What keeps bedding retailers awake at night? For one, a rapidly changing sales model. Like many other retailing sectors, the mattress industry has yet to find the right balance between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar, and more stores are closing up shop as consumers’ options for online purchases — like vacuum-sealed, bed-in-a-box mattresses — grow.
Bedding retailers, producers, suppliers, and third-party service providers in the industry — working in finance, logistics, marketing, and technology — can stay on top of trends by attending the Furniture Today Bedding Conference, which was held for the 14th time this year.
About 350 attendees did just that at the 2019 conference, took place May 7–9 at The Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Arizona. The conference presented session such as “The Return of the Waterbed,” “The Present (and Future) of Mattress E-tailing,” and “Clicks, Bricks, and the New Paradigm.”
“Our highest-rated sessions this year revolved around the dramatic shift in the industry from brick-and-mortar to online, and young executives who have transformed their brands and their companies,” said David Perry, executive editor/bedding editor for BridgeTower Media’s Furniture Today, and the conference’s editorial director. “We look for speakers who understand the current dynamics of the bedding industry and can help guide attendees through the ongoing and upcoming challenges.
Heavy-hitters in bedding are honored at the event’s “Retail Giants of Bedding” Awards Dinner, held after the first full day of sessions. This year, the ceremony honored Nectar Sleep (one of those up-and-coming, vacuum-sealed, bed-in-a-box companies), Nationwide Marketing Group, and Connecticut Mattress by Tom Wholley.
For the third year in a row, one of the event’s 38 sponsors, King Koil, hosted a team-building charity event to kick off the conference, held for the first time off site. Approximately 50 attendees boarded a bus at the Westin La Paloma Resort for the several-mile ride to the Tucson Boys & Girls Club. Participants set up games and stations for 130 children coming in after school, and then “shot hoops, played pool, and jumped rope with the kids,” Perry said. “Our attendees enjoy the interaction with the kids, and being able to turn off business for a little while to kick back and give back.”
And perhaps after all that activity, they got a better night’s sleep to boot.