How this water and air purifier brand forayed into mattresses during the pandemic
Sleep innovation has been a buzzing industry lately. Growing awareness about the impact of sleep, or the lack of it, has led to huge shifts in this sector.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global mattress market size was valued at $27.5 billion in 2018, and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 6.7 percent from 2019 to 2025.
The report further states that rising disposable income, along with surge in homeownership, which is on an average 69.6 percent across the globe, is expected to fuel the demand for comfortable mattresses over the forecast period.
However, 65 percent of India’s mattress market is unorganised.
Serial entrepreneur Rakesh Malhotra had been observing the potential in the mattress market for quite some time. Rakesh is the founder of Luminous Batteries, a company launched in 1988. While it started off by manufacturing and selling inverters and batteries, it expanded to air purifiers, water purifiers and more products after 2011 under the brand name. Additionally, French engineering and power management company, Schneider Electric SA, acquired 74 percent stake in Luminous batteries in 2011.
But the year 2020 saw Rakesh's business journey change direction - propelled by the usual suspect - the COVID-19 pandemic.
He introduced two big changes in August 2020, right when the country was coming out of the first nationwide lockdown. For starters, the company took its products online after he realised that during the pandemic people were searching for Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands for wellness products. And secondly, he introduced the sleep and wellness vertical of Livpure comprising mattresses, pillows, bedsheets, curtains, etc.
In an interview with SMBStory, CEO of Livpure, Pritesh Talwar outlines how the company was not just able to introduce new products in the mattress segment but also innovate to be an environment-friendly brand using technology .
Rolling out quality and comfort
Pritesh says plans to launch Livpure's sleep and wellness space was on even before COVID-19 brought the country to a standstill. Since the company had created a niche in the market already (selling air and water purifiers for years), the potential to tap into the online market seemed significant.
However, lack of awareness plagued this segment’s customers.
“When it comes to mattress shopping, people don't really know what they need,” says Pritesh, adding, “Many people suffer from sleeplessness, fatigue, etc., but are unable to relate this to using the wrong mattress.”
Mattress customers were mostly relying on traditional brands present in the market for decades, and this prevented them from exploring the various innovations happening in this market.
Livpure launched its mattress product line in August 2020, when the Indian mattress market was brimming with a mix of new-age companies such as Wakefit, The Sleep Company, SleepyCat, and established brands like Sleepwell, Kurl-on, and others.
Livpure, he says, wants to stay true to its customers by providing quality products, even if it comes with a hefty price tag.
“Customers are flexible when it comes to pricing, as long as they get a great quality product,” Pritesh affirms.
Currently, Livpure offers more than five categories of mattresses, priced in the range of Rs 5000 to Rs 50,000. The categories differ based on affordability, fabrics or the kind of foam used, among other factors.
At a time when businesses are becoming more conscious about including sustainability on their agenda, Livpure has also introduced an Ayurveda-inspired mattress, manufactured with all natural materials like sandalwood infused latex foam, covers made up of lavender, etc.
Apart from selling on its own website, the products are also present on Amazon, Flipkart, Livspace, Hometown, and other ecommerce platforms. Additionally, the company also provides a 100-night risk free trial where customers can buy the mattress, try it out for 100 days and return it with a full refund if they are not happy with it.
Pritesh says that while they started the mattress brand from scratch, today, the brand is scaling up step by step. He refuses to share monthly sales or cumulative figures but adds the brand is growing between 20-30 percent month on month, with an average order value of Rs 12,000.
The D2C debate
The pandemic saw numerous brands riding the D2C wave in the last one and a half years as digitisation is an important means for survival during and after the pandemic. In the last three years alone, India has added 80 million online shoppers to reach 130 million online shoppers, according to an Avendus Capital report released in October 2020. It is also well known that the D2C sector is also attracting growing investor attention.
While Livpure has an omnichannel approach which includes modern retail outlets, online channels turned out to be a saviour, especially during the lockdown when sales were disrupted.
Going D2C is a small step for a company like Livpure, as it strives to become a one-stop shop for all smart home appliances. The brand also has big plans to roll out energy products in the years to come.
Through the pandemic, Livpure has been actively hiring ecommerce and supply chain professionals to keep the push on online sales going.
However, while online routes play an important role in pushing sales and expanding customer base, it is not without challenges.
A parallel debate raging within the industry is that companies that only take the ecommerce route do not get enough customer data on where their products are going.
On this, Pritesh says, “Selling through one’s own website is important because that gives more accurate customer data, especially in the initial stages.”
Nevertheless, he adds that ecommerce is important to get traction and expand the customer base.
Whether it’s D2C, ecommerce or physical stores, innovations and new players in the sleep industry can only lead to a good night’s sleep - which is a sure win for customers.
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