19 May 2024, 09:07
By Simon Williams Nov 09, 2020

The NBF – backing British beds

With high demand for British-made beds, the National Bed Federation (NBF) is helping retailers, suppliers and consumers make the most of the opportunity, explains marketing & membership manager, Simon Williams.

One of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a return of economic patriotism, with many EU countries reverting to the old mantra of buy local. In the UK this has certainly been evident in the food sector, where a poll for Waitrose has found that demand for home-grown produce is rapidly growing, with almost 75% of consumers wanting to see more retailers source food from British farmers. 

But what about retailers selling more British beds? The NBF worked closely with the British Furniture Confederation (BFC) and other trade associations to develop the Buy British Furniture promotion, which launched in mid-September – with the backing and support of MPs in the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Group. The aim of the campaign, with its slogan ‘Buy the Best – Buy British – Save Jobs’, is to get consumers to think more about where the furniture and beds they buy come from.

The results from the consumer survey we conducted revealed that more than three quarters would be more inclined to buy British if they knew it would save jobs, a third being more inclined to buy British than they were before the pandemic, and nearly a quarter not knowing where the furniture they had bought recently was made. 

So there’s clearly an increased demand from UK consumers for British-made beds, and lots of incentive here for bed retailers to stock and sell NBF member brands – all of whom are British (or Irish) manufacturers, and all of whom have undergone rigorous independent auditing as part of the NBF’s Code of Practice to certify they have robust procedures in place to ensure their products comply with regulatory requirements for flammability, cleanliness of fillings and trade descriptions.

What’s more, our Due Diligence Random Testing Programme of both member and non-member products goes a step further, clearly demonstrating the differences in compliance with UK regulations and giving further reassurance that buying a British (or Irish) bed or mattress made by an Approved NBF Member is worth it. 

In support of those bed retailers who buy more than 50% of their UK-sourced floor (or website) models from NBF members, our new Retail Champions scheme provides them with a free PoS pack plus inclusion on the NBF’s website store finder section. Those retailers stocking 100% NBF member brands are recognised as Premier Retail Champions, and highlighted as such. 

The packs consist of a large logo board, window vinyls, tent cards, adhesive labels and swing tags – all helping to attract buyers towards British- and Irish-made NBF member brands or white-label products made by NBF members. It’s already proving very popular, with more than 200 bed retailers signed up in the first six months.

On another matter, the NBF receives a high number of enquiries every year from consumers wanting unbiased, professional advice on all manner of bed-related topics – from the straightforward to the more unusual. Over the last couple of years, our website has had three distinct sections – for consumers, the bed trade, and a password-protected section for NBF members. 

Having analysed our visitor traffic, we’re excited to announce that we will be launching a new consumer-focused website which will combine all the NBF’s impartial bed-buying advice, allowing consumers to search not only for their nearest retailer selling NBF member brands, but to also search by product type and find the name of the NBF brands who supply that particular product – for example, mattresses that are foam-free, or FR chemical-free. 

There will also be a step-by-step Bed Buyers’ Guide and a section dedicated to answering the most frequently asked consumer questions about beds and mattresses, plus social media channels on Facebook and Twitter (follow @BedadviceUK).

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