Without question, one of the most advanced and impressive mattresses on the market today is the Serta iComfort, a gel bed that makes space-age memory foam mattress look like something out of the silent film era. What helps Serta with their quick-out-of-the-gates launch of the iComfort mattress is that they beat all of the other large mattress manufacturers to the consumer. By now, shoppers will have seen what this mattress is all about while competitors Kingsdown, Englander and Simmons continue to work out the kinks and catch up (in terms of retailer floorspace exposure, anyway).
Being the first on the floor gives Serta a huge advantage. Several weeks ago when we wrote about gel beds being the future of the mattress industry, we never would have thought that we would see Serta adopting a “take no prisoners” approach to getting their product in front of the consumer. But that is certainly the case here. For retailers who are not carrying this gel bed by the largest (or second largest depending on which statistics you use) mattress manufacturer, Serta is in the process of launching a year-end advertising plan.
Either way, the patient consumer will win.
More Retailers Means More Competition
By attracting more retailers, Serta will essentially occupy more floorspace with its iComfort product. Consumers will have the choice between Retailer A and Retailer B; the highly knowledgeable consumer, like those who visit our site, will instead be choosing between Price A and Price B. Everyone knows what too much product or competition in an area means for consumers – cut throat pricing and that is what shoppers can expect, particularly during a slow economic cycle like the one we are in enduring now.
Buying Volume Means Price Savings
The unfortunate reality is that retailers who commit to more iComfort gel beds will receive better rebates or pricing than those who prefer a more manageable quantity. Even the biggest retailers can often out-compete the buying groups. But either way, volume buying by the retailer means price savings for the consumer. So while the Serta iComfort may not be advertised right now as being a product on sale, shoppers who are interested in getting into one of these beds will have the opportunity to do so at a lower price in the months to come.
Between stiff competition in a period where economics demands aggressive pricing in order to survive and volume buying rebates that retailers will ultimately pass along to consumers who choose their retail location over a competitor’s, consumer wallets are in for some good news. That good news is that the Serta iComfort will be on sale sooner than you think.
As for Serta, the reality with the gel bed is that outside of its R&D costs, the product is relatively inexpensive to manufacture. So while they may have to cut margins to support an attractive volume rebate or other retailer-based incentive program, the company will be moving for of the product. And that is what Serta wants when it said, a few months ago, that the iComfort gel bed would represent a healthy 7% of its total mattress sales.