A mattress store referred to as the “Apple Store for sleep” is coming to Park Meadows on June 23, and with it will come another example of the way retailers are changing the way they do business.
Amerisleep, an online mattress retailer, will open a store in the mall as one of a string of the company’s first brick-and-mortar shops in its 12-year history. The store originally launched to compete with other mattress companies in what co-founder Joey Holt called a broken industry.
“Most people looked at mattress salesmen as used car salesmen,” Holt said. “We felt there was a poor quality … logistics were a nightmare. For most companies, their motives weren’t the same as their customer’s.”
Each Amerisleep store offers Dream Suites in their stores, which allows customers to nap for as long as they want on any of their five mattress types. The Dream Suites have plasma screen TVs to help customers fall asleep and plays educational videos about the importance of sleep.
“We saw the opportunity to improve and add value to someone’s life,” Holt said.
Amerisleep’s non-commissioned “sleep ambassadors” work to educate customers on sleep rather than pushing price tags. The company initially started in physical stores, but quickly moved to online-only to eliminate much of the costs. Now they’re going back to brick-and-mortar.
So far, it’s worked.
Amerisleep’s model takes many of the same lessons learned from the success of Warby Parker, the glasses retailer that thrived in a near-monopolistic market by offering convenience to the customer. The founders of Warby Parker, Neil Blumenthal, Dave Gilboa, Andy Hunt and Jeff Raider, used a survey-based price point as an index for the price of all of its glasses, no single style more expensive than another.
Amerisleep uses a similar tactic. Their family of five mattresses vary only in how they benefit different types of sleepers.
“Depending on how good you can afford depends on how good of a mattress you get,” Holt said about the traditional mattress industry. “We offer choices to customers, but make sure we educate them on why.”
Amerisleep’s move to a physical location is just one example of the growing number of entrepreneurs finding initial solace online without much of the overhead.
Amerisleep asks customers to complete an extensive survey to point customers to the right type of mattress without much of a need for testing one out. Amerisleep began by sending mattresses through the mail for a trial of 100 days.
The Dream Suites in its newer locations — three in Arizona, its headquarters, and one in Austin, Texas — fill that void its online model lacked. But the suites, according to Holt, are meant more to teach customers rather than sell to them.
The move from online to brick-and-mortar speaks to the general shift in the retail business itself. Retail is one of the largest business sectors in Lone Tree, and Park Meadows, the largest mall in Colorado, is one of the city’s biggest draws for new businesses. With the influx of those businesses, old ones will need to adapt.
“The tenant mix is shifting,” said Jeff Howell, director of economic development for the City of Lone Tree. “Though retail is changing so much, (Park Meadows is) able to attract the new and upcoming tenants that are now entering or shifting the market.”
Another one of those retailers coming to Park Meadows is Amazon Books, the previously online-only bookstore that pushed several traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores like Barnes and Noble to the brink of bankruptcy.
But according to Howell, the emergence of online-first retailers has challenged other businesses to adapt newer methods in order to compete. Barnes and Noble, for example, now offers community events and wine tastings to attract customers.
For brick-and-mortar stores, selling the shopping experience has become a means to sell a product. To Amerisleep, that means educating its customers rather than selling to them.
And that goes for all retailers.
“We have a heavy retail presence in Lone Tree,” Howell said, “and all of them are having to think about what the future means to them.”
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