2019 Las Vegas summer market is over and it was a success according to most that I talked to. As always, traffic is much lighter than the January market, but the people that are there want to do business so you normally end up in some very fruitful conversations.
I was there talking to Spink and Co customers and prospects and I am very happy to say things went well for us on that front. It’s always fun to see people be surprised and delighted with what you do. Mark Kinsley and I also hosted a Dos Marcos Meet-Up in the Englander space with about 100 of our best pals and it was a big success, so thank you to all that attended!!!!! I also played Top Golf with PureCare and met some great fans of the podcast, saw a terrific Prince impersonator show, and got to review the brand new iComfort line by Serta. That is a great market.
Serta asked that Dos Marcos come in and take a look at the iComfort program, so we met up with Onney Crawley from Serta to get the full presentation. Onney is really great and did a terrific job of sharing that story so thank you Onney for being so gracious on the tour. I also want to thank Alissa Stevens and Caroline Seume with Serta’s PR firm the Zeno Group, who were a big help and a lot of fun to hang out with. (“The fearless pursuit of the unexpected.” LOVE THAT.)
(If you want to do a deeper dive and hear Mark Kinsley and I talk about this new iComfort line just click on the link below and listen to Dos Marcos podcast.)
What really impressed me from the beginning was the investment that Serta made in research to develop the line. I am a HUGE fan of asking consumers to offer opinions so you have something to guide you to the finished product. This also helps minimize your guesswork and gives you the ability to say to the retailer that “the consumer built this line”. The real trick here is paying attention to the right stuff!
To sum it all up, Serta has brought in some raw materials to build a “Next Level Cooling and Support” story. They use Gel Active Max memory Foam, UltraCool System carbon fiber memory foam, Max Cool Cover’s, and Air Support Foam to bring that “sleeps cool” story to life. One of my favorite things about this new line is the snowflake ranking system to help the consumer understand how it all works together. The more snowflakes on a bed, the cooler the sleep. Got it.
The feels of the beds on the starting numbers at $1499 were not all that impressive but I sort of understand that. The competition is delivering great value at $499 in queen these days, so to differentiate is much more difficult. As you go up the line however, you can see how using these different foam building blocks really add value to the story and to how comfortable the beds feel.
These mattresses looked good but the tick was pretty average and didn’t really stand out for me, however, it had a terrific hand and a nice cool feel when you touched it. When it comes to the point of sale, there is a lot of opportunity for iComfort. They use blue for the color pallet which makes sense given the cooling story they are telling, but the design didn’t really get me all that fired up, nor did it really set off the product or help advance the story in any way. Given the competition in the memory foam category, I think you really have to get this part right. They certainly did on their initial launch if iComfort.
If you can bring a new line to market and make it demonstrable in any way, you will be rewarded for that. The new iComfort program has a FANTASTIC way of telling the carbon memory foam story using a light bulb. You place the light bulb on the new carbon memory foam and it lights up, showing the consumer how carbon acts as a conductor to help draw heat away from the body. The big question here is, will the consumer see that and start to wonder if their bed allows for electricity to flow through it. Sure we get “heat transfer” because we are in the industry but consumers look at this stuff differently. If Serta figures out how to make sure the rsa can communicate their story effectively using the light bulb, this will be a big win for them and one of the coolest selling tools on the retail floors. I wonder if this demonstration will work with sheep’s wool? 🙂
Things have been rough for SSB in the last six months and they needed something really positive to reverse course, so the big question is, did they do that with this line? The feedback I have been getting from several retailers has been positive with most saying that it is an improvement on where iComfort was. The question is, will that reaction deliver Serta the big win, allowing them to pick up sku’s with their current partners? Only time will tell!