One For All And All For One

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.

Aching everywhere

“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?

4 thoughts on “One For All And All For One

  1. I couldn’t agree more. That’s why we have created with 5 price points and the different comfort levels.

    Keep up the great posts.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Wes, I had NOT SEEN your website. You hit the nail on the head, right down to the shoe analogy. I promise I didn’t rip you off we are just thinking alike. Hope you well!

  2. You are 100% spot-on right, Mark. Having covered the entire North American mattress industry as a magazine writer, then as a marketing/ PR consultant since 1995, I can assure you that with 20 million mattress units and 18 or so foundation /support units sold each year in the USA, that no one-size, one-model fits all will work for millions upon millions of different consumers. There are very real pluses for some consumers with the bed-in-a box and easy shipping and online ordering options. Consumer outreach and convenience work in many cases. But that is not the same as selling only one bed, often at a relatively low price and performance level. Without repeating the issues you’ve already covered Mark, there is no question that there will remain a demand for varying types, sizes, feel and price points in bedding. ..People want high performance beds. They want organic healthier / natural beds. They want adjustable beds with high engineered coils, and specialty foams, airbeds, etc. So I have a prediction: the direct ship, online, bed-in-a box phenomenon will cap out at 30% of the market and then as Mellennials and online target groups age out, develop health issues etc., the direct ship percentage will settle out at 15 to 20% overall of the market..and the cheaper one-size fits all phase will disappear just as the huge futon boom did in the early 2000’s.

    1. I love a good prediction Dale, thanks for sharing that with us. You make some great points here about performance bedding, and the desire for natural so those two things alone disprove the statement. I am guessing if you ask these guys they would likely bucket their comments about”one bed for everyone” as a puffery statement similar to “We make the world’s best mattress” which is fine, but in Serta’s case it is an obvious overreach and does a good job of harmless positioning. I think that what the bed in a box companies have done is actually really great in many ways, but let’s keep it real. This industry DOES NOT need more bad actors.

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