19 July 2024, 07:40
By Furniture News Aug 01, 2022

MattressNextDay's Martin Seeley talks (e)shop

MattressNextDay has operated online for 18 years, and over that time has built up a strong inventory of more than 10,000 SKUs, from brands including Silentnight, Sleepeezee, Sealy and Relyon, plus new suppliers such as Hypnos and several bed-in-a-box specialists.

Website traffic grows by approximately +20% YoY, and the average number of monthly visitors currently stands at 90,000, says CEO Martin Seeley (pictured). The business is expanding rapidly, and a new warehouse and showroom, due to open late this year, is set to effectively double the size of the operation.

Why visit your website?

We pride ourselves on having an easy-to-use, no-jargon website that is focused on giving people a fast way to get a great night’s sleep. In other words, visitors to our site know what they’re going to get – high-quality products, speedy delivery and great prices.

MattressNextDay is also an ethically aware business, and we recently planted over 500 trees to offset carbon emissions. We plant a tree for every order placed.

How did you enter this industry?

It’s in the blood! My dad owned a bed shop in Clapham, South London, and I worked there in my early 20s and learned the trade. It was a great learning experience as my dad was an excellent salesperson – one of the best in the business. The passion for the industry was passed on to me, and I’ve never looked back.

Who is your ecommerce hero?

Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair. I know that some people find him arrogant and outspoken, but I think he argues his points well. I actually like his idea of removing aeroplane seats and creating standing areas to reduce ticket prices by -50% on short-haul flights. People get annoyed by the idea, but it will provide cheaper flights for people on a tight budget. Whether it’s practical and safe enough to ever be allowed is another matter, but he’s not afraid to think outside of the box, which is something I admire!

Describe a typical working day …

I have a very disciplined routine and make sure that I stick to it every day. I wake up early and plan the day ahead. Once I’m at my desk, I make sure that I get any high-priority tasks taken care of first and deal with any pressing issues. I spend a lot of time talking to suppliers, setting up contracts, dealing with logistics and managing my employees.

I love the fact that my working week is full and busy, as it gives me a strong sense of purpose. My overriding goal is to always aim to do slightly better than the day before – I think the technical term is ‘incremental gains’. I constantly strive to make progress towards my business goals, which has worked well for me so far!

What part of your job would you prefer to avoid?

To be honest, I’m a grafter, so I don’t mind doing almost any aspect of the job. I’ve done it all over the years! The one thing I try to avoid like the plague these days is unloading the mattresses. Since I’ve got older it nearly kills me, so I prefer to leave that to the young ‘uns! I still have to do it occasionally, but I think I’ve done more than my fair share of it whilst building the business up!

What’s been your greatest challenge to date?

That’s difficult to answer, as I really love facing a challenge and rising to it. Probably the biggest challenge in recent years has been dealing with supply chain issues, especially during the Covid pandemic. To overcome the challenge and continue to provide a top-tier service to our customers, we decided to open our warehouse seven days a week, around the clock, to make sure that there is always someone there to take a delivery.

How much do you invest in making your site more visible?

I’m not afraid to invest serious money in SEO and PPC, as driving traffic to the website is the lifeblood of our business. Without visitors, we don’t get sales, it’s as simple as that. We spend roughly £70-80k per month on applying SEO strategies and running PPC ad campaigns.

What’s your take on how the relationship between online and physical retail might develop?

I see the physical high street stores as being just as important as online retailers in the furniture industry, as they supply great products. High street retailers such as Dreams and Bensons provide a great real-life experience for customers, and I don’t think anyone would benefit if that went away.

At MattressNextDay, we believe that we complement the high street stores by providing great mattresses at great prices, delivered quickly. We’re not like the dodgy eBay sellers knocking out cheap-as-chips but second-rate products all day long, and neither do we want to be.

Do you have any plans to grow the business?

We are highly focused on business growth, and we achieve it YoY by providing a first-class service to our customers. We have exciting plans for later this year. In the last quarter of 2022 we are opening a new, purpose-built warehouse and glitzy showroom, which will double our current capacity. I can’t wait for the grand opening!

What advice would you offer an aspiring e-tailer?

Apart from the obvious advice of working hard and striving to improve each day, I would give three pearls of wisdom from my own experience:

1. Keep it simple. Don’t take on too much to begin with, and build up gradually. If you try to grow too quickly, there’s a danger that you won’t be able to meet demand, which means you’ll let customers down. This is never a good thing for a retailer, whether online or in brick-and-mortar stores.

2. Outdo Amazon! Any e-tailer that wants to be successful must think of a way that they can do things better than Amazon. For us, it was offering a guaranteed next-day delivery at no extra cost to the customer.

3. Always make time for a cuppa!

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