How non-essential categories such as mattresses have impacted due to Covid 19?

In an exclusive conversation with Uttam Malani, Executive Director, Centuary Mattresses talks about covid 19 impact on his business.
How non-essential categories such as mattresses have impacted due to Covid 19?
Uttam Malani

Centuary Fibre Plates started its journey in 1988 as an OEM of rubberized coir for a then-popular mattress brand called “Rilaxon”. By the early 1990s, the founders Late Mr. Bhagwandas Malani & his son Mr. Purshottam Malani launched its own brand - ‘Centuary Mattresses’. As of now, Centuary Mattresses has sold more than 5 Million mattresses through its more than 300 Exclusive Brand Outlets (EBOs) and 3500 distributors in  states and UTs. In this journey of 3 decades, Centuary Mattresses has achieved many firsts in the industry.

How do you see the impact of COVID 19 on the overall industry and particularly your business?

 The post lockdown period will certainly bring optimism for the manufacturing industry. However, few things which should be kept in mind after lockdown are spending the money sensibly with judicious buying. The companies need to implement a proper credit management system, control the operational expenses, plan logistics management and streamline the labor/manpower management. They should also look at revising the stakeholder relationships with the realignment of thoughts, processes, business modules, and credit terms. Customer relationships will be significantly altered due to limited or restricted resources. More particularly for the mattresses industry, the post lockdown is expected to bring relatively better business sentiment. The 40-day lockdown has provided a much-required opportunity to the people to assess their existing well-being and persuade them to focus on the hygiene factor. With this, they get a chance to understand the importance of better sleep which can be enhanced by a comfortable and hygienic mattress.

How do you assess the consumption trends in the post-COVID-19 world? How the mattresses category will be impacted?

 Due to the extended lockdown, people have got enough free time to assess their original requirements, especially when it comes to households. They might have experienced the importance of quality mattresses to get good sleep – a key factor in being healthy in the current stressful lifestyles. Hence, we believe customers will shift their focus towards quality mattresses than just buying poor-quality products for cheaper prices. This trend will surely help grow the organized mattresses market in India. 

 What will be your distribution strategy now onwards? 

 We will continue to put all the efforts into improving and strengthening our distribution network by offering the best and most innovative product lines combined with state-of-the-art technology. We will bring in the cutting-edge technology to conduct business through the latest AI (Artificial Intelligence) in supply chain management. We will also look at maintaining credit limit controls rather being a credit exposer. Centuary Mattresses’ other key strategies include judicious buying, supplying, effective inventory management, timely supplies and high customer experience (CX).

 Do you plan to put less focus on offline stores as compared to online? 

 In the category of Mattresses, touch and feel are of prime importance as a most suited mattress certainly helps to lead a healthy life by ensuring better sleep. The customer has to lie down and check the suitability as per their body built. Therefore, the majority of the customers, as well as the manufacturers, prefer a brick and mortar format. However, Centuary Mattresses also offers its products online through its website . Though there will an increase in online sales for us, we feel that the offline stores would continue to be in the retail segment.

 Tell us about your newly added learning and development program?

We as a brand always strive to improve our skills. We conduct workshops regularly to improve the skillset of the manpower which help us to produce the quality product. To take our vision forward, we have launched a program called CLASS (Centuary Learning & Awards for Sleep Specialists) for the Retail Sales Associates (salesmen of Exclusive Brand Outlets). We impart skillset training that includes personal, sales development along with product training.

 What is the key objective of this learning and development program? 

 The main objective is of this learning and development program is to upskill our teams while motivating them to do better in each of their respective fields. Right from training them to make them experts and knowledgeable about the products to develop sales skillset helping them to convert window shoppers into actual customers. The program also helps to hone their skills in cross-selling and up-selling thereby setting the tonality for proper retail concepts. Providing the best shopping experience to the customers at outlets makes a tremendous difference and additionally helps to spread positive feedback through a word of mouth. It assists in getting repeat customers as well thereby enhance customer loyalty.

 

 

               

Uttam Malani
 
 
 
 
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