting our products. At Spink and Edgar we put natural materials grown on our farm into our steel box springs to try to give the rsa a little something extra to talk about. If your beds are supported by foundations made primarily of steel, does it give you something else to support your value statement?
- If the rsa believes that steel has an advantage over wood, are you talking that up in your sales training meetings or on your websites?
When I was at Leggett and Platt, the reason we produced a rap video about hybrid mattresses is because Tempur-Pedic and Select Comfort were spending big money to tell consumers that mattresses made with innersprings were BAD and old fashioned. In a way they had a point because the reference to “innersprings” could speak to beds selling at $49 OR mattresses positioned at a $50,000 price point. The attack lumped the low end in with the high end and we needed to separate the quality innerspring beds from the opening price points. There is a little of that same problem with wood build-ups. The very low end uses wood as a foundation and are likely not made as well so the mattress can hit a price point. There are much better wood platforms available but there is nothing to really distinguish those. Therefore from a consumer’s perspective, it could be viewed as the same thing.
No matter what you are selling in your box spring, continue to make it a quality platform. If a bed comes back due to poor construction you hurt your brand, cause great trouble at retail, and become a problem for the consumer. At the end of the day, all box springs have wood as part of the construction so be sure to train your team on why your wood is better, and explain how you quality control your products.
Don’t you know… it’s all about that base. (Sorry. It had to be done.)
No I am not a Musketeer, but I thought it was an appropriate headline for this weeks post. I am starting a new company but I need your help to vet the idea. I am going to manufacture running shoes but I want to be really disruptive in my approach. For this company I am going to make only one style of running shoe, but will produce it in a variety of colors and sizes. People have been complicating the world of running shoes for far too long so I intend to put a stop to that and convince people that one style of running shoe will be comfortable for everyone that runs. I understand that consumers “THINK” they need different levels of comfort and function in a running shoe, but there is no reason that the shoe that works for the overweight neighbor that just started to run, won’t work for the speedy veteran. Think this business model will succeed? It is in the mattress industry.
When you consider age, sex, weight, lifestyle (active/passive), and a subjective opinion about what is soft vs. what is firm, it is remarkable that any company is able to SELL the idea that one bed will fit all. Here is my real beef with this approach; it’s TOTAL BS. (When my pastor says BS in church he means biblically substandard. We’re not in church.)
Ask the real champion in this industry, the rsa, what they think about the idea that consumers can all fit into one comfort profile. Maybe we should reach out to the guys at Kingsdown to see if they feel stupid for profiling thousands of people to gain a more scientific understanding of consumer comfort preferences. Is it possible that the largest retailer in the country that sells more beds than anyone got it wrong when they decided to arrange their floors using color to designate various comfort choices?
I know that these e-commerce guys are selling a lot of beds and I have no issue with that. I actually have given them a lot of credit for what they have accomplished. But the ones LYING…..that’s right I said LYING…to the consumer when they say that one comfort fits all need to check themselves if you ask me. Listen to what this consumer had to say about the bed they bought on line. I am going to XXX out the name because I don’t want to single one of the companies out.
“I bought the XXXX mattress from all the hype on social media and on the subway. Unfortunately it was not at all what I expected. Truthfully how can a mattress be for all when everyone is different? I woke up every morning super sore. The mattress is extremely firm. I gave it a month and just couldn’t do it anymore. The customer service was great though. I’m returning it and it’s being picked up this weekend.”
The approach to the consumer obviously works in most cases but I really don’t like it when companies lie to the consumer to sell products. Will they continue to sell their beds. Sure. Is it necessary to lie to get a deal? I think there are better ways. Let’s face it, when a consumer that has a crappy mattress gets one of these beds in a box and gives it a test, it is likely going to feel better than what they had so chances are, most everybody is going to be happy. Just look at the reviews if you don’t believe that. But at the end of the day I would be willing to bet money on the fact that if the same consumer was in a store with that bed in a box next to several other choices of comfort at the same price, there is a really good chance they wouldn’t pick it. What do you think?
KeyBanc published a report of the mattress industry that I thought was very interesting so I wanted to share a few of their insights with you. This research was based on extensive in depth interviews with industry veterans as well as a deep dive on internet trends and company financials where available.
- Let’s give credit where credit is due and remember that Tempur-Pedic and Select Comfort were some of the first to attack the direct to consumer channel in the mattress industry and as a result of their success they ended up pursuing traditional brick and mortar retail. Select Comfort abandoned that strategy, and Tempur-Pedic continued on to bring them to where they are today. Both have been very successful.
- In 2016 the reports shows a projection of $755 million for the e-commerce channel which would equate to a 4.6% market share vs. a 1.8% market share in 2015. That is serious growth.
- Over 50-100 new players have launched new direct to consumer brands so far this year so the growth is going to continue.
- If these numbers are right, then the industry will grow by about $800 million in 2016, half of which is e-commerce business.
