Colorful Mattress Brand Purple Stands Out From its Competitors
Selling mattresses online, once thought to be a novelty, has exploded in recent years. Consider that in 2014, the online share of U.S. retail mattress sales was 6 percent; it now stands at 10 percent, and figures to continue to grow. Online mattress sales now represent a $1.5 billion industry.
With increasing competition, brands such as Purple, a comfort technology company which sells mattresses (and other home goods) online, are challenged to find ways to differentiate themselves. In this interview with Alex McArthur, Purple's chief marketing officer, he discusses the brand's strategy for differentiating itself as well as why it's primed for future growth.
Total Retail: What is Purple doing to differentiate itself in the crowded online retail space, and become more than just a company to buy a mattress from?
Alex McArthur: Purple is unique in the mattress space for two big reasons. First is the proprietary technology used in our cushioning products. This material technology was invented by our founding team almost 20 years ago, and has had a long history in medical products and with major consumer brands like Dr. Scholl's and JanSport. The launch of Purple was the first time this technology has been used on an entire mattress and it totally changes the benefits of the bed. This material and the design we put it in makes the bed uniquely pressure relieving and super comfortable. No other mattress [company] can claim it has the same technology and physical benefits as we do.
The second major differentiator is our brand. Purple leapt out of the gate with a colorful, funny, entertaining brand, and that has set us apart on the noisy internet full of new mattress brands. We will always be humorous, approachable and have a video-first marketing strategy. We like to tell stories and be innovative, and those traits are a big part of what has helped us stand out to consumers.
TR: How does technology and innovation factor into this differentiation for Purple?
AM: Purple's founders started the journey of innovation that would eventually lead to the launch of Purple over 20 years ago. They created the first iteration of this technology to solve for painful compression sores experienced by wheelchair-bound people. The result was an incredibly durable, food-contact-grade material that buckled under pressure, providing relief even when pressure was experienced for long periods of time. These features make the material the founders invented, called Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ technology, ideal for mattresses, seat cushions and other cushioning products.
Unlike most mattress companies that simply combine various foams, memory foam, latex and springs, Purple brings completely unique, patented technology to the table. On top of that, our technology actually eases pressure so sleepers get deeper, more comfortable rest.
TR: What steps is Purple taking to personalize the shopping experiences of its customers?
AM: We make it a priority to "Purple-ify" all of our communications with customers, letting our fun brand enhance the customer experience. Consumers are usually introduced to our brand through our videos, and we try to pull that brand voice into everything we do, from ad copy to emails to product packaging. This gives customers a unique Purple experience from beginning to end.
TR: What are Purple's plans for growing the business? Do physical stores become a potential channel?
AM: Brick-and-mortar retailers represent an important part of our business growth plan. We're already in very serious talks with several major retailers, and consumers can look forward to experiencing our products in retail stores in the very near future.
TR: Why does Purple view omnichannel as a growth opportunity for the business?
AM: Although direct-to-consumer channels are quickly growing in popularity, they still represent a small portion of the overall market. There will always be a portion of the population who wants to feel the product before they purchase.