Hope on the Horizon for the Sleep Industry

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Coronavirus has ravaged the world’s economies, but there’s hope on the horizon, especially for businesses in the sleep industry. In a recent interview published in Forbes online, the CEO and a co-founder of Simba Sleep Limited, explained that sales had been increasing during the pandemic.

This was especially the case of single mattresses, with consumers self-isolating or just feeling the need for some space from their partner or others in the household. The CEO also revealed he had plans for the business’s supply chain in Canada.

Sleepless nights all around

Simba extended the trial period on their mattresses and it turned out to be a sound decision. Two other smart moves were to highlight the company’s attention to good hygiene in its factories and the importance of contactless delivery. Until the official announcement of the lockdown, sales had dipped, but then the company saw their online sales surge when the nation knew what plans its government had for them. Since then, many people will have been having sleepless nights and the lockdown has made self-care a priority.

Of course, business owners, too, will have spent nights awake, wondering how they’re going to get through this. Simba has some good news for Canada because the CEO is concentrating on building a strong supply chain in the country, as well as in the UK, France and China. The plan is to increase security and reduce lead times. The quicker the production, the faster the business can respond to demand and get its products out there. 

The fact that an overseas business is talking about operating in Canada is good news at a time when businesses have been feeling fear over the future of their livelihoods. The Canadian government did rush to the rescue in March and announce a major package to support them during the crisis. They’ll have quelled a few fears and doubts and the owners will be able to sleep slightly better, but retail businesses, like many others, will still have to fight their way out of this as recession starts to hit.

What was happening before all this?

Long before the coronavirus, the sleep industry had been experiencing a wave of change in Canada. Tired citizens had been shying away from pharmaceuticals and moving towards alternative sleep products to help themselves get that much needed shuteye. White noise machines, weighted blankets, sleep apps and “smart” beds, which moderate the temperature of the mattress, had all been part of a boom in alternative sleep products. Canadians had been giving their health and wellbeing serious consideration. Getting a good night’s sleep had been part of this.

In the UK, an interview with the Digital Director of the online beds company Bedstar, Jonathan Stalker, revealed some interesting trends. Mr Stalker had commented that fabric beds, especially in grey, had become popular with the company’s customers. He explained that ottoman beds had also started to enjoy much more popularity in the last few years.

Additionally, he pointed out the general trend that people were paying a lot more attention to interior design when they bought their beds. Before it had been about buying a bed on which they could sleep comfortably and which suited their requirements; now the bed is the focal part of the room and manufacturers are bringing out upholstery in different colours.

How can retail businesses find their way out of the current situation?

Listen to a few financial podcasts and you’ll find they’re not as gloomy as you’d expect. Some guests on them have been optimistic about the economy, saying that it will bounce back quickly as businesses reopen, consumers make up for lost time and buy all the things they needed but to which they didn’t have access during the lockdown. The question is, how can retailers find themselves out of the situation that the pandemic has created?

Get ready for the built-up demand

People have had to do without lots of different things and when shops open for business again, they’re going to get spending. A lot of businesses will have made cutbacks, but they should revise these now and have steps in place so that they can cope with the high demand when the shoppers hit the streets again.

Work on long-term investments

The slowdown has been a good time to take a long, hard look at operations, processes and platforms. Where are the opportunities? What’s missing? Now is the chance to think about long-term strategic planning and work out how the business can still grow as coronavirus starts to subside.

Think about the problems customers are facing

The lockdown will have created real pain points for consumers. Retail businesses need to work out what these are and how the business can help them. This could involve re-positioning the business or certain products so that customers still see the value of them. Consumers may be worried about managing their money or access to certain goods or services. How does the business address these concerns?

Make the most of new channels

People have still wanted or needed things during this crisis. Businesses have had to embrace certain channels — namely, online — so they can carry on serving their customers. What is clear is that consumers will have adjusted some parts of their lifestyle. When life returns to “normal”, they may find they’re happier going through the channels that, originally, were a plan B. As a result, retail businesses should consider expanding their online operations or improving them and continue running them on this larger scale.

It’s been a frightening time for businesses, but light seems to be appearing at the end of the tunnel, especially for the sleep industry. Consumers are trying to take better care of themselves, which includes investing in getting a good sleep.

Retailers are analysing their operations and studying how they can keep their businesses going now and beyond the crisis. Meanwhile, there’s a sense of optimism about the prospects of the world’s economies, which can emerge from their coronavirus-induced slumber sooner than their citizens might expect.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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