- When you look at who is navigating the digital space the best, the e-commerce guys are winning the battle. When it comes to organic search Casper hits the first page, hats off to the Andrew Gross and the Serta team for showing up on page two, Tuft and Needle hits page 3, and Tempur-Pedic shows up on page 12. If you believe that reviews are important to ringing the register, Casper is winning there as well with almost 5,000 consumer reviews vs. 3,849 for Tuft and Needle, 1283 for Select Comfort and 787 for Tempur-Pedic.
KeyBanc summarizes this report by saying, “we are incrementally concerned about a meaningful impact on earnings for the traditional players in the year ahead.” Will the e-commerce guys continue to grow? I think so. Will they take market share? Likely. Will it change how bedding brands and retailers look at their own business and strategy? ABSOLUTELY.
I know that this kind of thing is disruptive but I really believe that it makes us better. If we have all of this attention on our consumer product segment I think the category wins. The question to each of you reading this is how are you going to react? Will you be able to think creatively and capitalize on the new opportunities or will it toss you into turmoil? Beware of the ostrich that doesn’t want to believe that this is going to have a significant impact on how we do business because it will. It is. Maybe you can find a new spot for them in the local buggy whip and typewriter shop down the street.
The Quinn family summer vacation typically involves a beech. Nowhere in particular but it must have a resort pool, waiters with cocktails, sand and waves. My wife is the one that is in love with the sun but this year she wanted to check something off of her bucket list so we took a trip to Washington D.C. So to bring back a little bit of my third grade assignment of “What did you learn on your summer vacation”, here are 5 things that made a significant impact on me. I hope it means something to you as well.
1. My Father-in-law George Gordon fought in Viet Nam. He came home with two purple hearts and a lot of bad memories. The key here is that he came home. Many have not and many died in a way that they could not be identified properly. The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier is and a great way to pay them tribute. To the members of our military and their families, the Quinn’s are profoundly grateful. What I learned from this stop on the tour…reflect on this sacrifice more often.
2. Many have said that Abraham Licoln is the best President the United States has ever had. After visiting his memorial and learning more about his time as our leader, I understand why people loved him. Can you imagine taking on the issue of slavery back then? Today it would seem inconceivable to most Americans that one human would “own” another. Abe didn’t like it either and pushed through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution Of The United States abolishing slavery. What I learned from Abe…creating change isn’t easy (in a business or a government), so you had better be convicted and willing to sacrifice in order to get what you are after. Abe ultimately gave his life for what he believed in.
3. Apparently Speaker Ryan has better things to do than see me as they kept me waiting for hours outside of his office. Hard to believe they didn’t want to hear some of my thoughts on how they could improve things in D.C. Does everyone get a full blown secret service escort in the Capital Building? Nice of them to show me around.
4. Getting to stand in the presence of the Martin Luther King Memorial was pretty amazing. Dr. King showed us the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect. It’s not that he did it, it’s how he did it that made such an impact on me. Many of the politicians today could learn a lot from studying Dr. King and how he brought people together around an idea. You don’t insert yourself into a group of people and start telling them to follow you. Instead, you get in there and stand shoulder to shoulder with them and work along side of them for the solution. My learning from this stop…if you want to know what REAL leadership looks like for your company, you turn to Martin Luther King. It’s not about dictating terms to get your way. It’s about capturing the hearts and minds of the people around you and getting them to share in your dream. 5. When you tour our nations capital you see a lot of quotes etched into granite. One of my favorites was this one from Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The only limitation of our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.” This one made a significant impact on me having just left a great job/company to start a new business. There have been times where I have had some serious doubts about what I am doing. Will it work? If not then what? This doesn’t last too long however because I know if you are ever going to accomplish anything great, that line of thinking will kill you. My learning from this quote…Roosevelt reminded me that “doubt” is the enemy and that FAITH IS A VERB.
In this post I covered about 1/3 of what we actually did on this vacation. We also visited Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and walked around William and Mary College and University of Virginia. Don’t know if you have ever made this trip with your family but I cannot say enough good things about our time on the east coast and encourage you to experience it the way we did. My kids are 14 and 12 and were blown away with what they saw. They have a much deeper appreciate for what our founding fathers sacrificed to create this great nation and what the early settlers did to build the greatest country IN THE WORLD. #proudamerican
Sorry for not posting in the last few weeks and I am going to put it off for one more, but the Quinn summer has been pretty busy so far. Right now I am in the lobby of a hotel getting ready to tour Jamestown so this is going to be short. We have had an incredible trip touring Washington DC and I have much to share so stand by.
The Griswald, I mean the QUINN Family vacation. Not much difference!
One quick thought before I get on the bus. In the past I have written about what it means to get away with the family. It’s not easy to carve out time, put work and life in general on hold, and invest the money to take that vacation but there really is nothing more rewarding than the quality time you get on a trip like that. I hope that you have big plans to see something incredible or even just to go camping for a few days. Whatever it is that you are doing, put the laptop away and invest in the people in your life. The ROI on that is far beyond anything else we are doing!
Gotta go, hope you are having a great summer!