Consumer behaviors have undoubtedly made many changes during the last few months, both reacting and reflecting the world’s uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic. And consumers are adopting new coping behaviors, too, shifting spending to categories which enable newly enforced at-home cultures, including food, household supplies, and home entertainment. Consumers are looking to nest while sheltering at home.
While so many industries have been hit hard and are continuing to find footing in the current environment, companies within the home goods market have actually seen increased sales.
For Resident, a digitally native home goods business that owns and operates Nectar and DreamCloud mattresses, this is especially true. Because though consumer’s spending optimism in at-home categories has certainly boosted the company overall, being a digital-first data-driven company allowed Resident to have the agility to shift smoothly into the “new normal.”
Here, Ran Reske, co-chief executive officer of Resident, share insights on its working from home culture, communication and the growing nesting trend.
WWD: What can you tell us about Resident’s strategy for navigating change caused by the coronavirus crisis?
Ran Reske: Resident has been very fortunate as we did not need to make any significant changes to our business and our workflows. We started our business as an online e-commerce business and so we built a very strong online foundation.
This foundation has allowed us to quickly refocus the business on online channels while we wait for the retail stores to open back up again. We started the business as a remote workforce has brought together the best talent from all over the world.
A lot of our team members have always worked from home, with the work from home culture deeply rooted in our DNA. We were used to having all-hands calls via Zoom and having weekly management meetings with participants video-conferencing in from all over the world.
WWD: How have your professional priorities changed during the pandemic?
R.R.: Communication is absolutely key. Now more than ever, we need to make sure that we communicate on a regular basis and make sure everyone on the team feels that they know everything that is going on.
Where before we could have relied on slack and e-mail for communication and getting thoughts across, we now have more calls and virtual meetings, to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that tasks get done. It’s very inspiring to see how our team gets together on these calls and how all the goals are completed.
WWD: How is consumer spending changing as individuals adapt to at-home comfort?
R.R.: Consumer spending has significantly changed during this difficult time. Consumers are no longer able to spend money on experiences such as travel, shows, sporting events and even dining experiences. All of these in-person experiences have been replaced with at-home experiences.
In order for people to make up for these “lost” experiences, they now want to get the best experience they can at-home.
This means that more people are spending money on media to provide entertainment for themselves and their families, as well as making sure that they are comfortable at home by upgrading their mattresses and living room sets. In addition, with most retail stores being shut, consumers are now shifting and primarily making online purchases for products they would have previously bought at a retail store, such as couches and mattresses.
WWD: What can traditional retailers learn from the DTC business model?
R.R.: The DTC business model allows the brands to have a direct conversation with the customer. Traditional retailers need to figure out a way to have these conversations with their customers. The customers want to hear from the brand but if they don’t have the communication channel, it is very difficult.
WWD: In your own words, what can other industries learn from Resident?
R.R.: Unfortunately, during this difficult time, some industries, like the apparel industry, have been hit quite hard as consumers are not focused on these industries. The consumer is trying to make their life a little more comfortable and is looking to replace experiences they can no longer physically do.
The important message any company should share with their customers is that they understand what they’re going through and that all they want to do is make their lives that much more comfortable now and provide them with a unique experience.
WWD: Why is that especially pertinent during this pandemic?
R.R.: Everyone is going through very difficult times right now and it’s important for the brands to communicate with their customers. Traditional retailers need to make sure that their customers know that the brand cares about them and wants to help in any way possible.
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