Have you been Mattress shopping lately? How about in the last decade? The last hundred years perhaps? I’m pretty sure that the shopping experience hasn’t changed in the last 50 years if ever. You are bombarded by a constant barrage of ‘sales’ and finally go into a store and are immediately overwhelmed by a plethora of features and benefits, all designed to add value to the process but somehow trigger everything negative about the paradox of choice leaving most people perplexed about what is truly adding to the quality and benefits of a mattress. Couple that with the incessant sales and promotions that mattress sellers are always touting and there is much distrust created in the category a shoppers have a nagging feeling that they are paying too much for a mattress due to sales and marketing. Trust becomes a major factor in mattress shopping and to date, that trust has been created by brand names and yet the industry has created a sense of dis-ease through some shady marketing and branding practices designed to create pricing and margin stratification.

We purchased our last mattress when we moved back from Arkansas to North Carolina. I did some research online and visited a few stores seeking a premium product figuring that we’d be sleeping on it the next decade or so so the investment with worthwhile. The ‘paradox of choice‘ was overwhelming. There are just so many choices and options that overwhelm the shopping experience. Literally mattress choices range from a hundred dollars to well over ten-thousand. Is there really a 100x benefit for a mattress that costs as much as much as a decent used car? Mattress marketing is a highly competitive and confusing business. Look no further than a simple Google search for mattress and you will find ZERO organic results above the fold, there is so much digital marketing competition for attention.

I am instantly suspicious of categories that are over-marketed. Consumers ultimately pay for wasteful and inefficient marketing and in many cases it is simply supporting an overage of supply in the industry. Think how many insurance commercials run on TV daily. We are moving to a post push-advertising world and thankfully the marketplace is beginning to drive out inefficiencies by moving away from inefficient channels. As we are detailing in our upcoming book, Retail Relevancy, shopper behavior is changing not because of retail channels but because of the new simplicity created by multiple technologies solving the last mile problem for ecommerce.

Like many Tweens, our daughter Mary Catherine has been in the process of redecorating her room with her own design stamp. At the same time, my business partner Ted Rubin has been working with Leesa and I have been following his experiences with the brand. We decided to check out what Leesa had to offer in terms of mattresses as Ted had shared great experiences with his Leesa products for his new place in Florida. Leesa generously offered to provide us with a mattress for Mary Catherine’s room makeover. Of course my interest always is grounded in purchase experience so we all set about as a family along the path to purchase. I thought it would be an interesting comparison with the store based model I had used before. Leesa has done a great job of creating helpful content of all types about its products using influencers which really helps active mid-funnel shoppers looking for information

Mary Catherine has been managing her own room redesign getting inspiration and information from mostly digital sources. Shannon and I both spent time discussing mattress options with Mary Catherine that fit the bedframe she selected and helping her think through the purchase process. She uses primarily You Tube and Instagram to get ideas about ways to arrange her room and then shopping a combination of physical and digital channels. The Container Store and Amazon have been her primary sources for pulling the purchase trigger. She and Shannon did the initial research on the Leesa, going through its choices and understanding the product benefits. With a frame already in place, it was easy to select the right mattress from a straightforward inventory. Finally, Mary Catherine selected the mattress that was right for her and we placed an order and got ready to receive our mattress. I was struck by the idea that the mere thought of ordering a mattress online just five years ago would have been almost unthinkable and now we’re on the path to this channel becoming the norm.

My ecommerce purchase expectation is over-communication. Amazon has trained my desire to know where my order is at every step of the process and why not? All the data is there. Dominos even does this with my pizza now and we all watch to see the path of our pizza. Leesa gets this and didn’t disappoint. We received several communications as our mattress made it to our home and just three days later, it was delivered by UPS. As with physical store shopping, the purchase experience is an integral part of brand satisfaction and with pure ecommerce, all of the ancillary touchpoints become the primary nodes of shopper interaction. From the website and email to various social communication channels, digital becomes the critical connection point to the brand, supplanting the roles of stores, salespeople and in many cases customer service. Leesa has a wealth of digital information on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest, etc. with loads of helpful information and user experiences that help shoppers along their purchase journey all supplemented by rich content from various mattress category influencers like Sleepopolis and Mattress Clarity.

Leesa Mattress the the epitome of a modern brand and physically transforming not only an entire category but also fundamentally the way people purchase mattresses. Our experience was pretty typical of this new path to purchase and quite frankly much easier than traditional store-based shopping. We will likely replace our mattresses in the future with Leesa products. Thanks for the opportunity Leesa Sleep!

Disclosure: I was provided a Leesa Mattress for this shopping experience. All opinions and views are my own.

Originally posted at John Andrew’s LinkedIn

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