Therapedic International President Gerry Borreggine tells editor at large Dave Perry that Better Sleep Council…
Store redesign connects digital, in-store worlds, focuses on sustainability.
What if you could see the mattress store of the future? What would it look like? What new technology would it have? How would it engage customers both online and in real time?
Look no further than the new Sleep Number stores. Think touch-and-feel bedding samples, a PillowFit Quiz, digital screens, QR codes and immersive smartbed experiences.
The Minneapolis-based retailer is redesigning stores to provide a premium brand experience, one that furthers the individuality in its customizable sleep sets.
“We are leveraging the strength of human, physical and digital experiences to individualize the customer journey and create an emotional and rational connection, build value, and leave no doubt Sleep Number is the right choice,” says Angela Gearhart, vice president of connected brand experience at Sleep Number.
That experience starts in the redesigned stores, where immersive, multisensory “wow” moments delight shoppers.
Touching the senses
For example, Sleep Number demonstrates its IndividualFit technology as the customer lies on a bed in the store. She can see, hear and feel the bed adjusting to her body, and she can watch as her pressure points disappear on the mattress and on a screen as the bed provides her perfect level of comfort and support — her Sleep Number setting.
In the new 360 smartbed experience, one of the beds introduces itself on a screen and explains the health benefits of quality sleep. Rest-testers can feel the bed warming their feet to help them fall asleep, and they can feel the bed adjusting to alleviate snoring.
Those immersive experiences, designed to attract, engage and educate consumers, are consistently presented and easily repeatable — keys to success on the retail floor, officials say.
In addition to digital screens sprinkled through the store, shoppers will also find QR codes that direct them to additional interactive experiences on SleepNumber.com.
One QR code opens a Bedding Visualization Tool, which allows customers to pick the color and design of their sheets, blankets, coverlets, comforters and duvets — and see how the dressed bed would look with their selections.
Another QR code takes shoppers to the PillowFit Quiz, where they choose their support preference — soft, soft-medium, medium, medium-firm and firm — and their sleeping position, and then receive personalized pillow recommendations.
With both these QR code applications, consumers see the prices of everything they have selected. They can easily move from the digital world on their phones and tablets to the physical world in the store.
Meanwhile, retail sales associates — Sleep Number calls them “Sleep Experts” — are armed with iPads to help guide the customer journey.
And that journey is always an individual one.
Individualization is built into all Sleep Number beds, allowing sleepers to dial in their own setting, which adjusts the firmness or softness of the sleep surface with the touch of a button. The higher the Sleep Number, the firmer the mattress.
“Sleep Number’s foundation is individuality,” Gearhart says. “We celebrate individuality in each other, in our own lives and in our customers’ lives. Individuality connects us to our vision of becoming one of the world’s most beloved brands by delivering an unparalleled sleep experience.”
Another key to the new store look, Gearhart says, is that the space is “flexible and agile to accommodate future innovations and real estate opportunities and it serves as a baseline for portfolio evolution.”
The redesign creates a modern, relaxing environment with materials designed to elevate key Sleep Number brand elements.
To achieve this warm ambiance, some of those materials are sustainable. The redesigned store program marks the first time that sustainability is both a guiding principle and a foundational requirement for a major company initiative, officials say.
Among the sustainability measures: All the flooring in the redesigned stores is manufactured in the United States in a zero-waste facility, and the carpet is made from 57% recycled content and is 100% recyclable. All the wall coverings, made in the United States, are PVC-free.
In addition, free-standing, modular fixtures and technology presentations are interchangeable and can be configured to easily adjust to most locations. That’s important given Sleep Number’s extensive portfolio of almost 675 stores across the country, making it one of the nation’s largest bedding retailers.
Given the scope of the makeover, the company projects a soft launch. The first new store rolled out this summer in Edina, Minnesota, in Sleep Number’s backyard, followed by redesigns at stores in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Aurora, Illinois. Plans include a refresh of more than a dozen more stores by the end of the year, and the pace of openings will increase in the new year.
The Edina store has a footprint of about 2,400 square feet, while the average Sleep Number store is about 3,200 square feet. Store sizes range from 2,000 square feet to about 4,000 square feet.
Gearhart says the store redesign, which will replace a format in use since 2020, incorporates several elements that make it cost effective, such as the modular design.
And the retailer isn’t done imagining its new retail looks. What can shoppers expect next? Augmented reality experiences are now in development.