Case Study: Support Consumer Wellness With A Sleep Subscription Program

Amidst pandemic closures, one Houston-based company came up with a clever way to keep business alive by developing, marketing and selling curated sleep boxes. We explored how The Nap Bar rolled out its Better Sleep Boxes, the types of products that are ideal for a sleep subscription box as well as their wellness benefits. We’ve also shared some tips for making this fresh idea work well for your store. All in all, this case study proves that even if your store has to close its physical doors for a time this winter, you don’t actually have to miss a chance to meaningfully connect with your customers.

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Sleep boxes and subscription services create a terrific opportunity for retailers to foster an active relationship with customers from afar—and may even offer a chance to build a more loyal following. By regularly sharing consumable and reusable items with your customers, these curated boxes can help you better communicate your brand while also giving you a chance to try out new inventory.

For a company like The Nap Bar, the pandemic spelled trouble. The brand describes its vision as follows: “Nap Bar, the first white glove, self-care napping experience in Texas, offers communities and companies onsite and in-suite sleep services to help reduce sleep deprivation and increase productivity.” Unfortunately, napping in a public space is likely the last thing consumers are looking to do right now. Cleverly, The Nap Bar had a new and fresh idea up its sleeve. This luxury nap service provider found a way to send the singular Nap Bar experience home to customers with its “Better Sleep Box.”

Framing the sleep box as a luxurious and special opportunity for the consumer to pamper themself at home while getting through COVID, The Nap Bar uses the tagline “making sleep sexy'' to give this collection of items an exciting edge. This positioning fits super well with the brand’s sleek and chic black, gold and marble aesthetic.

Better Sleep Box

So what does one include in a sleep box? That’s up to you! But for the Nap Bar, a standard sleep box includes:

  • An aromatic soy based candle
  • Aromatherapy pillow mist
  • A blackout sleep mask
  • Downloadable relaxation audio - Theta Brain Waves
  • And a bonus item.

Each of these items contributes to creating a peaceful sleep experience. Let’s start with the candle. Most of us use candles to create a relaxing atmosphere at home, but why exactly do candles help us relax? According to Chryssa Chalkia, an accredited clinical integrative psychotherapist and cognitive behavioral therapist, "The soothing effect that candles have is based on how the brain processes smells. The smell of scented candles stimulates our limbic system, the part of the brain that is home to our memory and emotions. Hormones like serotonin and dopamine can be produced to help regulate mood.  Therefore, our emotional state is influenced by the relationship that exists between scents, memories, and emotions."

As a result, certain scents can impact mood. While an individual’s relationship with a specific smell could be predicated on their own experience, some scents tend to be more universally comforting. For example, citrus scents are said to put most people in a happier mood.

The next item, the pillow mist, offers similar benefits to the candle. Typically pillow mists come in lavender scents as lavender is a natural sedative. Just like with the candle, the benefits of a pillow mist are primarily psychological.

While a sleep mask may seem more like a prop from Breakfast at Tiffany’s than a useful sleep tool, there’s actually scientific proof that using one can help the wearer achieve better and deeper sleep. By blocking ambient light (like that from streetlights, your alarm clock and passing car headlights), sleep masks counteract the suppression of melatonin caused by these seemingly harmless light leaks and prevent unpredictable artificial light intrusion from disrupting the circadian rhythm. According to this article from Healthline, there are quite a few factors to consider when choosing one.

The final item in The Better Sleep Box is described as theta brain waves (downloadable audio). Theta brain waves themselves are the brain waves we experience when we are just drifting off to sleep and not yet in a deep slumber. But you can use audio called binaural beats to help get into this state of mind and ease yourself gently to sleep. According to this 2017 study, certain types of binaural beats can help put people into a more meditative state. In the way of audio, there’s also white noise (the research on white noise continues to evolve) as well as pink noise and other music that could potentially help relax an individual. More on sound and sleep here.

While Nap Bar has executed the sleep box well, it’s not the only one out there! If you are looking to craft your own for your customers there are plenty more items and approaches to consider:

The Holistic Box

Because the Nap Bar is a luxury nap studio, the focus of its box is squarely on the process of going to sleep or taking a nap. But you can think beyond this and help consumers develop a healthier sleep routine by including items like snacks that are safe for before bed, teas, melatonin, bath bombs and more. We’ve written a guide to winding down for sleep and creatine a bedtime routine that is filled with more ideas of accessories one can use to prepare for sleep.

Sleep Accessory Focus

Instead of doing a box with multiple items, you could take an alternative approach and offer a sleep accessory subscription where each month subscribers can try a new pillow, a weighted blanket, a bedside lamp designed to improve sleep and more. Subscribers could pay an annual or monthly fee and choose from a selection of unique and high-quality curated sleep products to be delivered to their door that will enhance their nighttime routine and improve their sleeping space.

The above are just a few general examples of different ways you can develop a sleep subscription program. The options are limitless. Consider enhancing programs like these with quality content. Each product can and should have a story and you can include more information about the science behind the benefits of each product. With new knowledge about how we sleep coming out on a regular basis, consumers are eager to not just sleep better but to understand how sleep works and why certain techniques can help improve their quality of sleep. Position yourself as a guide on their journey of sleep discovery. Utilizing the sleep subscription concept can help better communicate your brand and offer a window into the kind of high-quality and thoughtful solutions you choose for your store.

Check out a few more subscription ideas here, here and here. More on sleep wellness here.