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Added Value a Key in Sleep Pillow Category

While consumers are still price-sensitive, and performance is still an important factor in sleep pillow sales, the concept of value outstrips everything, suppliers told HTT.

“Where there’s a value add that is unique and compelling to the consumer, it’s selling well,” said Fritz Kruger, senior vp of marketing, Pacific Coast Feather Company. “But it has to be a true value add, and it can’t change the price.”

Added Lonie Scheps, Hudson Industries, “A value statement is important to induce the customer to 'give it a try.’”

Buying a pillow is “an inertia event,” said Jack Ouellette, president and ceo, American Textile Company. Unprompted, the consumer is likely to buy the same thing they did the last time they shopped for a pillow.

But price remains a factor.

“Given the economic change over the past 12 to 18 months, we certainly see that price has a greater influence is purchasing decisions than before,” said Mandy Talbert, corporate communications manager, Louisville Bedding. “However, our research shows that solutions-based products are typically a destination purchase, and when the consumer is seeking a specific solution she is willing to pay a few more dollars for it.”

Carpenter Company is seeing interest in “ergonomic constructions that support the cervical spine and put in a neutral position,” according to Dan Schecter, vp of the Consumer Products Division. “These shapes are often different looking than ordinary bed pillows but are unmatched in comfort.”

Providing consumers with information is key, suppliers said. Carpenter is adding more consumer-driven information to its Sleep Better Shops. American Textile is expanding its Sleep Profile program. Louisville Bedding has relaunched its Mattress Makeover program.

Suppliers are also being challenged to provide more information at the same time many said packaging is getting more stripped down.

“We have literally seconds to communicate our message and have her put it in her shopping cart,” said Tablert. “Clean, easy-to-read packaging with icon messaging is fantastic. I now get the phrase 'a picture is worth a thousand words’ – and a thousand words are meaningless.”

Carpenter is exploring holographic material using transparent inks, said Schecter. “This is an amazing technology that makes the product stand out on the shelf.”

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