Sleep Retailer eNews | May 18, 2017

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Casper Teams Up With Target

Casper Brick-And-Mortar Stores

One of the leading bed-in-a-box brands is heading to retail this summer. Casper has teamed up with Target to sell its popular mattress and sleep accessories both in-store and online. Beginning this June, a selection of Casper products will be available in more than 1,000 Target stores across the country—while the brand’s one-size-fits-all mattress will be sold exclusively on Beyond simply expanding Casper’s consumer reach, this new partnership reveals a number of key insights about the future of the bedding retail industry.

Casper will be hitting Target stores nationwide on June 18th with a full suite of sheet sets, pillows and mattress protectors. While the Casper mattress will only be available to purchase at, the retailer will still give consumers the chance to try out the bed at 35 physical store locations. In addition to its popular mattress and accessories, Target will also carry two brand new sleep products as well: the portable Casper Layer mattress topper and the convertible Casper Lounger seat. Aimed at college students, these new accessories will be exclusively available at the big box retailer through August.

Casper has made a name for itself by touting a more competitive price point than many traditional mattress retailers—and consumers will enjoy even lower prices when buying through Target. The retail price for a Casper mattress will start at $550 at Target, while the pillow and sheets will be available for $55 and $90, respectively.

The specifics of this new partnership reinforce a number of key insights about the sleep retail industry—and where it may be heading in the future.

Consumers Still Want To Shop In Person

While Casper has generated plenty of buzz since its launch three years ago, this decision underscores the power that traditional retail still wields. According to Forrester, 90% of all retail sales are still made in brick-and-mortar stores. While some of that can be attributed to habit, a significant amount of consumers still appreciate the ability to experience the product before buying.

Creating A One-Stop Sleep Shop

Both Target and Casper have found success by promoting a unique blend of convenience, affordability and on-trend design. Building upon those attributes, this partnership aims to provide a more streamlined buying process for bedding shoppers. "We love Casper’s brand and innovative products,” said Jill Sando, Target's senior vice president of home merchandising, “and we really love the idea of giving our guests a simple way to get a better night’s sleep, with everything they need in one convenient place."

The “Try In-Store, Buy Online” Shopper

It’s a frustrating trend that has plagued the mattress retail industry in recent years. While plenty of consumers still prefer to try out a mattress in person before buying—many of them ultimately head back online to make the final purchase, in the hopes of finding a better deal. Rather than trying to halt this trend, Casper and Target have incorporated it into their strategy: consumers can experience the mattress in store, then buy it online at an even more approachable price point. Because Target has a robust mobile website, customers don’t even have to wait until they get home to click “Buy.”

A More Traditional Future For Online-Only Brands?

Though the company has dabbled with pop-up brick-and-mortar experiences, Casper says it does not have any plans to open any permanent stores of its own just yet. Instead, its strategic retail placements in both Target and West Elm will serve as valuable “extensions” of the brand: new opportunities to engage with specific consumer demographics. This is becoming an increasingly common trajectory for the online disruptors. Mattress Firm recently announced that it will begin selling the Purple Bed, another popular direct-to-consumer brand, in store as well.

Read More Here, Here & Here.

The Power Of Collaboration: Mattress Firm & Serta Simmons Unveil Creative Marketing Initiatives

Beautyrest Kentucky Derby Shoe Shine

Mattress Firm and Serta Simmons Bedding are moving full speed ahead with their expanded strategic partnership, hosting a series of unique marketing events in addition to launching a new ad campaign. According to Mattress Firm CEO, Ken Murphy, this new relationship is a “collaborative partnership” that “brings together renowned industry expertise.” Utilizing a cross-platform approach, the new strategy aims to reach a wide range of consumers by leveraging the two companies’ prominent market positions and looking outside the mattress industry for inspiration. From a high-tech keynote event to a luxurious sponsorship at the Kentucky Derby, these creative marketing opportunities reveal the true power of collaboration.

To celebrate the launch of its new “Technology To Power Off” marketing campaign, Mattress Firm was joined by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak for a live keynote address last week. In addition to kicking off the new campaign, the retailer unveiled two high-tech mattresses from Serta Simmons: the Beautyrest Black HybridPlus and the Serta iComfort TempTouch. Inspired by Apple’s iconic product reveal events, the keynote address was part of a larger strategy to reposition the retailer as an innovative tech brand. To round out the “Technology To Power Off” campaign, Mattress Firm also tapped the creative advertising agency Droga5 to help develop a suite of TV and radio ads along with digital activations that further promote the new Serta Simmons collections. This omnichannel marketing approach not only underscores the new tech-heavy branding focus, but serves to expand its visibility among a larger cross-section of consumers both young and old.

