原文链接:Why there are so many online mattress-in-a-box companies

利润空间高的传统行业,搭一个网站线上销售产品,生产、发货、客服都可以外包,成本主要用于购买线上广告吸引新客户,钱不够还可以找风投。但是准入门槛很低,竞争会越来越饱和,风口过后,有人会成为真正的玩家,有人会成为摔下来的猪。


“Since you have all these mattress manufacturers anyway, if you can find a manufacturer that will manufacturer the mattresses on a private label and slap your brand on, then you’re in business,” said Daniel Galle, cofounder of Nolah Sleep. “There are very little barriers to enter so you see these massive amount of brands coming up.”

“既然有这么多的床垫制造商,如果你能找到一家制造商愿意为你贴牌生产,把你的商标贴上去你就能开始做买卖了。” …… “进入的门槛很低所以你见到大量的品牌出现了”

How mattresses made it online

Mattresses were among the last consumer products to find a footing in e-commerce. Traditionally, mattresses have been sold by mom-and-pop stores, retail chains like Mattress Firm, and department stores. Because mattresses sell at relatively high profit margins—a mattress can be manufactured for as little as $250—a mattress store needs to sell only a few mattresses to cover its costs. These dynamics have also led to a boom in the number of mattress stores in America.

床垫是那些最后涉足电子商务的消费品之一。传统上,床垫在小型的零售店、连锁店和百货商店出售,因为床垫销售相对较高的利润空间 —— 生产一个床垫最少只需 250 美金,一个销售床垫的商店只需要卖掉几个就能覆盖成本。这种动力也导致了床垫商店的数量在美国大幅增长。

Mattress-in-a-box companies are really digital marketing companies

To understand why there are so many brands in the mix, it’s better to think of these companies less as mattress companies and more as digital marketing companies. … most online mattress companies don’t actually manufacture their own mattresses; they subcontract the manufacturing and simply slap their brands on the product.

要理解为什么有这么多的品牌,最好把这些公司视为数字营销公司,而非床垫公司 …… 绝大多数线上床垫销售公司事实上并不自己生产床垫,他们把生产分包而仅仅在产品上贴上商标。

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Just like mattresses sold in a physical store, margins on the mattress in a box are still high, meaning startups only have to sell so many to cover their operating costs. And because these companies exist mostly online, their operating costs can be even lower; all they need to do is maintain a website and buy ads on the internet. Some of the bigger brands will also buy physical ads, like Casper does in the New York City subway, but the logistics of shipping and manufacturing are outsourced.

和实体店一样,线上卖床垫的利润仍然很高,意味着初创公司只需要卖掉一些就能覆盖运营成本。而因为这些初创企业基本都是线上,他们的运营成本甚至(比实体店)更低。他们只需要维护一个网站以及购买互联网广告。一些更大的品牌也会买实体广告,但送货的物流和生产都是外包的。

“People ask me what it takes to get into this space,” said Bryan Murphy, founder and president of Tomorrow Sleep. “If you have a [Google] AdWords account [to buy digital ads] and you know a subcontractor, you can sell a mattress online.”

“人们问我怎样才能进入这一行?” …… “如果你有一个 Google AdWords 账户(用于购买数字广告)同时你认识一个分包商,你就可以线上卖床垫了。”

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The other factor holding back growth of online mattress sales is the fact that the mattress industry as a whole doesn’t have much opportunity for growth, and the growth in online sales will ultimately have to come from cannibalizing sales from retail stores.

另一个影响线上床垫销售增长的因素是床垫行业作为一个整体并没有太多增长的机会,线上销售的增长最终会吞噬零售店的销售。

“When you have a mature market like this, pretty much all the growth of the online sector is going to come from the shrinkage of the traditional retail sector,” said Utpal Dholakia, a marketing professor at Rice University. “I would say this is going to be a very slow and progressive change as this online channel becomes more and more significant, but up to a point.”

“当你拥有一个如此成熟的市场,几乎所有线上部分的增长将会来自传统零售的缩水,” …… “我认为线上渠道会变得越来越重要,但改变会非常缓慢而渐进。”

Can all these companies survive as competition heats up?

In the short term, the industry can likely sustain a high number of online mattress companies because many of them are funded by venture capital. With the online sector projected to grow, there are plenty of people who think they can create a brand that clicks or pioneer a variation on the traditional mattress that will become popular with consumers.

短期内行业里会保有大量的线上床垫公司,因为很多公司从风投获得了资金。预期到线上部分的增长,许多人认为他们能打造一个品牌,引发受消费者欢迎的传统床垫的变化

Investors might show patience with the companies because the operating costs are so low. While many of these companies are undoubtedly losing money, it’s probably not much, given the bulk of the costs are related to buying online ads, customer service, and maintaining a website.

考虑到大部分的成本都用于购买线上广告、客户服务和网站维护,尽管数量不大,但许多公司毫无疑问地在亏损。不过因为运营成本如此之低,投资者仍会对这些公司表现出耐心。

At the same time, the price of ads is going up for mattress companies because of all the new players in the space. In Google AdWords, companies bid for ads related to keywords such as “mattress” or “best mattress.” The more companies there are bidding up the price, the more it will cost to lure in new customers, and some companies will get priced out as the space gets more competitive.

同时,因为新玩家的加入,床垫公司购买广告的价格在上升。Google AdWords 里,公司为了如“床垫”和“最好的床垫”这样的关键词进行广告竞价,参与竞价的公司越多,吸引新客户的成本就越高,随着竞争加剧一些公司会因为广告价格而出局。

“I think you’ll see brands start to disappear over the next couple of years,” said Scott Paladini, founder of Bear Mattress. “There’s a lot of growth, so people could get away with it, but as growth starts to normalize, customer acquisition costs are going to rise. People are going to be under pressure.”

我认为之后几年你会见到品牌开始消失“ …… ”当有大量增长时,大家可能避免出局,但当增长变得普通,获得客户的成本上升,大家就会很有压力“

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These types of business tricks are symptomatic of an industry where numerous players are fighting for what will be a finite amount of market share in an industry with slow overall growth. There’s a window for a handful of online mattress brands to become real players, and the fight to be one of those could get vicious.

在一个总体增长缓慢,大量参与者为了有限数量的市场份额激烈竞争的行业内,这些生意伎俩是很典型的。只有少数线上床垫品牌能在窗口期内成为真正的玩家,而成为其中之一的战斗将会很激烈。