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Is Serta Simmons Bedding staging a comeback?

Is Serta Simmons Bedding staging a comeback?

At the recent Las Vegas Market, Serta Simmons Bedding introduced seven new collections across its Serta and Beautyrest lines — which translates to 56 new models and 160 new aesthetics packages. 

This was quite ambitious considering the company recently came out of bankruptcy, so that begs the question, is this a sign that SSB is staging a comeback?

According to Tim Oakhill, the company’s chief marketing officer, the answer is a resounding yes. 

“Without question, this should be a signal of how well we understand the market and what we’re aiming to do,” he says. “We have three of the greatest brands in this industry, two of which are close to 100 years old; that’s a legacy and a heritage we’ve got to protect. What the market needs are brands with logical and well-thought-out merchandising platforms. We must have product lines that give retailers valid, robust value propositions along with the tools to help step the consumer up into increasing levels of features and construction with reasons to believe that are rock solid and benefits that are demonstrable.”

Objectively speaking, the industry succeeds when SSB succeeds, so no one should want to see the company fail. And Oakhill says that the company is now on the right track to make its return.

“Before rejoining the company, I saw merchandising and product strategies that we didn’t believe were optimized with how brands perform at their best. It doesn’t mean they were right or wrong … just not optimized. We believe the product strategies that have been implemented over the past six or seven years didn’t hold together as well as they could. But does that mean it’s all over? No, not at all. Successful brands evolve and pivot over time. The range of changes and the philosophy we introduced at market, with a hyper-focus on merchandising, value propositions linked to feature sets along with clear ‘swim lanes’ for the brands is our pivot. These changes are focused on evolving the brands to the benefit of our retailers and consumers.”

As history shows, many companies have been able to pivot and come back, according to Oakhill, like LG, Nike, Netflix, Old Spice, Lego and Apple, for example. Apple was one quarter away from bankruptcy, and now it’s the second most valuable company in the world. 

They did this with an outstanding vision seated in merchandising strategy, and that’s what Oakhill says SSB is doing — referring to large walls in the SSB Las Vegas showrooms that clearly lay out the different Serta and Beautyrest product merchandising and step-up story in an easy-to-understand format. 

“This is probably one of the strongest messages that we could deliver to the market in terms of where our heart is in creating logical, understandable, literate merchandising and step-up strategies that are easy to sell,” he explains.  

He says the breadth of introductions shows how important the company regards product merchandising platforms as a whole because it simplifies the process for the consumer to understand and commit to a brand to get exactly what they need while offering retailers an opportunity to drive margins and AUSPs. 

Oakhill explains that the Beauty Sleep lines are “attacking the velocity price points and replace the Simmons brand to create a more explicit step-up into Beautyrest” with 50% of the consumers in the market for products at this price point, we must have a strong offering for this consumer segment.” 

“So we want to have a great product for those consumers if that’s their limit, but it’s also the job of the brand to be able to lead that consumer up into what’s above that price point and in a value proposition,” he says. “We also simplified the Beautyrest Black line to include a ‘Series’ naming strategy with Series One through Four. This will make it more intuitive for consumers to know how the line steps up.” 

The Serta sheep is one of the most recognizable mascots in the country and that certainly presents an emotional buying proposition. However, Oakhill says people tend to buy on more than emotion, they buy based on what a product solves. For this reason, the Serta sheep will be morphed into an ambassador of value proposition and functional benefits. 

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In addition, Oakhill explains that in Serta’s previous releases, iComfort and Arctic, the models were siloed according to their specific features — eco-friendliness and cooling technology. But as it became clear that the same strategy couldn’t work for both of them and didn’t present an intuitive step-up merchandising, Oakhill said they stripped that away.

“Cooling and temperature management is the cost of entry for our category and is in everything we do, not just one product,” he says. “The same with sustainability, it’s a way of doing business. So we realigned iComfort with its historical memory foam DNA except we five-zoned the brand to provide enhanced support then we step up to 100% latex foam. Latex is a wonderful product with unique feels and exceptional support that help give us the ability to step up from memory foam into higher price points that create a powerful merchandising step up for our dealers.” 

The other big news regards the Serta Perfect Sleeper. Oakhill says the Perfect Sleeper brand is arguably the most powerful product name in the category. The brand merchandising and product design including new Hybrid five-zoned technologies “will give Perfect Sleeper wings and let it live the life that it’s always been meant to live at core price points and above.” 

“Part of our evolution is a focus at velocity price points with the Serta Classic brand and now step up into Perfect Sleeper as a coil-based product construction,” Oakhill said. “We pivot into two technology directions … one into iComfort with our foam-based constructions and the other pivot into the hybrid, coil and foam constructions with the Perfect Sleeper Hybrid designs. Topping out both iComfort and Perfect Sleeper Hybrid are the “Pro” designations for the Latex foam portion of the lines. So, we have both iComfort Pro and Perfect Sleeper Hybrid Pro lines to top out at $4,999.”

Oakhill says the reception by retailers has been outstanding.  

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had retailers say they want us strong and to do the things we used to,” he says. “We are excited to be back.” 

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