Gary James – Bed Times Magazine – 04/15
A plethora of new digital tools provide powerful ways to put information about your products into the hands of today’s tech-savvy consumers. Recognizing that a growing number of consumers like to start the shopping process from the convenience of home, Boyd Specialty Sleep is in the process of developing an online version of its Sleep Metrics diagnostic system for use on dealer websites.
Based on research commissioned by the company, Sleep Metrics is an in-store kiosk with a diagnostic air mattress that helps RSAs determine the best level of support for specific body types and sleep styles.
“With our new online version, consumers will be able to do virtual pressure mapping from the privacy of their homes,” says Denny Boyd, president of the St. Louis-based company. “They’ll get an initial recommendation based on their height and weight, which the RSA will confirm with another reading when they come into the store.’
Boyd says having at-home access to the system will “empower consumers, since it enables them to gather more insights at their own convenience.” It also will motivate them to visit stores, since their online diagnostic session will be accompanied by a coupon they can use for a discount on purchases.
Developed in 2008, Sleep Metrics has earned two patents. Over the years, the company has continually refined the system to enhance functionality. Recent updates include a new software package that delves more deeply into a consumer’s sleep habits, and the launch of an Android-based touchscreen app that can be carried through the store or attached to a pedestal.
“The Sleep Metrics system is a ‘win-win’—it creates a more consultative and professional experience for the shopper and boosts the selling skills and success of the RSA,” Boyd says. “By helping RSAs to more accurately identify consumers’ specific sleep concerns, it also enables RSAs to quickly find the best mattress, pillow and accessories to meet those concerns, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing or eliminating comfort returns.”
With RSA turnover an issue for many retailers, the Sleep Metrics system also provides an effective tool for initiating sales conversations, Boyd adds. “Every salesperson needs to ask probing questions to better understand the needs of the consumer. But very few salespeople, especially new hires, are able to do this quickly and effectively. With Sleep Metrics, they have a proven system for obtaining this information in just a few minutes.”
Shopping for a sleep system can be “an overwhelming experience,” Boyd says, as consumers are greeted by as many as 50 to 80 mattresses when they come into a store. With Sleep Metrics, three-quarters of the models on display are immediately eliminated, and consumers are steered to a focused selection of mattresses designed to meet their individual comfort and support profile. Beds are tagged with one of four comfort index numbers, allowing consumers to easily identify models that would be a good fit for their needs.
“Studies show that buying a mattress ranks right up there with buying a used car in terms of consumer discomfort with the process,” Boyd says. “Our technology takes something that is perceived as a challenge and a chore and turns it into a positive experience. Armed with the diagnostic data, they have the information they need to make an informed, confident decision.”