In addition to the new ad campaign, Mattress Firm also teamed up with Beautyrest to host a unique event at this year’s Kentucky Derby. Aimed at connecting with luxury-oriented consumers, the two companies set up the “Black Diamond Lounge” to provide Derby-goers with rest and relaxation throughout the day. Located within the racetrack grounds, the space featured massages and shoe shines atop custom seating made from a Beautyrest Black Hybrid mattress—a product that is sold exclusively at Mattress Firm.

By integrating their marketing initiatives across brands and platforms, Mattress Firm and Serta Simmons are showcasing the range of possibilities that can result from more collaborative retailer/manufacturer relationships.

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A New Approach To Customer Service

smart phone

Customer care is one of the best ways for brands to make a connection with consumers. These interactions can change the way a customer feels about a particular retailer. A good experience could turn a first-time customer into a lifetime customer, whereas a poor experience could keep that customer from ever doing business with that store again. For many retailers, quality customer service is an increasingly valuable way to stand out from their competition. As such, it’s important to be aware of the shortcomings of the traditional service approach—as well as new opportunities to improve the process.

James Ramey, CEO of DeviceBits, shares his insight on how bedding retailers can provide more helpful and efficient customer service.

The Problem With Traditional Customer Service

If a customer from a sleep products retailer needs assistance with a product or service, they will typically call a customer service hotline and wait to be helped by a customer service agent. But due to the volume of calls received each day, a customer could be left on hold for unknown lengths of time until an available representative is able to assist them.

Not only are there thousands of calls to get through in a day, but some of the questions that customers have are more complex than ever before. Due to the nature of today’s more technically advanced products, many customers are now calling with questions that traditional call center scripts just can’t answer—even with the best training programs.

A Better Solution: Hybrid Customer Service

Hybrid customer service is emerging out of necessity for better and smarter customer care options. This new breed of customer care utilizes both the call centers and online self-support materials to deliver the highest quality of customer service to the customer. In addition to customer care agents on the phone, hybrid customer service also provides consumers with online self-service materials that can guide them through a number of situations via interactive tutorials, video guides and adaptive FAQ’s. These online materials aren’t designed to replace call center agents, but instead work toward creating more efficiency in the call center process, ultimately benefiting the customer and retailer.

This trend of self-service customer care comes from the customer’s need to be assisted as quickly and easily as possible. By allowing customers to find answers to their queries online, this dual-action approach to traditional customer service offerings decreases the number of calls to customer service centers.

With less calls coming into the customer service call center, agents are able to spend more time with customers who have more difficult or technical problems in a more efficient manner. Additionally, customer service agents can also access these support materials, rather than relying on outdated customer service scripts, to help customers quickly solves their issues.

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Declining Sleep and the Aging Process

Woman suffering from insomnia

It seems to be a given that as we age, we sleep less. What’s less clear is the why of this change. In the past, scientists have posited all different theories from older people needing less sleep, to the prevalence of medical conditions that require medications that effect the sleep cycle; from shifting circadian rhythms and weakened slow-wave sleep, to the death of sleep-promoting brain cells. A new study out of the University of California, Berkley is throwing yet another theory into the ring: as we age, our brains lose the ability to pick up on neural sleep cues. In fact, these researchers ascertain that the eventual lack of deep, restful sleep in old age actually may contribute to the aging process.

Matthew Walker, senior author in the UC Berkley study published in the journal Neuron this month, stated “Nearly every disease killing us in later life has a causal link to lack of sleep.” And indeed research suggests that insufficient sleep is associated with higher rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. And as we age, with the decrease of restorative sleep, these health conditions begin to manifest in greater numbers.

To understand sleep’s role in the aging process, Walker and his team compared the amount and type of chemical signals involved in sleep between younger and older mice. It turns out that the chemical signatures in both groups remained the same – what changed was that in the older mice, the receptors that receive and process the signals deteriorate with age. Walker illustrated the discovery in simple terms: “It’s almost like a radio antenna that’s weak. The signal is there, but the antenna just can’t pick it up.” Essentially, our brains lose the ability to recognize that we’re tired.

Surprisingly, this process can begin quite a bit earlier than the popular conception of “elderly.” Sleep decline can start as early as a person’s 20s or 30s, and by the time you reach 50, you could be getting up to 50 percent less deep sleep than you once did. That slow-wave, restful sleep all but disappears by the age of 70, having a lasting impact on a person’s cognitive function.

Unfortunately, scientists don’t have a quick and easy solution to this problem. Current pharmaceuticals simply sedate the brain, not induce restorative, deep sleep. More research is needed to develop drug therapies that could effectively target aging receptors and prevent or slow down their demise. In the meantime, Walker advised that people can still have some control over both the amount and quality of the sleep they’re receiving by simply practicing good sleep hygiene.

Read More Here, HereHere.

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