Over the past decade, the mattress industry has evolved dramatically, with bed-in-a-box and other direct-to-consumer brands shaking up the traditional bedding business with fresh products and new ways to shop for them.
And while e-commerce has been a major part of the strategy of many of those new mattress players, brick-and-mortar retail experiences have become increasingly important. In the past year, Avocado has opened several immersive retail outlets in major cities, and Casper launched a store-in-store in Bed Bath & Beyond’s New York flagship location. Now Sleep Number launches a revamp of its stores to create a more interactive, wellness-focused experience for shoppers.
Starting with its Edina, Minn., location, Sleep Number has reimagined its retail look and feel with a warm, modern aesthetic created using recycled and sustainable materials.
“One of the things that’s unique about this store concept, as well as the design development strategy is moving forward, is a focus on sustainability,” said Angela Gearhart, VP of Connected Brand Experience. “We’re looking at every aspect of the store, so the flooring is made of 100 percent postindustrial recycled materials, the solid surfaces are GreenGuard certified, our paint is low VOC. Even the acrylic is made of 100 percent recycled material.”
Looks aren’t the only thing Sleep Number upgraded in its stores. The company made major investments in technology that will better demonstrate the features and benefits of its mattresses. For Sleep Number’s 360 Smart Bed, customers can get an individual fit demonstration, with the bed adjusting to their body while they watch a display showing how pressure points are supported and explaining how the bed works.
Sleep Number’s revamped stores offer another immersive experience with the bed introducing itself through an interactive presentation that invites customers to feel how their products can help improve sleep.
“It helps bring to life a lot of the key benefits and the sleep health benefits of the product,” Gearhart said. “The customer can feel the end of the bed gently warming their feet to help them fall asleep faster. They can feel the bed adjusting to them to help them stay asleep all night long, responding to their body.”
The interactive experiences also allow customers to tap into Sleep Number’s scientific data resources, too. The company has partnered with researchers at organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and the American Cancer Society to conduct studies through their beds’ sensors to diagnose sleep disorders and even identify COVID-19 symptoms.
“They’re using our smart bed that lives in actual sleepers’ homes, and they don’t require any charging like a wearable might,” said Nichole Teixeira, public relations manager, Sleep Number. “And this really allows us to collect data night after night from real-world sleepers over a longer period of time in their natural environment. That’s not currently possible in the typical way that you study sleep in, for example, a sleep lab setting, which requires you to sleep away from your home.”
So far, Sleep Number has converted three stores—the Edina location, along with West Bloomfield, Mich. and Aurora, Ill.—to the new concept. Gearhart said the company plans to complete 16 more upgrades by year end and continue until all 650 of their stores have been revamped.
“We’re excited about how we’re leveraging the human, the physical, and the digital aspects of the experience to really bring the power to connect to the customer,” Gearhart said. “[We want to] create that emotional, rational connection. We want you to leave the store knowing this is the right solution for you, knowing how it’s going to help your health and wellness as well as your overall wellbeing.”