Since 2002, the business strategy for Novo Textiles has undergone several revisions. Although corporate values remained the same, sales and marketing strategies were modified to increase demand and penetrate new markets. Each change came with its lessons – some that cost the company a few customers while others brought an increase in market share.
When looking to improve the business, all areas are open for review. The evaluation of product lines, marketing efforts and business practices takes place and approaches that are not working need change. This may mean discontinuing a product, modifying a sales program, or re-evaluating the product offering. When Novo Textiles was a younger company and finding its niche, we did what we could to gain market share. We had a limited but growing customer base so creativity came from product offering, delivery incentives or volume discounts on product. As the company grew, some initial services/pricing were discontinued and better incentives were offered. Unfortunately, not all our customers were happy with these changes.
An example of a “lesson learned” is decision to provide a warranty with one of our products. We currently offer a 15-year warranty on the NOVOshield Mattress Protector (the longest of all similar products on the market). In the early years, the product with the 15-year warranty was mostly sold to mattress retailers. The warranty has allowed retail sales teams to help their customers protect the significant financial investment of their new bed. Easy selling features include being 100% waterproof, and protecting against dust mite and allergens.
Along came retailers that sold sleep accessories – minus the beds. They wanted the same product but without the warranty. We came up with an easy solution: a program was created to offer NOVOshield mattress protectors without warranties. Initially, this was a well received product feature as many retailers were excited by the new price point and flexibility. However, over time the initial sales increase was followed by confusion. We were faced with fulfilling warranties for products that may not have been warrantied as customers were confused as to which product they purchased. We tried to increase marketing dollars to clarify the different offerings of warranty versus no-warranty, but in the end there was an overall devaluation of the product.
The lesson? A short sighted decision to gain a few more customers created more problems in the long run.
Based on our research, consumer awareness in mattress protection is increasing. As well, consumers have new concerns about potential allergens and bed bug infestations. Our marketing message for the next quarter will communicate to our retailer partners that we will no longer offer NOVOshield Mattress Protectors without warranty. The return to our original “standing by our product” principle of 15 years should be enough to convince the market of the value.